Water Taxis frustrate travelers

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 20, No. 14            April 8, 2010

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    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.

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