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Government, unions meet over impact of bus fare increase

Published:Saturday | August 30, 2014 | 8:00 AM

The government is contemplating the implementation of a concessionary bus fare for public-sector workers.

The finance ministry has given trade-union leaders an undertaking that it will examine the feasibility of expanding the government bus service into rural parishes.

The proposals came yesterday during a meeting between officials from the ministry and trade-union leaders, including the heads of several public-sector groups, to discuss the impact of the recent bus-fare increase on workers and to identify measures to mitigate the effects.

The Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA), which recommended the concessionary fare, said the proposal was accepted "subject to the level of subsidy the ministry can afford".

JCSA president Oneil Grant, who attended the meeting, told The Gleaner last night that a figure would be determined after the unions have had a chance to ascertain the number of public-sector employees who rely on the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC).

Grant underscored that under the present proposals, the subsidy would not be paid over to the workers, but instead, would be paid over to the JUTC.

"So the JUTC is not going to be giving up anything," Grant explained.

He said the proposed fare would be administered through the various ministries, departments and agencies and passed on through the JUTC's Smarter Card "so that only the workers alone can benefit".