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Illegal commuter fare increase - Some bus and taxi operators forcing commuters to pay more

Published:Sunday | January 6, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Some Corporate Area route taxis and buses have added 50 per cent and more to fares while others have warned commuters that the fare increase will come on Monday.

However, this move is illegal as no fare hike has yet been approved by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) or the Ministry of Transport which are the bodies mandated to approve any change in fares.

Yesterday, callers to our news room reported that they were being asked to pay up to $130 rather than the usual $80 on some routes.

Other callers said minibus conductors and taxi drivers had told them that the fare increase would take effect tomorrow.

Efforts to contact Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies were unsuccessful while an official of the OUR indicated that it had not approved any request for a fare increase.

JATOO's stance

The Jamaica Association of Transport Owners and Operators (JATOO) also distanced itself from any increase.

"We are rather surprised that commuters are being told that there is a fare increase," said Edgeton Newman, the national coordinator of JATOO.

"The fare remains at $80 until there is dialogue with the minister of transport and the OUR and we want to advise commuters that no fare increase has been granted," added Newman.

The State-owned bus company has indicated that it will shortly be seeking a fare increase but this request has not been submitted to the OUR.

Any fare hike is expected in the second quarter of this year.