GCA President Eileen Cox
The Guyana Consumers Association (GCA) yesterday urged consumers against paying higher bus fares, while calling on the government to ensure a police presence at parks to receive complaints about overcharging.
The call came as minibus operators yesterday complained about harassment by police in order to intimidate them.
“…Pay no more than regular fares,” GCA President Eileen Cox said in a statement, while rejecting “the unfair and unjust attempt by some minibus operator to extort money over and above the regular fares from commuters.”
Cox referred to operators dishonouring an agreement made with Minister Manniram Prashad to have fares remain the same unless the price of gasoline rose above $1,000 per gallon. This agreement, she said, is perfectly valid and she said any commuter entering a minibus must not pay more than the regular correct fare.
Cox also said fare structures should be prominently displayed outside the minibuses or a commuter must assume that the fare is regular. She said it was “useless” to have fare structures posted in buses, since commuters should know the fare before entering. “When a commuter enters the bus, he assumes the fare is the regular one and should ask the intervention of police, if the bus operator attempts to charge above the regular rate,” she added.
To this end, Cox urged that government have a police presence at bus terminals, where commuters could complain of overcharges. She also said that government has been subsidising minibuses by keeping the price of gasoline low while police have been turning the other way in cases of overloading and the playing of loud music in buses.