BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, February 24, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris says wide ranging discussions on issues of public transportation must first be had before any decisions are made.
The prime minister was responding to calls being made by members of the different bus associations in St. Kitts for an increased fare for passengers travelling and a cap on the issuance of new license plate numbers for hire buses.
Speaking at Tuesday’s Good Governance and Accountability for Prosperity town hall meeting, Prime Minister Harris said, “We have to work it out because we have to be careful what burden we put on the ordinary people. These are the issues we have to discuss together in a friendly way, the give and take in relation to that.”
He stated that while the government is open to discussions with representatives of both the bus and taxi associations, they must first go through the proper channels.
“There is a board (Traffic Safety and Public Service Transport Board). You have to go and talk to the people on the board, convince them of the rightness of your position. The board will then refer it to the minister; the minister’s duty is to bring it to the Cabinet so a policy could be formed.”
In reference to the call for a change to bus fares, Dr. Harris noted that one should take into account the fact that the price of gasoline has significantly dropped since the implementation of the last bus fare hike.
The prime minister went on to say that the issue of the removal of the cap on the number of buses predates the existence of the Team Unity Administration.
He said the cap was removed in 2005 under the rejected Denzil Douglas Administration but stressed that his government is prepared to review the cap situation through proper consultation.
Prime Minister Harris added that throughout the consultation process, careful considerations must also be given for senior citizens and school children.
The Traffic Safety and Public Service Transport Board, scheduled to meet next Tuesday (February 28), will deal with matters relating to road transport, traffic and traffic safety, public service vehicles, transport rates, fares, tolls, dues and other charges.
The board consists of representatives from the Ministry of Communications, the Ministry of Tourism, the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, Public Works Department, the Taxi Drivers Association and the bus associations.