Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer
The Transport Ministry yesterday revealed that it is now close to asking Cabinet to consider a proposed fare increase for the state-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC).
However, Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies has again declined to divulge the level of increase being sought, saying it would be inappropriate to do so.
"Because, again I know from experience, that what the relevant minister goes into Cabinet with is often far different from what comes out," Davies explained.
Davies, who was speaking during a press conference at the ministry's St Andrew offices, said raising the fares in the public transportation system would also impact private transport (such as taxi) operators.
"We have to simultaneously look at the operations of the JUTC as well as the private sector (operators). Because when we go to Cabinet, we not only have to argue for the increase for the JUTC, but we have to indicate what corresponding increase will be afforded the private operators," he explained.
"That is not only a technically difficult task, but as you would understand, we are very sensitive," Davies added.
Last December when he first warned of increased bus fares, the transport minister indicated that it would take effect "early next year" but refused to divulge any figures.
However, JUTC chairman, the Reverend Garnett Roper, said then that the level of increase the company was seeking was less than the $131 for adults and $40 for concession which was recommended by the Office of Utilities Regulation in 2010.