Transportation stakeholders: Fuel price increases will impact sector - Trinidad and Tobago Newsday .

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Commuters board a PTSC bus at the Kings Wharf terminal in San Fernando. - File photo/Lincoln Holder
Commuters board a PTSC bus at the Kings Wharf terminal in San Fernando. - File photo/Lincoln Holder

Transportation stakeholders have said while it is still early to say how, an increase in gas prices will have various impacts on the sector.

On Friday, Minister of Finance Colm Imbert announced in Parliament an increase in gas prices which will take effect on April 19.

Kerosene, he said, will raise by $2 from $1.50 to $3.50; super and premium will raise by $1 with the increase in premium going to $6.75 and super to $4.97; diesel will raise by $0.50 from $3.41 to $3.91.

Chairman of the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) Edwin Gooding, in a brief phone interview with Newsday on Friday, said while he does not believe the government will raise the cost of bus fares, which has not seen an increase since 1996, PTSC will incur the additional cost.

“The decision to raise (bus) fares is made by the government,” Gooding said, adding the increase will still have an impact on public transportation significantly. “(PTSC) will have to pay more (and) I’m not sure if we will get more money for fuel.

“It will be a challenge, but we will have to soldier through.”

President of the Petroleum Dealers Association Robin Narayansingh also told Newsday on Friday that the gas subsidy has only ever been beneficial to those who don’t deserve it. He said only those who could afford luxury and electric vehicles have benefited from the gas subsidy incurred by the government.

“The gas subsidy also deprives the country of basic amenities. It is really something that only benefits the wealthy.”

He said the increase will impact sectors other than energy as well and will impact middle to low-income earners most of all. “These are the people the government will have to pay attention to.”

President of the TT Automotive Dealers Association (TTADA) Visham Babwah said the increase will have disastrous effects in people’s lives. He also said he was disappointed that the government did not provide any update with regards to exemptions on hybrid vehicles.

“The government is very quick to collect their money with respect to gas prices but nothing on exemptions. When prices were down the government made a profit on premium fuel. I understand what is happening with international prices but they need to give citizens something to improve their lives and not spend every dollar they own now.”

In 2021, after operating at 50-75 per cent capacity for over a year during the pandemic, several maxi and taxi associations increased its fares.

Since November 2021, commuters on the East-West Corridor have had to pay increased fares after the Route Two Maxi Taxi Association increased the fare by $2, from $8 to $10.