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Public transport fares rise as taxis protest fuel price hike
By Mohammad Ghazal - Nov 14,2012 - Last updated at Nov 14,2012
AMMAN — Fares for diesel-fuelled and gasoline-run public transport vehicles across the country rose by 11 per cent and 9 per cent respectively as of Wednesday, according to the Land Transport Regulatory Commission (LTRC) and the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM).
LTRC Director General Jamil Mujahid stressed the need for all operators to abide by the new tariffs, which will be posted on the LTRC website, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
Also on Wednesday, GAM decided to raise fares of public transport vehicles operating in the capital by the same percentage, according to a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times.
Earlier in the day, the Transport Services and Taxi Owners Union and owners of taxis and services taxis urged the government to increase their fares by 15-20 per cent after its decision to lift subsidies on fuel derivatives.
The call came amid a work stoppage by service taxis in downtown Amman, which brought traffic to a complete halt in the area.
"This is the second time this year that the government increased fuel prices. It should immediately increase our fares by 20 per cent at least," Abu Yehya, a service taxi driver in downtown Amman who took part in the work stoppage, told The Jordan Times over the phone.
"Everything will become more expensive after the government lifted subsidies. The issue is not just about fuel becoming more expensive. The whole situation is currently intolerable," the father of six said.
Another service taxi driver in down town Amman, who participated in the protest, agreed.
"The government should not postpone increasing our tariffs until next week. It should have taken that into account when it decided to lift subsidies," Mahmoud Abu Yaseen said Wednesday morning before the decision was announced.
"I am taking part in the strike today because I reject the government's decision to increase the prices of fuel," added the father of three who operates on the Jabal Jofa road.
On Tuesday, the price of 90-octane gasoline rose from 700 fils to 800 fils per litre after the government decided to lift the fuel subsidy, while in June, the price rose by 12.9 per cent, from 620 fils to 700 fils per litre.
Several Jordanians on Wednesday complained that taxi drivers had started charging higher rates before the government increased their tariffs.
"I took a taxi from Hai Nazzal to Jabal Hussein, where I work as an accountant. Usually it costs me JD1.5, but this morning the taxi driver told me he will add JD0.30 for each JD1 on the meter," Ruba Ali told The Jordan Times over the phone.
"I read in the news that the government will increase the prices as of next week, but I decided to pay the extra money as the traffic jam in the morning was horrible and I did not want to be late for work," Ali said.
In March this year, the LTRC raised public transport fares by 6 per cent.
At the time, Mujahid said the increase was meant to do justice to both operators and citizens, noting that the commission had not amended public transport fares since 2010 in spite of increases in fuel prices and living costs that had an impact on the transport sector.
Ahmad Abu Haidar, the union's president, told The Jordan Times on Wednesday that the government should increase public transport tariffs by about 15 per cent.
"Fuel represents about 35 per cent of the operational cost for cabs and service taxis," Abu Haidar added.
There are about 17,000 taxis in Jordan, about 12,000 of which are in Amman, and more than 4,250 service (shared) taxis, according to LTRC figures.
The Transport Services and Taxi Owners Union and several drivers of taxis and service taxis on Thursday voiced satisfaction with the government’s decision to increase public transport fares.
The Transport Services and Taxi Owners Union on Sunday urged the government to give taxis and service taxis gasoline to compensate for a recent rise in fuel prices, after authorities said they would not raise fares.
The Land Transport Regulatory Commission (LTRC) on Sunday said it would not increase taxi or service taxi fares to compensate for a recent rise in fuel prices.
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