Tuesday, 10 February 2009 4:25 PM

Customers Question Public Transport Fares

Despite drop on fuel price, public transportation has done no alteration to an increase given on bus and taxi fares.

Disgruntled customers complain that buses and taxis have no reason to maintain their high pricing.

"Fuel has dropped considerably this year and I'm shocked that buses and taxis continue to charge using old rates," Ellison Kyere from Temotu Province complained.

Quan Chee workers confirmed to Solomon Times that petrol now costs $6.57 per litre and diesel $7.72 per litre as of 1st February 2009.

"It's true that prices last year were as high as $14 - $15 per litre for diesel and petrol cost around $12 - $13 per litre," a worker confirmed.

With fuel rate going down by halves for diesel and petrol, customers are noticing the unfair transportation charges and demand explanation.

Cab drivers and buses are called to be considerate and fair in their dealing with the public, particularly cab drivers.

Customers complained that cabs are now charging $7 - $8 per kilometer "when normal charge should be $5 per kilometer with the high drop on fuel price."

But taxi and bus owners approached state that change to price will only be effective if a formal meeting is in place.

"We haven't been given any notice to cut down on our pricing so we run things the way we prefer it to be," a taxi driver, Sibriano Seti said.

He explained that for those who are only driving for someone, "we only earn 30 cents of every dollar we make, so the increase of price is fair for us who work hard providing public transportation."

Meanwhile, a representative from the Accounts Division of the Honiara City Council said that while there is no meeting scheduled, "there should be alterations to cab fares."

According to the source who wants to remain anonymous, calculations show that the increased price on fares has given drivers more than what they should take in a day.

The source said that although there has been an 8% increase on annual operating fees from $200 to $216 for providing public transport, "this still does not justify the unreasonable fare increase."