Finance Minister Says NIA Has Not Authorized a Bus Fare Increase

The content originally appeared on: ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation

Charlestown, Nevis, March 31, 2022 (NIA) – -Minister of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), Premier Hon. Mark Brantley has stated that the government has not approved an increase in bus fares on the island of Nevis.

During his monthly press conference on March 31, the Premier said he had been made aware of the information being circulated of an impending price hike in the cost of public transportation, an increase the NIA had not assented to. 

“Bus drivers have put out something saying that they have increased their fares…I don’t know if it’s official but I saw things being circulated giving the new fares for various places so I want to make that very clear that this is not something that the Cabinet in Nevis has approved because we were looking at other solutions which would not pass on that burden to the traveling public.

“I can tell you that as the government we have not authorized or agreed to any fare increase…The Bus Drivers Association would have written to us asking for the permission, if you will, to increase their fares and we would have responded to say to hold we would like to look at the matter. I saw some press reports that the matter was approved in Nevis and I just want to say that the NIA has not approved any bus fare increases in Nevis.”

The circulated document purporting to have been issued by the Nevis Bus Association states that effective April 04, 2022, passengers would have to pay an additional $0.50 for short stops and all other destinations would be an additional $1.00.

As fuel prices continue to soar across the globe due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Premier Brantley said there is consideration by the Federal Government to waive or put a moratorium on the collection of the tax on fuel so as to reduce the cost of gas at the pumps on St. Kitts and Nevis.      

“We have been considering various measures. There is for example in the makeup of the price of gasoline per gallon, a dealer’s margin so the dealer gets I think it’s fixed at 70 cents for every gallon of gas that is sold. Then there is the government levy which is $2.25 for every gallon of gas that is sold. So what we have been saying is that the government ought to do something about that $2.25 and hopefully by doing something about that, bring some relief.

“What exactly is that something is going to be, we’re still working on it but that is where we are looking at right now. So the government could reduce or maybe forego or whatever decision is ultimately arrived at, but that $2.25 can provide a bit of a cushion because currently every gallon of gas you buy there’s a tax of $2.25 that goes to the federal government, not the NIA. So even when you buy gas here in Nevis the $2.25 goes to the Federal Government.”

He said the NIA continues to work with the Federal Government to determine what measure of relief can be offered to the public with respect to rising gas prices. 

As of March 31, 2022, the retail price of unleaded gasoline at Delta Service Stations was $18.01 per gallon and at SOL Service Stations, $17.51 per gallon.