The government has announced that the water taxi service across the Berbice River will begin from Monday, September 21.
The administration moved to introduce the service in wake of the resistance from the Berbice Bridge Company Inc (BBCI) to lower the tolls for the bridge.
Minister of State Joe Harmon today said the service will start even as the government continues to engage the bridge company to consider and facilitate the proposed reduction in tolls.
He told media operatives that the Bridge Company is still consulting with its shareholders on the issue but he hopes good sense will prevail at the appropriate time.
The river taxi service will begin in the form of a pilot project to move persons from the West Bank of the Berbice River to the East.
It is aimed at bringing relief specifically to school children and the elderly and will start with two boats, similarly to those that currently ply the Demerara River between Vreed – en – Hoop and Georgetown.
If the pilot project is successful, the government will seek to increase the number of boats.
Mr. Harmon maintained that the government is still hopeful that the bridge company will lower the tolls.
The Finance Minister, during his 2015 budget presentation announced that the tolls for buses and cars would have been reduced from $2200 to $1900, representing a 13.6% reduction while the tolls for all other vehicles would have been reduced by 10%.
However, the Berbice Bridge Company which is privately owned, said it needed to consult with its shareholders although the government would have been paying the bridge the difference from the reduction through a subvention.
(Photo by Girendra Persaud)