Minibuses at the Leeward Bus Terminal. (iWN file photo)

The monthly subsidy that the government will give to omnibus operators will be increased from EC$250 to between EC$450 and EC$550.

The government has issued some guidelines that police are enforcing, which see an 18-seater minibus being now made to carry nine passengers.

A 26-seater omnibuses should now carrying 13-passengers, according to the guidelines.

The government was offering EC$250 per month for two months to help omnibus operators to cope with the shortfall.

However, Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves told the media last week that the government had overestimated the number of omnibuses in operation.

“You will recall that we had estimated in the Budget that there were as many as 1,400 minibuses that may be eligible for these resources,” the finance minister said.

He said that the minibus association countered that number.

“We got our information from the taxman, from Inland Revenue, but the minibus association, countered and said, there’s no way that they’re 1,400 minivans on the road.

“If you check with the insurance companies, you will see that far fewer minibuses are actually insured in the country,” Gonsalves said.

He said it was possible that the Inland Revenue was capturing other vans or the taxis and putting them in a minibus column when they really were not minibuses.

“The way that we corrected this was that the Minister of Transport and Works Julian Francis … asked minibuses to register for a benefit. The registration period has concluded and just under 400 minibuses have registered through the process that the Ministry of Transport and works elaborated,” the finance minister said.

Gonsalves said that because there are a lot fewer minibuses than the government anticipated, the state is giving a larger subsidy.

“So the benefit will be as such if you are a minibus operator and you have registered with the Ministry of Transport and Works, … over the last couple of weeks, you are eligible for between $450 and $550 a month depending on whether you are an 18-seater or 26-seater and that is a two month benefit.”

To collect the subsidy, the minibus operators would take their registration to the Ministry of Transportation and Works.

4 replies on “Minibus subsidy moves from $250 to $450”

  1. Fidus Achates says:

    It is a terrible idea to think that VINCENTIANS are always fooled by this government’s actions concerning the tactics it’s using during this Covid-19 crisis. Who in their right mind would believe this idea that the government overestimated.???Why are they always doing VINCENTIANS these minds of things always playing mind games??The government seems to lack good judgement and fails to give due diligence where necessary.It good that the voices of the bus drivers have been heard “a little “.

  2. Call them out says:

    What ws the amount of monthly subsidy the minibus association was asking for? Also, is this a figure that was unilaterally produced by the government or it is wa something agreed to by both parties? Do you think if the subsidy was doubled it would have been a better thing? Furthermore, everyone has to be careful because the government has to know what they can bear likewise the minibus drivers. If things are not sorted properly the whole thing is going to collapse and the entire travelling public is going to suffer. More than that, the policy would of failed to achieve its objectives to promote social distancing and reducing the spread of the disease.

  3. If the FM doesn’t know the exact number of passenger busses driving on the roads in SVG something is seriously wrong at the finance ministry. So he start with a lie, his usual MO. I wouldn’t take his word for it. The contingency plans only last 3 months then what? A break? I just sorry for the poor people who will subsequently suffer for this apparent shortsightedness.

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