It’s Easter and many will be flocking out to the cayes and most
Belizeans will be travelling on water taxis. It’s cheap, efficient and
reliable, but a recent development has brought the issue of affordability into
question. On Monday the price on Caye Caulker Water Taxi and the Belize San
Pedro Express Water Taxis to San Pedro and Caye Caulker increased sharply.
A one way trip to Caye Caulker is now $20 and it is now $30 to San
Pedro. A roundtrip to San Pedro is $55 and the news tonight is that as of Monday
there will be no roundtrip discounts which means you’ll have to pay $60
to and from San Pedro and $40 to and from Caye Caulker. Prior to the increase
– a round trip ticket to Caye Caulker was $25 and it was $45 roundtrip
to San Pedro. And so the new prices represent a $15 increase across the board.
The increases came out of nowhere and it shocked the customers we spoke to.
Ismael Yupit, Boat Passenger
“We used to pay $30 and now we are paying $55 which is $20 to $25
up and that is above our budget, especially our salaries are not increasing so we don’t see an increase in our pockets.”
Jermaine Suazo, Boat Passenger
“They tell us the prices of the tickets will go up Monday too.”
Joseph Ramirez, Boat Passenger
“It will go up more, the prices will go up more because the last time
I went on the boat it was lower than it is and it came up and plus they said
Monday it will go up again so I don’t know what is the cause.”
“We bought three tickets and we pay $20 per ticket and that is a one
way trip and she told us $35 for a two way. Usually we does pay $25 or $30 for
a two way and now we are paying $35 and that is a big difference and that hurts
we right now.”
“The expense that we have there in San Pedro it is not for as tourists,
we are just locals and it is harming our pockets.”
“They can’t raise the prices on people like that because people
work in Belize who live at Caye Caulker and then we are suffering because we
need to up and down because we have families over that side and we are working
over that side and it is close and they can’t be raising on us like that.
I think dah competition we need.”
“Do you support the increase, you don’t seem bothered?”
Geovanni Melendez, Boat Passenger
“How else can we go to Caye Caulker?”
So what is behind the increase? Speculation is that the new competing
water taxis have merged and so with competition gone – well so are the
super low prices. But a Caye Caulker Water Taxi representative flatly denied
that report. He told us the increase is a result of the fuel prices and new
regulations from the Port Authority. But Port Commissioner John Flowers say
they have nothing to do with the increase and are actually investigating the
new rates. He says the Port Authority did step in to regulate schedules to eliminate
speeding and ensure safety.
The Port Authority does however set a ceiling for prices and it is
investigating the increase since any price increase requires approval. And despite
reports that the companies have merged – Commissioner Flowers says the
two companies are still considered separate entities.