After over a week of tense transportation strikes across Honduras, government officials and public transportation leaders decide to raise user rates to resolve the problem.
According to local media, bus and taxi van tariffs will go up by 4 to 8 cents per person starting Wednesday, August 1 and another 5 percent starting in December.
The increase is part of the final deal cut between the Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) administration and national transportation union leaders to end a week-long transportation strike that paralyzed movement throughout the country for several days between July 19 and 27.
In the capital of Tegucigalpa buses prices will go up from 17 to 25 cents and taxi vans will charge 58 cents rather than 54 starting on Wednesday. In the city of San Pedro Sula, costs will go up by 9 cents from 33 to 42 cents per adult on buses.
The decision to increase fares came full circle after a fare hike was what transportation leaders originally proposed at the beginning of the strike two weeks ago.
However, after public outcry leaders then placed their demands on the government to lower gas prices by 96 cents per gallon. The government countered with a 2 cent per gallon reduction in gas and later a fuel subsidy proposal for taxi and bus drivers, which transport leaders called a “mockery” and a “joke.”
As it is, the Honduran public will have to pay and many aren’t happy about that in a country whose national poverty average hovers around 60 percent. In rural areas, 20 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty, or on less than US$1.90 per day, according to the World Bank.
"We’re the most affected,” Rene Martinez who lives in San Pedro Sula told local media. “The drivers and bus helpers don’t provide good service and this is only going to hurt our pocketbooks,” she said.
Many users in Honduras say the transportation services need to improve before any rate increase is put in place: buses, taxis, and vans are run down, try to hold too many passengers and drivers don’t respect speed limits.
On Tuesday the Honduran Ground Transportation Institute released a communique contending that transportation leaders have been proposing to increase fares since 2016. Officials added that unions wanted to increase fares by up to US$1 per person on some bus units, but that owing to the government’s work the two sides were able to come to accords for the good of the people.