LOOK out for an increase in taxi fares as a result of the price hike in premium unleaded gasoline, president of the Auxiliary Transport Association (ATA) Gerard Whyms has said.
Finance Minister Larry Howai presented the "People's Budget" on Monday in the House of Representatives at Tower D of the Port of Spain International Waterfront Centre.
Howai announced the reduction of the fuel subsidy and as a result the price of premium unleaded gasoline has been increased from $4 to $5.75 a litre.
The price of super unleaded gasoline and diesel remains unchanged.
However, Whyms, in a telephone interview with the Express, said he expects "unscrupulous taxi-drivers" to use the price increase of premium gasoline as an excuse to increase taxi fares.
"This may be used as an opportunity by taxi-driver associations and the maxi-taxi drivers' associations could now increase their fares," Whyms said.
"This will be the perfect excuse and opportunity for unscrupulous people to take advantage of the situation and just say 'gas gone up'," he said.
The ATA, which consists of "PH" drivers, does not set prices but plies routes at the fares established by taxi associations.
Drivers said they were caught by surprise when Howai announced the increase in the price of premium gas.
"That was the last thing I expected to hear. When I heard the Government intended to remove VAT (Value added Tax) on all food items, I was pleasantly surprised but now I feel hurt," Shereen Jagdai said.
Jagdai said she would now revert to using super unleaded gasoline in her Toyota Corolla.
Steve Gordon said he opted to fill the gas tank of his Honda Civic for one last time with premium unleaded gasoline before yesterday's scheduled price hike.