No approval for bus fare increase say police; commuters asked to report drivers who demand increases

Bus drivers speak to the minister responsible for transportation, Cassani Laville, during “go-slow” protest action to demand a stimulus package in April 2021

As bus drivers mull over a fare increase as a result of the recent hike in fuel prices, the police have stated that no approval has been made or granted for increase in fares and cautioned against this offense.

On March 11, 2022, prices of petroleum products increased from $13.95 per gallon of gasoline to $14.89, diesel from $12.95 to $13.91, kerosene $11.31 to $12.81 and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) from $37.85 to $39.00.

This, of course, is due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent fallout which has seen Russia hit with heavy sanctions from several territories, and global uncertainty shaking the fuel industry.

Director of Trade, Matthan Walter has since stated that these prices are not locally motivated, but based on global trends, and Dominica therefore, as a non-producer, adjusted its pricing structure.

However, according to the bus drivers, plying their usual route has now become an exercise in futility as their operations have been severely impacted and an already burdened “unsustainable” service further strained.

Speaking to Dominica News Online (DNO), President of the Combine Taxi Association, Phillip Guiste, stated that calls for fare increases by the bus drivers and other taxi operators are justified to offset some of the added costs placed on them.

“The last time we had an increase in bus fare was when the price of fuel was at $14.08 or so and that was a few years ago. Now, the fuel price has surpassed that figure as it is now $14.89 a gallon, so I think the price increase right now is something that needs to be considered so that the bus drivers  can break even on their expense,” Guiste said.

He further stated that an increase in freight has also hiked maintenance costs of the bus operators’ vehicles.

“The tires are more expensive, oil, and even parts we purchase to repair our vehicles. So we are not saying that only the increase in fuel should generate an increase but all other factors must be considered.”

A Mahaut bus driver who DNO spoke to says while they are concerned about the financial impact of a fuel price hike, they are equally worried about the potential impact on the pockets of their customers.

“We understand that a price increase of 50 cent or so will put pressure on some people but we ourselves cannot drive a bus whole day and not have enough money at the end to pay the loans for the same bus or bring something home to our families,” he argued.

Other bus drivers who spoke to DNO voiced displeasure with the fact that there were no immediate plans announced to buffer the impact, particularly on the public transport system, which they say has been struggling for nearly two years due to the ongoing pandemic.

“The government should be stepping onto the frontline to absorb the rising fuel costs, if not for all the motorists, then at least for the bus drivers because we have been feeling the brunt of the pandemic for so long,” one bus driver remarked. “Is either that or the price must increase.”

“Everyone saying bus drivers get a stimulus package so we should not ask for bus prices to be increased but as we get the money, it finish. We have to drive on the same miserable road every day which causing more damage to our vehicle, everything go up and we working at a loss. We have no help from the government so just like how employees in their workplace asking for an increase we can do it too, we deserve it,” another driver explained.

Even now that the bus drivers have been allowed to return to pre-Covid capacity, they say the increased fuel costs will only eat back into the earnings they have long been anticipating, and for most, operating their vehicles is their main source of income.

A Portsmouth bus driver warned that if the response to their demands for a price increase is not favorable, they could embark on some type of protest action to express their discontent.

“I hope it doesn’t come to that, but we have to do what we must to feed our family,” he stated.

While discussions continue among the bus drivers, the police say they have received no formal request for an increase in fare and such action would be unlawful.

Acting Superintendent of Police Leanna Edwards said in a statement which she read on behalf of the Chief of Police who is the Chairman of the Dominica Transport Board, that the board had been made aware of increased bus fare rates in certain communities in Dominica.

“Let me inform the bus drivers that there is a process by which bus fares are increased. The Vehicle and Road Traffic Act number 46:50 of the laws of the Commonwealth of Dominica 2017 indicates that the Transport Board has to advise on transport rates, fares, tolls, dues or other charges. Consequently, there must be engagement with the Dominica Transport Board where a formal request is made,” she said.

