It will now cost the travelling public a dollar more to get a drop on the Valsayn/Grand Bazaar and the Chaguanas/ Curepe taxi routes, effective October 12.
The Valsayn/Grand Bazaar fare rises from four to five dollars and the Chaguanas to Curepe fares increases from seven to eight dollars. There has been no announcement in the price hike for the Arima to Port-of-Spain maxi taxi route, when Newsday spoke with President of the Route Two Maxi Taxi’s Association, Linus Phillip.
On Monday, Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced in the 2015/ 2016 Budget of a 15 percent increase in the cost of super and diesel gas. The cost of super went from $2.70 per litre to $3.11 and diesel from $1.50 per litre to $1.72. In a telephone interview with Newsday, President of the Valsayn/Grand Bazaar Taxi Drivers Association Cathy Goonraj said the fares had not been raised since 2008, and that drivers decided to raise the fares by a dollar after much discussion.
She explained, “Maintenance of vehicles is very high. The cost of living is also very high. It is not only because of the budget, but due to a lot of challenges we had with the construction of the overpass and also the wear and tare on the vehicles, we had to raise the fare.” Goonraj said they tried to manage with the fare in the past, but due to the hike in gas and diesel prices in Monday’s budget they had no choice to raise the fares. “With the increase in gas and diesel, and the poor conditions of the roads we really don’t have a choice. We wanted to give the public a chance to adjust to the new taxi fares,” she said.
Speaking with Newsday yesterday Route Two (Red Band) President Linus Phillip said the association raised its fares earlier this year and will not raise their fares any time soon.
“The increase in fuel is going to affect the drivers slightly but I think right now where we are in the route two maxi taxi association we are going to absorb that seeing that we took a raise of fare in January of this year,” Phillip said. “We don’t raise the fares because the sales have gone up, the cost of gas has to go up tremendously high before it affects us to raise the fares. We look at our overall expenditures and income and that is how we adjust our fares.” When contacted both the President of the Trinidad and Tobago Taxi Drivers Network, Adrian Acosta and Route One Maxi Taxi Association President Econ Hewitt said they are going to meet with their members to have discussion to assess the situation before coming to a decision on whether or not to raise the fare for their respective routes.