At a meeting held at the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday March 30, 2020 at 1:30 pm to discuss the Government’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the role of the Vincentian Transportation Association (VINTAS), VINTAS affirmed that the Association is willing and ready to co-operate with the Government in implementing measures that would forestall and prevent the community spread of the pernicious COVID-19 virus, commonly called the Novel Corona Virus.
VINTAS is urging all omnibus operators and the travelling public to adhere to the Government’s recommendation to reduce the number of passengers in omnibuses from 18 to 12 or 3 passengers per row. This measure is temporary and represents the commitment of omnibus operators to minimize the risks in spreading the COVID-19 virus.
In partnership with the efforts of the omnibus operators, the Government has indicated its willingness to assist the omnibus operators cushion the economic losses they are likely to sustain by offering a three-pronged response:
- The price of gas was reduced from $12.97 per gallon to $11.97 per gallon and the price of diesel was reduced from $11.79 per gallon to $10.79 per gallon effective March 23, 2020. Gas and diesel prices to be further reduced within the next 3 weeks.
- A stipend to be given to omnibus operators for 2 months in the first instance beginning in the month of April 2020. The stipend amount will be between $250.00 and $300.00. The registration process for collection of the stipend and the amount to be collected will be determined by the Government after further consultation with the Ministry of Finance.
- All vans will be sanitized by the Ministry of Health at two designated, centralized locations in Kingstown at least twice daily, the details of which are to be fine-tuned and communicated to the omnibus operators.
Omnibus operators who are credit/loan customers of certain banks and Credit Unions may also be eligible for a loan repayment moratorium. Omnibus operators are encouraged to contact their banks or credit unions to clarify what support they may be eligible to receive