United Bus Drivers Association president Claude Omeus.
PHILIPSBURG--From January 2023, bus passengers will pay more for a bus ride if it is up to United Bus Drivers Association. President Claude Omeus said the increase is necessary due to the high cost of living on the island.
“I don’t think it is unreasonable for us to finally get the increase in fares, as maintaining our buses is not cheap also,” said Omeus, stressing that the cost of living continues to skyrocket while gas prices are increased almost bi-weekly.
Bus drivers have taken note of the announcement by Acting Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Omar Ottley about the increase in minimum wage. “We applaud this initiative,” Omeus said.
The president and board of the association presented a list of proposals to the TEATT Ministry for an amendment to the public transportation ordinance. Some of the other concerns are amending the bus zoning routes and medical coverage for bus operators, said Omeus on Tuesday.
“We hope the issues are given the proper attention they deserve. After all, we are the public transportation industry of our country and are working 24/7 with no rest days; let us not forget that,” said Omeus, who did not reveal what percentage or amount the association proposes for the increase of bus fares.
“The increase will be announced prior to the roll-out in January and public transportation clients will see visible signs at least a month before it goes into effect,” he announced.
Omeus said he had been informed by the TEATT Ministry that several items requested are in the pipeline. “Communication between the group and the ministry will remain open,” he said. “However, the bus drivers want more action and less talk.”