Berbice Bridge to implement toll increase next month

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The Berbice Bridge Company Inc (BBCI) is forging ahead with increases in the toll to utilise the crossing, despite not having support from the Government.

Dr Surendra Persaud, the company’s Chairman, announced this morning at a press conference that the revised fee structure will take effect November 12, 2018.

To cross the bridge, cars and minibuses will now have to pay $8,040; small trucks, pickups and four-wheel drive vehicles $14,600; medium trucks $27,720; large trucks $49,600; boats $401,040; and freight $1,680.

The Bridge Company says it is proceeding with the increases based on legal advice obtained from the Cameron and Shepherd Law Firm. The Company says that the increase necessary because they are making losses in excess of $2.8B.

Dr Persaud says while the fees will be increased, the Government has the power to subsidise the costs to alleviate the burdens on the travelling public.

He explained that the Company’s job is to ensure the interest of its shareholders are protected while it is the Government’s job to protect the people’s welfare.

He further rejected claims that the Company has ignored the social implications of the fee increases. According to the Chairman, if the shareholders – like the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) – does not receive returns on its investment – all Guyanese who depend on the organisation for insurance, pension and other benefits, will suffer.

But in July 2018, Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson had made it clear that the Government will not implement a subsidy as he rejected the BBCI’s proposal for an increase.

In rejecting the increase, the APNU+AFC Government had assured all Berbicians and users of the bridge that it stands by its campaign promise to reduce the tolls.

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