The dollar fare on the well-known ‘Dalla Van’ that run in the south side of the city is soaring by as much as a hundred percent. Commuters are now paying two dollars because the vans are to exercise social distancing, which means less passengers onboard. The increase is not going down well for residents who depend on this mode of transportation. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo set out to find out about the increase.
Hipolito Novelo, Reporting
In Belize City, along Mahogany Street and Central American Boulevard, these so call ‘dalla vans’ operate. They are named dalla van because that is what each passenger would pay to get from point A to point B. but not anymore. There is a new price came which came in effect when the country was in lockdown. The cost is now two dollars, a hundred percent increase, and residents of the area are upset.
Allan Pollard, Councilor Responsible for Traffic
“I understand that they were only taking two to three passengers at a time or the maximum four. The reason for the increase was that we are carrying fewer passengers so we have to charge for to make up for it. Understood but that was not relayed to us at the department. Now, after the quarantine I am getting compliant, you know Allen when is the fair going to decrease back to one dollar. It wasn’t anything that they have requested or informed the council of the increase.”
…but they don’t have to.
“They don’t have to but it is in best practice that we have that communication with the association because we are I n contact with the residents. We are trying to ensure that these guys are adhering to some kind of controls within the city. I know it is a large number but that is the preferred method for the council.”
“So there is no agreement that is should be a dollar?”
“Well this is the dollar van. They have a commitment to the residents.”
…and from what we are seeing in the economic crunch, the ‘two dallas van’ operators’ commitment to residents is less than what it is to their pocket.
“We have to be somewhat lenient to the people. We understand trying to get back. We understand the losses. But I mean the busses the take lick, Hipolito. The taxis are taking lick. Everybody is taking lick and the same residents that you are charging are taking lick. At least take that in consideration for the residents. People would be more inviting or welcoming of the increase, they would be more understanding but right now the truth of the matter is people can’t afford two dollars to go and two dollars to come back. There are so many people who are unemployed right now. Some people are trying to ketch that “dalla van” to go hustle a little thing for the day. Now, with that increase you just hamper their progress in a sense.”
“But would you agree that there is another option? They can walk.”
“They can walk, but I personally…when we got in this thing Hipolito, to be honest with you, we are about the people. We are about the resident. Our city must be a city where people have options.”
Pollard says that a letter has been prepared and will be sent to the Dalla Van Association, seeking justifiable reasons for the increase.