Bus fare increased for some along new highway
Commuters in buses that use the north-south leg of Highway 2000, from Caymanas to Unity Valley (near Moneague), are paying increased bus fares, at least in some instances.
One female commuter told The Gleaner on Monday that she was asked to pay $450 instead of the regular $400 from downtown Kingston to Ocho Rios, St Ann because the bus used the section of the highway from Caymanas to Unity Valley.
"I went to Kingston in the morning and paid the regular $400, but that bus never take the highway; them drive Mount Rosser and through the gorge," the woman said.
"Coming back in the evening, on a different bus, from before them leave bus park, the 'ductor tell everybody that them driving on the highway and the fare is $450. Everybody pay. Mi never hear anybody complain," she said.
As for her personal views on the fare hike, she hesitated before saying: "If is a one-time thing, like yuh travel once in a while, then $50 nuh too bad, but if yu haffi travel regular, then yuh know seh it a guh add up."
The woman, who did not wish for her name to be published, said the journey on the highway took about 20 minutes less than the ride into town via the original route. But to her, this hardly mattered as she said she was in no rush.
The commuter said the Toyota Coaster bus was full, with some passengers standing, suggesting that more than 30 persons were on board.
In March, there was public uproar when proposed toll rates for use of the north-south highway were published, before implementation, as people complained that the cost was too high.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness later announced a temporary (one month) 25 per cent reduction in the toll rate.
The temporary reduction has seen class one vehicles such as motorcars being charged $600, class two $1,200, class three $1,837, and class four $450 for the Caymanas to Unity Valley leg of the highway.
The regular rates of class one $800, class two $1,600, class three $2,450 and class four $400 will apply after the discount period expires later in April.
Last week, Jamaica North South Highway Company operators of the highway reported that an average of 12,000 vehicles have been using the highway daily since the discounted toll rates were implemented.