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#372965 - 04/09/10 07:47 AM Transportation Issues  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 5,917
Diane Campbell Offline
Diane Campbell  Offline
Mid-Easter week residents of San Pedro, Caye Caulker and the rest of Belize who use the water taxis as their mode of transportation, received a shock. Overnight the water taxi fare seemed to have doubled, while the services offered were cut in half. This was carried out with no previous notice given to the general public. Both service providers; San Pedro Belize Express and Caye Caulker Water Taxi, appeared to have joined forces. This seemingly opportunistic union, while certainly beneficial to the service providers, was a blow to the consumers.

Consumers arriving at the water taxi terminals were soon notified of the increase when paying for their tickets. They were furious at the hike in cost. Furthermore, many of the other services were cut. Trips to and from the city were split between both companies, causing a constant over-crowding of the vessels. This, in itself posed a safety risk. Baggage collecting service at one of the terminals all but ceased. Concerns of the citizens have not gone unnoted. While speaking to Minister Manuel Heredia Jr., The San Pedro Sun was informed that this concern has been noted and is an issue that has been taken to the Cabinet level. As a result, Honorable Heredia, along with representatives from the Belize Port Authority met with representatives from both service providers to discuss the concerns.

As a result of this meeting, it was determined that both providers are to lower the price tag to $55 for a round trip ticket, which is the maximum charge allowed for passage to and from San Pedro Belize. Furthermore, the express services between San Pedro and Belize City, were instructed to be restored. All other services that the consumers have become used to are to be re-instated within a given time frame. Should the water taxi providers not meet up with the requests, Honorable Heredia stated that Government and the Port Authority would then step in to further address the situation.

#372967 - 04/09/10 07:59 AM Re: Transportation Issues [Re: Diane Campbell]  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 5,917
Diane Campbell Offline
Diane Campbell  Offline
I experienced a bit of the disorganization yesterday.

Prices - Rates have indeed skyrocketed, there is no more Senior discount and no savings for a round-trip purchase.

Information - schedules are not published, and since there are two different terminals it's a headache not to know which one to go to. In San Pedro the terminals are a few feet apart but in Belize City it's considerably farther - enough to make a problem for a traveler on a tight time-line and/or with a bit more luggage than they can comfortably carry down a crowded sidewalk.

I find it further upsetting these changes were put into effect at Easter when people throughout the country were attempting to join their families for the holiday.

As for safety - on one one large and fully-loaded boat I could not see a life-jacket anywhere.
On the return run I saw a few life jackets, but nowhere near enough for the number of folks on the boat. If you can't see them, you will never be able to use them .....

I observed a scheduled 8 am run leave late by at least 10 minutes - and rode a 1:30 run that left on time but ran so slow it was 25 minutes late arriving at it's destination.

Staffers were all quite nice and tried their best, but the other situation(s) really must be addressed.

#372981 - 04/09/10 10:16 AM Re: Transportation Issues [Re: Diane Campbell]  
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,046
Peter Jones Offline
Peter Jones  Offline
Can we not ask the Port Authority to send inspectors to meet one of these boats on arrival in Belize City, count the passengers, and look for all the safety equipment that should be there? I'm pretty sure they'll find it lacking in all respects.

#372986 - 04/09/10 11:30 AM Re: Transportation Issues [Re: Peter Jones]  
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,748
shuffles Offline
shuffles  Offline
Yes, you can ask. However, we did the math on our horrid trip the other day. 85 passengers times $60.00 $5100.00. Take out gas, and salaries and you have around $3800.00 left. Hand $300 to the PA at the terminal, and your profit is down to $3500.00. PA is happy, water taxi owners happy. PA does no work and gets $300.00.

Seems simple?

Change your Latitude
#372996 - 04/09/10 01:48 PM Re: Transportation Issues [Re: shuffles]  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 5,917
Diane Campbell Offline
Diane Campbell  Offline
FYI - I don't find the trip by boat horrid at all. I like it. I do regret the lack of organization because I would like to continue to take the boat rather than fly.

#372997 - 04/09/10 01:54 PM Re: Transportation Issues [Re: Diane Campbell]  
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,748
shuffles Offline
shuffles  Offline
Normally I would too....but right after the price increase and the "merging" the trip was horrid. Both the lack of an express to BC (although those of us going to BC were told to get on one boat) and having to stop at Caye Caulker AND Caye Chapel on the way into the city, then having to stop again at Caye Caulker on the way back, coupled with the fact that there were 85 people on board, and the arrival at one terminal and departure at another, if I could take all those things out, it would have been fine. I think I happened to be on one of the first days of both the price increase and the doubling up. That day, it was horrid.

Change your Latitude
#373038 - 04/10/10 08:23 AM Re: Transportation Issues [Re: shuffles]  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 5,917
Diane Campbell Offline
Diane Campbell  Offline
Another comment to go along with all of this ......
IMHO the marine terminal in BC is horrid.
Brown Sugar is relaxing, fresh and comfortable.

#373047 - 04/10/10 09:22 AM Re: Transportation Issues [Re: Diane Campbell]  
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 45
julie babcock Offline
julie babcock  Offline
Two of my guests arrived late yesterday afternoon - wind blown, wet and exhausted. They said the water taxi ride had taken 2 hours and when they finally arrived, their luggage was piled on a gurney (sp?) for them to dig thru to then carry to the waiting land taxi drivers - who were not allowed on the dock to help! The water taxi drivers were rude and the price was much more than they expected.

The husband said, "we could have gone to Playa for a lot less. this better be worth it."

#373055 - 04/10/10 09:34 AM Re: Transportation Issues [Re: julie babcock]  
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,046
Peter Jones Offline
Peter Jones  Offline
I've heard similar stories from others. We must recommend people come by air, not sea, until some sanity can be forced upon these rogue operators.

#373056 - 04/10/10 09:37 AM Re: Transportation Issues [Re: julie babcock]  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 12,132
elbert Offline
elbert  Offline
I get emails and hear on the ambergris caye board request for advice- Fly virus Boat to the island. I'm 100% fly to ambergris caye from Belize international.
People seem to think they can save some money, but they don't and they think its going to be a scenic boat ride from belize city and its not.
Fly people!

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