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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline

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.”

Jermaine Suazo,
“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.”

Ismael Yupit,
“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.”

Joseph Ramirez,
“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.”

Keith Swift,
“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.

Channel 7

Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,748
The prices have increased as described in Marty's article above. My understanding is that the companies have not "merged" but went into an agreement because neither of them were taking full boats on all their runs. They have decided to now split the trips up, so that one company does the 7:00, one does the 8:00 and so on. Your return ticket will be good on both taxis.

After my experience yesterday going from SP to BC to shop, I can foresee this weekend as HELL! In a nutshell, here's what happened.

We arrived at 20 til 8 for the 8:00 taxi. We got on at the pier just north of the Tacklebox. There were two boats leaving, one for Caye Caulker, one for Belize City. Those going only to Belize City were told to get on the larger boat. So far so good. When our "Belize City" boat got to Caye Caulker, we stopped. Why, I have no idea since there was a boat from San Pedro that was already docked at CC. We picked up about 30 people making our total boat 75 adults, 4 crew, and about 10 kids. We left about 35 people on the pier at CC, even though we could see the other taxi waiting at another pier, I suspect taking people from CC to SP. Finally, we are on our way to the city. NO. We stopped at Caye Chapel to pick up ONE person. Another delay. We arrived at BC squashed, and from a very crowded boat an hour and forty minutes after we left SP.

We came back on the "other" taxi at 3:00. Had we wanted to come back with the same taxi we could have come at 1:30 or 4:30. While at the terminal in Belize City, we were again told to form two lines, one for San Pedro, one for Caye Caulker. We of course got in the line for San Pedro. The boat was again packed. When we got to Caye Caulker, we stopped to let one person off.

When we arrived in San Pedro, there were about 75 people waiting to take the 4:30 boat to BC. It was about 4:50 by the time we got there.

All in all, we decided that we could have taken the 8:00 taxi from SP to Chetumal, shopped, taken the taxi back to SP and would have spent less time traveling.

I can't help but wonder what is going to happen this weekend. I am certainly going to attempt to convince all of my guests NOT to take the taxi to Belize City when they depart, as I suspect there will be many missed flights.

For me, it's flying only now to BC. I can't waste four hours of my time traveling. My time is worth something.

Change your Latitude
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 600
ron Offline
I would think that flying from Municipal airport would be very atractive now that the water taxi's are not so reliable.

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,208
We were really disappointed when we discovered the huge hike in prices. I have always enjoyed taking the Water Taxi but now it is so expensive that like Shuffles, I'll be flying or arranging groups for private water taxis.
Belize Wedding Photography

Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 420
If this is still the case in Sept when I visit, I will certainly be flying.

A hug is the shortest distance between friends. ~ Author Unknown
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,046
The SP Water Taxi people told me yesterday that further price rises will be happening.

I'm wondering when Coastal Express will take over Island Ferry or come to a similar agreement with them, to raise prices massively.

Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,748
Well Peter, in a lot of ways, the GOB does frown upon the whole competition portion of the "democratic" society. I'm sure it will happen soon.

Change your Latitude
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 10,850

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 15
My family, and I are arriving this Saturday, and were planning to take the water taxi. Now, I guess we need to reconsider flying now.

"Looking for the simple life"
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,436
Its a terrible situation,,true the water taxis have been running themselves into the ground,,,but not empty boats have been traveling these last few months...just the opposite. What the country hasnt got a grip on yet is most airfares to and from the U.S. to Belize are around $800 U.S. RT same from Cancun around $250, the water taxis..the school kids used to pay $10 RT and most children here dont go beyond 6th grade,,,those that can go off island to go to school are now having to pay $30,,a day....This Country is screwing making an education impossible..thus they are promoting drug dealing and petty crime, theft,,, and making airfares impossible...Tourism is the number one income for this country and they are doing everything to deter it.,,,Stupidity....

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