Water taxi service reintroduced from NA to Rosignol

Public Works Minister Bishop Juan Edghill on Friday announced that pensioners and school children in uniform will not have to pay to cross the Berbice River with the reintroduction of the water taxi service between New Amsterdam and Rosignol.
The water taxi service was taken out of operation during the COVID-19 pandemic in keeping with the regulations at the time. However, now that there is a full reopening of schools, efforts are being made to ensure that all school children attend school on a daily basis.

Minister Juan Edghill addressing the media at the launch

Earlier this month, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo visited Region Five where he met with several groups including the business community during which a request was made to have the service reintroduced.
He had committed to having the service back in operation. On Friday, Minister Edghill related that the reintroduction of the service is mainly to facilitate school children and pensioners.
“Children in uniform attending school will travel for free. Our Government pensioners (old age pensioners) who are our respected elders and senior citizens are also eligible to use the service for free. It will also be open to members of the public who would like to use the service which will mean our nurses and our teachers; they will pay a fee of $140,” Minister Edghill explained.

The interior of one of the boats

In addition, he inspected the two sixty-seat boats which will be plying the route. The service will be operated under the Transport and Harbours Department and will be subsidised by the Government.
In 2020, the water taxi service was closed but on Monday it will resume and operate between the hours of 7:00h and 9:00h and restart at 15:00h and work until 17:00h.
This schedule, Edghill pointed out, will be able to facilitate school children. It will also be able to facilitate some who live in either of the Regions but work in the other.

The two 60-seat boats that were commissioned on Friday

Meanwhile, Region Six Chairman David Armogan, who also attended the simple ceremony which was held at the New Amsterdam Stelling, said a large number of children who live in Region Five attend secondary schools in Region Six.
The New Amsterdam Multilateral, Berbice High and Berbice Educational Institute were singled out.
Many children from that region also attend the New Amsterdam Technical Institute. They too once in school uniform will be allowed free travel.
When the Berbice River Bridge was opened on December 23, 2008, the New Amsterdam-Rosignol ferry service was pulled out of operation but the bridge does not allow pedestrians or bicycles to use it.
Many had expressed concern over the difficulty to cross after the ferry service – as unreliable as it was – was taken away. In August 2010, a new bus service – New Amsterdam-Rosignol – was introduced but soon after there were calls for the fare to be reduced.
It was under the previous Administration, on September 21, 2015, that the water taxi service was introduced.
According to the Public Works Minister, his Government has no intention of not supporting anything which was done by the previous Administration which serves to improve the quality of life of ordinary citizens of this country.
He noted that the water taxi service in Berbice will not undercut or diminish the role of the Berbice River Bridge. The two boats will only work on weekdays. The daily operational cost for the boats will be about $125,000 weekly.
General Manager of T&HD, Marclene Merchant said the Department is happy to be able to provide a service once more in Berbice.
“We are here to serve and we will ensure that we provide a reliable and safe service,” the top T&HD official said.