“I won’t pay!” one man can be heard shouting at a taxi driver, waving his fist. Another can be seen getting out of a taxi car and shaking his head as he muttered to himself.
There is electric anticipation in the air as the Lebanese people brace themselves for yet another economic blow, this time a minor one: the price of the ‘service’ has risen by 50% from 2,000LL to 3,000LL after a brief statement issued Tuesday by the head of the road transport federations Bassam Tlais.
In his statement to the local media, Tlais warned that the transportation fee will be raised “somewhere between 30% to 50%, before 15 July.”
The transportation sector is certainly not the first sector to increase its prices as Lebanon grapples with a crippling economic crisis that has practically devalued the local Lira currency, causing a staggering increase in prices of all kinds of goods and retails.
Annahar spoke to six taxi drivers who all confirmed the decision, saying that it will “come into effect on Monday.”
“We have suffered a lot during these crises, and we deserve to have our rights,” Abdullah Hussein said passionately. “I have four mouths to feed at home.”
It is worth noting that the price of the Lira to the dollar in the black market has reached 10,000 LL. The public reaction to yesterday’s news ranged from grim acceptance to full-fledged fury.
“This is outrageous, it’s really not fair because I’m used to taking the ‘service’ every day to university,” 18-year-old Rima told Annahar. “I pay 4,000 LL every day. Now I have to pay 6,000LL. I know it’s not much of a difference but everybody is tight on money these days.”
In comparison, 66-year-old Mona Itani lives on her pension and is also complaining of the increase in the transportation fees, saying that she can barely afford her living expenses.
“God knows I live alone and my children are not with me to help me financially,” she said, her voice shivering.
As for the middle-aged passengers, they seemed to have predicted this change.
“Everything in this country has become expensive,” said 36-year-old Jad Sakr. “It was only a matter of time before the ‘service’ became expensive too- I mean relevantly of course,” he said.
Today, in the hustle and bustle of the streets of Beirut, the citizens have yet to adapt to a new reality, just as they have adapted to other realities.
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