Executive Council Saba Hopes Higher Ferry Prices Can Still Be Avoided

Saba's Executive Council hopes on an agreement before new and higher fares will go into effect.

THE BOTTOM- The Executive Council of the Public Entity Saba on Friday afternoon sent out a press release regarding the impending increase in ticket prices for travel on the Makana Ferry.

“Yesterday, May 2nd 2024, Blues & Blues Ltd. (the Makana operator, editor) announced rate increases for the Makana ferry from May 15th 2024 onwards. In the same announcement, they have also suggested an expanded schedule”, according to the press statement.

According to the information provided, the current negotiations for the new Public Service Obligation (PSO) for the Makana ferry started in November 2023. The former PSO ended on December 31st, 2023. The Makana has therefore been running without a subsidy since January 1st, 2024.

“The Public Entity Saba acknowledges the importance of affordable rates on the Makana, and therefore will continue to work diligently to come to a consensus with the different stakeholders in regard to the new PSO”, according to Government. However, although negotiations about a new PSO have been ongoing since last year November, regretfully, these efforts haven’t led to a consensus amongst the stakeholders.

St. Eustatius

From informal, but reliable sources The BES-Reporter understand that the holdup for the new agreement is currently caused by Statia’s Executive Council. It is said that the draft contract has been lying on the desk of Commissioner Arlene Spanner for some time, without being concluded. A request for information put out to Commissioner Spanner on Friday by The BES-Reporter so far remained unanswered.

Saba’s Government says they hope to conclude negotations with the ferry operator as soon as possible, to bring back down the current ticket prices.

“In the coming days negotiations will continue with the goal of reaching terms that are agreeable for all parties involved. Ideally, this will happen before the rates are increased. The OLS will continue to provide updates as this situation continues to develop”.

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