Edwards further averred that discussions and consultation must take place and a recommendation is then made for consideration and approval based on these engagements.

“It is an offense for a bus driver to make commuters pay an increase in bus fares without the required approval.  I therefore request that the public report on any incident where increased rates are demanded of them,” Edwards advised..

The Acting Superintendent encouraged bus drivers to make a formal request to the Dominica Transport Board for any rate change desired.

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  1. March 20, 2022

    I find dem bus drivers too unreasonable

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6
  2. Simple
    March 20, 2022


  3. March 20, 2022

    Mr. police officer was there any approval for the $4.2 BILLION of the peoples’ money to be diverted without a trace by the government’s finance minister? Haven’t you received reports and information that the peoples’ money is missing and what action have you taken to recover the $4.2 BILLION, I repeat $4.2 Billion of the peoples’ money? Mr. Police have you followed the leads leading to the suspicious fire at the deceased former magistrate’s home? (Mark you we have not forgotten about it). Mr. Police when have you ever acted upon price control in this Dominica, a country of no law, no constitution as voiced from the top? If you are so concerned of the peoples’ pocket/money, please be concerned of what I have stated and leave others alone despite the fact that most of the bus owners/drivers are KING LIAR’S boom boom flies.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3
    • Man bite dogs
      March 21, 2022

      Sort, You and others such as Ugly Lenny, are all snowflakes and jerks to believing that Dr Pm Skerrit, has hidden 4.2billion dollars and no one cannot find it you know why?look closer to ugly Lenny, home and there’s a good chance of finding the 4.2 billions as you say it is now start dicking!!!

  4. Jey Jey
    March 19, 2022

    These police officers who are against the fare hikes are the same police officers who do not pay when they ride the buses. They board the buses in their uniform and simply wave at the driver after exiting the bus. This is a form of intimidation. Because while the driver will demand money from the local citizens he/she allows the police officers to walk. This is mischief of the highest degree. The bus driver must stop transporting Skeritt’s servants for free; while the bus drivers are being denied a fare increase. Also, those who are “bus driver association head” are poto Laborite. So let them feel it now. Sacred Dotish. You cannot tame a Crab/Ske-Rat de 🦀 unless you are also a Crab. Ske-Crab will bite you whether you labor or UWP.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3
  5. Watching
    March 19, 2022

    Dno I waiting for my comment to roll..stupes

    ADMIN:Your comment was published. Please note that comments are normally published within 24 hours with the possible (and likely) exception of weekends and holidays.

  6. SN
    March 19, 2022

    There is something wrong with this picture. Government should have no business setting prices for commodities. Let the free market dictate what goods and services sell for. Government should just collect its taxes and duties and let businesses set their profit margins. Businesses need to make a reasonable profit to stay in business.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
  7. Dangerous curve
    March 19, 2022

    One thing I am saying the government is children taking bus, is the people and their children that is taking bus. so when you all coming with your hike in prices just remember our salary is not going up, and we still have topay the hike in fuel for our :twisted: home, then we have to pay yours what are we staying with to eat?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  8. Dangerous curve
    March 19, 2022

    One thing I am saying the government is not taking bus, is the people and their children that is taking bus. so when you all coming with your hike in prices just remember our salary is not going up, and we still have topay the hike in fuel for our home, then we have to pay yours what are we staying with to eat?

  9. ben10
    March 19, 2022

    in 2008 gas prices were 16+ dollars which is much higher, gas prices were at a low during the first part of the covid and did you all lower the fares? so what about when gas prices drop will the fares drop cause other expenses will drop? apparently you bus and taxi operators like increasing when gas prices increase but never ask to lower fares when gas price goes down.. i think it should always be reviewed if thats the case because it cant just keep going up when gas and freight fluctuates.. fares should fluctuate also as a reflection

  10. jaded
    March 19, 2022

    It is absurd for bus drivers to demand an increase in fares each time the cost of fuel increases. The employee who drives to work does not get a raise due to an increase in gas price. I say the government should deregulate bus drivers. Let them charge whatever they want/the market price. And if they engage in excessive charges then the government should create its own bus service to compete with them. Competition can do marvelous things.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3
  11. I.Am.You..
    March 19, 2022

    There should be an increase. one does not even have to think about it. yes the public will pay. but the public pay for everything already anyway even the lavish lifestyle of the politicians and their staff..

