Egypt Independent

Fights break out as drivers raise fares arbitrarily upon fuel prices increase



Fights and quarrels occurred on Thursday between citizens and drivers of micro-buses and transportation vehicles after they raised fares upon an increase in the prices of fuel, without waiting for the official fare prices to be announced by the Cabinet.

A state of anger prevailed in Beheira among citizens due to the increased fares. Official sources in the province said that the new fare prices have not yet been finalized, and that the increase will be between 25 and 30 percent of the current price.

Ahmed Ali, a worker at the a petrol station, said there was great demand on Wednesday evening on fuel as citizens expected the increase in fuel prices since Wednesday. Demand decreased remarkably after the price increase was announced, he added.

Street vendor Mohamed Abdel Hamid from Edko said he used to go to his place of his work in Damanhour for LE5. After the increase the fare rose to LE7.

“I don’t know how this will affect our food for the rest of the month,” he said.

A teacher in Saint Catherine, Ossama Amer said that to visit his family in Mount Sinai he would need to spend LE200 on fuel. He added that he would not use his car after the price hikes.

Ahmed Ghobashy, head of the tourism support coalition in Sharm el-Sheikh, said that the decision to raise fuel prices would harm the inflow of tourism to the city, as most of the incoming tourism is currently domestic tourism.

Quarrels occurred between passengers and drivers in different transport stops, In Desouq’s stop, drivers raised the fare by LE5 from LE 10 to LE15 for Desouq-Alexandria trips. They raised the Desouq-Cairo trip fare from LE19.5 to LE25, and Desouq-Kafr el-Sheikh trip fare from LE4.5 to LE6.

Citizens were obliged to comply with the demands of drivers, due to the lack of supervision by officials from the local authorities.

The price of a gas cylinder was set at LE 35 by street vendors.

In Alexandria, anger prevailed among people for fear of increased public transport and freight prices. Al-Masry Al-Youm learned that traffic officers warned this morning drivers of mini-buses and micro-buses not to rush and raise the fare before it is officially determined.

Employee Amr al-Sayed said the increase was unexpected especially during this period. He said he needs LE1,400 a month only for the fuel of his car, which is too difficult to provide, given the low salaries.

Mother of 4 sons, Hoda Saleh said she pays LE500 a month for the transportation fees of her sons to schools and universities. She won’t be able to cover the transportation fees after the increase, as her salary is only LE2,000 a month, she said, referring to the recent increase in the prices of other food commodities.

Citizens in Qaliubiya were shocked at hearing the decision, saying the decision added to the burden of their living conditions.

Quarrels occurred as well in Qaliubiya between passengers and drivers who doubled the fare. A number of drivers announced a strike until the new fare prices are announced by the Cabinet.

Citizens also complained of the raised price of gas cylinders, which is expected to surpass LE40.

Fights occurred in Suez at petrol stations between citizens and station workers over the fuel price hikes.

Police were deployed at many transport stops in anticipation of fights.

Quarrels and fights also occurred in Assiut and Minya for the same reasons.

Owners of irrigation machines and agricultural machinery rose the prices of transport, irrigation, plough, and harvesting costs after the government’s decision on Thursday.

In Minya, Mostafa Mahmoud said the prices of food commodities and daily needs will increase consequently upon the decision due to the increase of transportation fees.

Undersecretary of the Supply Ministry in Minya Mahmoud Youssef said fuel prices were officially increased in 140 petrol stations in the governorate starting 8 am on Thursday.

Head of the Farmers Union announced rejecting the increase in fuel prices which would lead to an increase in the cost of agricultural production, fertilizer and pesticides and will have a negative impact on agricultural crops. He added farmers already suffer from the lack of irrigation water and the increasing cost of transportation as well as the increase in labor wages.
He warned of decline in the cultivation of strategic crops which would force the state to resort to importation from abroad, adding burden to the state budget of foreign currencies.

 

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm