29 May 2008

Outcry in Solomons capital over 150 percent bus fare hike

3:18 pm on 29 May 2008

There is an outcry in Solomon Islands at a 150 percent increase in public transport charges.

The Solomons, like every country in the region, has been struggling in recent months to cope with the soaring costs of basics such as rice and fuel.

The Government has removed excise and consumption tax from rice but it has still gone up 23 percent in price.

Petrol now costs 13 Solomon Islands dollars, or 1 dollar 85 US, a litre, after rises in each of the last several months.

Our correspondent, Richard Toke, says this prompted the bus owners to announce earlier this week that they would have to increase the price per trip from two dollars to five.

"There is a public outcry that this is too much, but the poor bus owners are also struggling to make ends meet - the spare parts cost and everything has gone up."

Richard Toke in Honiara.