    Prices have not stopped rising..they will keep rising till the drivers will nolonger be able to drive and people will not be able to put food on the table. and then who will people run to yes..use your imagination. you will be fine however if you have been injected. fine meaning you will be entitled to rations..

    Stay well everyone and pay attention things WILL NOT get better. no it is set to get much much worse..

    Peace .

  12. Kalinago Girl
    March 19, 2022

    As a commuter I totally understand. I work in town and take the bus everyday from the Kalinago Territory. I pay $20 round trip Monday – Friday so it’s quite an expense when salaries are already so low. Gas, diesel, tires and general maintenance of vehicles have gone up so someone has to absorb the price increase, I get it.. But guess what, so has groceries, utilities, clothing etc. and all these price increases are passed on to us which stretches our little disposable income even more. But you know what, if Karl Nassief, Jolly’s, Astaphans, the big boys etc. can increase their prices why shouldn’t the bus drivers who make considerably less be told they can’t increase their prices. It’ll be tougher on our pockets (commuters) and we may not afford to feed our families but I totally understand their concerns.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0
  13. JAGOTS
    March 19, 2022

    I have no sympathy for bus drivers, we all paying the same prices at the pumps, we all paying the same fees at IRD etc….., so what make them so special. You have families, we have to, you pay more at the supermarkets, so do we the public. And what happens when the price in fuel drops (and it will), will you all call for a price decrease. Take it like we the public are taking it. Maybe there are too many buses on the routes, maybe now is a good time to get into agriculture, greenhouse farming and the new initiative being launched by the government for some of the young bus drivers. You want the public to pay more from what. There is a process and a procedure for review and increases, follow it and wait. #NoIncrease

    • Nagos
      March 21, 2022

      A private vehicle’s license costs approximately $500 – $690 per year (it may be slightly more), a bus (hired vehicle) license costs about $1200 per year. Insurance is much more for a bus, approximately 6K – 10K full comprehensive (based on the value of the bus and vehicle history). Tyres and brakes on a bus needs to be changed more often than on a private vehicle because of the tare weight and more stops due to multiple passengers. Bearings, rotors and other vital parts need to be changed more often which, as you can imagine, is a lot for a bus driver. There are of course a select few who are blessed to get the government contracts for transporting COVID patients which is sure money for them and there are also those who get the jumbie money to maintain their buses. Kudos to them, but for the regular bus driver things are HARD.

    • EconOMe
      March 21, 2022

      When the price of flour increased the bakeries decreased the size of their bread. You are bearing the “cost” because you may now have to buy $6 bread instead of $5 to feed the same family.

      When Best Price/Fresh Market/Hara Agencies increased their leg quarters price the population continued to buy the bag, but a bus driver who makes far less has to absorb the price increase? Clearly that’s not how business is done.

      Fine Foods, ACS, Witchurch, Astaphans etc. has NEVER absorbed any extra cost, they pass it on to us.

  14. D/CA pride
    March 19, 2022

    Alas papa bondia .we all suffering..I feel for the bus drivers gasoline went up and prices on tires went’s a fact everything went up we Dominican don’t know where to turn to now..our salery remain the same….how are we surviving’s from hand to mouth..we Dominican need to talk n let the government know we are fustrsted because they are not feeling the burden like us.. people it’s rough and I can understand how it feels for the bus drivers…..

  15. Watching
    March 19, 2022

    We have to drive on the same miserable road every day which causing more damage to our vehicle:
    So you would call our roads miserable smh…fly allu flying road we and you calling it miserable, allu flying road so another bus will not pass allu. well allu doh easy. Manage your money properly padna and doh come in my pocket eh.

