Hire car drivers operating from the New Amsterdam Ferry Stelling on Thursday picketed the region’s Transport and Harbours Department (T&HD) after it rescheduled the operating hours of the water taxies across the Berbice River.Hire car drivers picketing the T&HD office in NAThe notice was placed on Wednesday, indicating that from September 1, the speedboat service will operate from 06:00h until 09:00h and then again from 14:30h until 18:00h. Previously, the service operated between 6:00h and 18:00h.However, the hire car drivers are complaining that this change in the operating hours of water taxis will affect them since persons would usually cross the river during the day with the boats and use the cars to move around New Amsterdam.Kirk Lagoudou, one of the drivers, argued firstly that the notice given is too short. “This morning [Thursday] we and notified that there is a change in the time that the water taxies will be operating. They put up the notice Wednesday. They did not come and inform us in advance,” he told Guyana Times on Thursday during the picketing exercise.According to Lagoudou, pensioners will be adversely affected with the new hours of operation since they are given free crossing by the water taxis. However, he noted that with the time change, pensioners as well as other persons wanting to cross the river, will now be forced to use the minibuses which charge a fee of $300 per trip compared the $120 water taxi fare.It was pointed out that operating from the New Amsterdam Ferry Stelling is considered a lucrative route for hire car operators who charge $140 per trip around the town as against $100 which is the fare in other parts of the town.“The Government should rethink its decision, taking into account the poorer class of persons who need to use the service to get from one side of the river to the other,” Lagoudou said.He warned too that the move could make the town of New Amsterdam become a ghost town.After the ferry service was scrapped, and the Berbice River Bridge became the only means of crossing the river – economic activity slowed down in the town as businesses in the vicinity of the stelling came to a standstill.On the other hand, minibus operators plying the New Amsterdam/Rosignol route raked in large sums of money as they charged $300 for the 12-minute journey and made three trips per day.With the introduction of the water taxies, they protested, calling on Government to also subsidise their operations saying that the $2200 to cross the Berbice River was too high. Many were forced to leave the route and fares had been reduced to $260 in an effort to attract more persons. But this amount was recently raised back to $300 – the same price it was when the Berbice Bridge was charging $2200. Now the bridge fair is $1900.Asked for a comment today on the new scheduled for the water taxies, the minibus operators – who had been very vocal in the past complaining of the difficulty in their operations as a result of the water taxi service – remained silent.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals “It really touches me, how close we are,” said Carissa Eisler, one of six seniors on Valencia’s roster. “When we’re with the (junior varsity), we say that we’re hanging out with 25 of our closest friends. Even outside of tennis, we feel really comfortable with each other and it’s really sad to think that I’m going to be leaving that.” One of the last stops on Valencia’s amazing run was Saturday’s Southern Section individual tournament, with regional competition held concurrently at Agoura and Oak Park highs. As usual, Valencia’s six entries in the tournament – Eisler and Alessandra Horii, along with Kristin Anderson and Monique Palmera in doubles, and Cassie Strange and Michelle Stock in singles – all carpooled from the Santa Clarita Valley to the competition. They’ll do the same Monday when they travel to The Claremont Club for the Div. III final against top-seeded Brentwood. But not before squeezing in what promises to be an emotional team dinner tonight. “It’s just the closeness of our team,” Horii said. “We love being around each other and we truly care about each other.” The most commonly spoken phrase by the members of the Valencia High girls’ tennis team during the past 48 hours has been, “We’re going to the finals.” And the Vikings are placing special emphasis on the word “we.” Many players, be it in tennis or any other sport, talk about being close friends with their teammates or how much they care for them. Valencia is actual proof. The Vikings – many of whom have been playing together for three years – have relied on their strong bond to produce exceptional team chemistry, resulting in the team’s first trip to a Southern Section championship match in school history. The Vikings needed to lean on each other for support during several crucial moments of Thursday’s 11-7 semifinal victory over two-time defending champion Campbell Hall of North Hollywood. Perhaps no one benefited more from the encouragement than Cassie Strange. Knowing that her twin sister, Alexa, had teamed with Lehren MacKay to contribute to Valencia’s nine-set sweep in doubles, Strange recorded two of the biggest wins of her career against Alison Wagner and Michelle Sulahian to help the Vikings reach the championship match after suffering consecutive losses in the semifinals. “I thought I was dying on the court, but I knew that I had to do it,” said Strange, who has won 11 of 12 sets in Valencia’s four postseason matches. “It’s really hard spilling your guts out, especially in a match like that because you don’t know if you can find the strength to keep going. But I just kept trying my hardest. I had to do it for them.” In addition to Strange’s inspirational performance, Valencia also found strength from a note written to them by a member of last year’s team, Ally Westover, now a freshman at UC Santa Barbara. “We still call her the team mom,” Eisler said. Having attended several of the Vikings’ matches during breaks from school and keeping tabs when she’s not there through e-mails with Valencia coach Annie Kellogg, Westover’s words motivated her former teammates to go out and atone for a 15-3 loss to Campbell Hall in the 2003 semifinals. “We all know Ally is still a part of the team,” Horii said. “When coach read that letter, it made me realize how much she cares for us.” Westover’s attendance hasn’t been confirmed for the 10 a.m. match Monday, but Valencia will still honor her words by continuing to play for each other, be it in victory or defeat. “I love playing for my girls,” Cassie Strange said. “I don’t think any other team has as much fun together or cares about each other as much as we do.” Erik Boal, (818) 713-3607 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!