Speedboat owners and workers are begging the relevant authorities for an increase in fare from $100 to $150. They made this appeal on Thursday as a team from MTV News Update visited the Vreed-En-Hoop stelling.
High gas price, increase in the price of life jackets, and the high cost of living were some of the reasons the boat owners and operators are calling for an increase in boat fare from Vreed-en-hoop to Georgetown.
The current fare stands at $100, which they said has not increased for the past decade or so.
Tyron, a boat driver and a member of the Demerara River Speedboat Association told MTV News Update, “We deserve a fare increase right now is over 12 years we ain’t got an increase, and everything raising, raising and now we deserve a fare increase. Gas price gone up from $6000 to eight thousand something, currently with gas and oil, is about $11,000. It use to be $7000 now is $10,000 for a tank.
Lalbachan Baboolal, another speedboat association member, said he has been working in this business for the past 20 years, and there has not been a raise in fare for some time.
“We have been suffering tremendous difficulty from time to time, and at this moment in time, the situation we can’t really stand at this moment in time….we are asking what the government or who in authority can see and give us an increase or do something for us.”
Bob Mangal, a speedboat operator, expressed, “At least $120, $140. more increase because the cost of living is very expensive. A sack of rice is $1900, ize a single parent, I got four children right and this money here suh…we need a raise of fare cause the cost of living very high and the price of gas very high.”
Captain Doe highlighted that there are other factors challenging the speedboat industry, which has caused them to appeal harder for the increase.
“As you can see what going on with the low water, we need the government to do something for we hay, and all over fare raising even to the taxi, the gasoline, even to the ration raising. We just asking for a $150, see what we could do for we, countrywide we asking…we need it.”
Misab, a bowman, contends, “All we asking for is a raise…all over the world everything raising every day the time getting more and more hard, and from since I was a kid, growing up and I come out hay, is only one fare you paying all the time.”
Meanwhile, Secretary of the Demerara River Speedboat Association Poshan Khemraj when contacted by MTV said they have been lobbying for the increase for the past few months.
“We even went to Minister to concern this and they denied this and no fare increase around the country but you know things getting hard and hard and something got to do.”
Although the association’s request has been denied, Khemraj noted that they will continue to lobby for the new fare.