  16. Tobby
    March 19, 2022

    This still cheap, in some countries I know of gas and diesel prices are 16 and 18 dollars a gallon, so guys this is not high.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 32
    • Toto
      March 19, 2022

      Toby I don’t know whom you batting for but it is not an even wicket my boy. Everything is relative and the price of fuel in our country is high in comparison with our wages, that is if you are lucky to have a job.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
    • Ibo France
      March 19, 2022

      In those countries, wages, salaries and the general standard of living are much higher when compared to Dominica. You can choose St. kittens the as an example. Your argument along that line is null and void. Comparing apples and nuts argument if you ask me.

    • March 20, 2022

      In some other countries with a sustainable economy.

  17. Kevin
    March 19, 2022

    Nice written piece.very detailed

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
  18. Jonathan Y St Jean
    March 18, 2022

    In a true market economy businesses pass on the increases in costs to their costumers, so how come the bus drivers have to absorb the increases in costs which the government has put on them with the increase in gas prices? A significant share in the cost of energy is the tax which the government has put on the item in question. Also since the government is the one which sets the price of gasoline and the fare structure for bus destinations it’s unconscionable to prevent the bus drivers from passing on the increase cost. The bus drivers have to repay their loans to the lending instructions so how can a government which says it’s democratic take such a dictatorial approach to the matter. In addition once gas/energy prices increase the cost of almost all goods go up because they have to be transported. That’s what the dunce double doctorate dude will do for the country, pick winners and losers when he’s leadership style leaves much to be desired. Well look it

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
  19. Ibo France
    March 18, 2022

    Bus and taxi drivers in Dominica will always suffer at the hands of this despotic regime. They are their own worst enemies. UNITE and take a firm stand or stay divided and suffer. Come together, make your demands and don’ t relent. Ensure that these demands are reasonable.

    A divided set of people is a corrupt politician’s dream. A strong, resolute, united group of people is a unscrupulous politician’s nightmare. So the proverbial ball is in your court bus and taxi drivers. Become united and thrive or stay splintered and suffer.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 13
    • March 22, 2022

      Money does not grow on trees, brother. If Skerrit had raised the the bus fares, you would have said that the man has no sympathy for passengers. Now, he does not raise the bus fares yet, you are on the bus drivers’ side. What can be done to satisfy your ego, brother? Why don’t you take a walk down memory lane and commune with God. I wonder whether you had toys to play with when you were a little boy? You keep talking about bus drivers and taxi drivers and their plight, the passengers have to eat too, brother. Ibo, you need a life, seriously.

  20. Pipo
    March 18, 2022

    Preposterous! I realise that the general public can not bear more price increases, any price increases, yet the government increases fuel prices unilaterally, overnight, raising the operating costs for our bus drivers. There is nothing to stop them asking for an increase from their passengers, not demand, and if that is met with refusal, they can always delay departure till they have a full load or withdraw their services and not operate their buses altogether. Result, stalemate , great inconvenience and chaos! We’ll soon see, who has the longest breath.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 42 Thumb down 5
    • Speak pure truth
      March 22, 2022

      It have too many busses on the road! Go by any bus stop, you will see how many busses empty with bus drivers doing nothing(except peeing by the side of the road and catcalling woman)! None of them want to run a separate route/schedule, they all go to the same place at the same time, then wonder why they not making a profit. It have nothing to do with gas prices and everything to do with laziness.

      I say pack allu bus self. 3 busses for each route is enough, go and get employment elsewhere and leave the poor people who barely making $7 an hour alone. Dominica already has one of the highest public transport fares in the EC, look it up! Maychaste pervert busdrivers spending money on spanish prostitutes yet crying they cannot feed their families, JOKE DAT!

    • March 22, 2022

      Go and pull bull as they do in Trinidad. In Petite Valley, pulling bull, in Diego Martin, pulling bull, in Toco, pulling bull. Just don’t be like Jamezie. He come home in the evening at the end of the day with no money in his pocket yet, he told his wife he’s been pulling bull.

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