With petrol prices increasing from Wednesday, Abu Dhabi residents, mainly those from low-income category, fear further inflation and rise in services and prices of essential goods.
Zenith Transport, one of the leading Abu Dhabi school bus companies, already warned yesterday that it might raise monthly fares for those using its services.
Petroleum production distribution companies in the country have decided to raise the price of petrol by 15 fils at fuel stations nationwide from Wednesday.
Talking to Emirates Business, Zenith Transport General Manager Mohammed Amin said they will evaluate their costs and profit margin that might result from the new prices, and if they do not meet the required demand, they might be forced to increase the fare by Dh25 per student per route.
"When the new prices come into force on Wednesday, the management will hold a meeting to discuss the situation and evaluate costs and other financial affects of it and may decide on a marginal increase on the fares.
"It will be for the management to decide.
"I believe in such circumstances, we might increase fares by Dh25 per student per route to help reduce our costs, which might occur due to fuel charge rise," he said. The company currently charges Dh200 per student, which might go up by Dh25 most probably from June.
When asked if he expects protest from parents, his response was: "We take all the parents into confidence before deciding on the new fare. We will send circulars to parents before the new fares are introduced."
The new petrol prices, residents fear, may also trigger increase in taxi and public transport fares in Abu Dhabi. Residents also fear prices of essential goods may also increase due to the rise in fuel prices.
Officials at both the Department of Transport and TransAD, which regulates Abu Dhabi's private taxi companies, were not available to comment on the new fuel prices because of the weekend.
Rozeena Anwar, a mother of two, both of whom take a private bus to get to school, said the increase would give an excuse to transport companies to raise their fares, as was the case when an increase in school building rents gave schools an excuse to increase fees. "We are already paying Dh400 a month for the two children's school bus, let alone the sky-reaching fees, money spent on their uniforms, texts books and other fees charged by the school,"?she said.
"All the transport companies in Abu Dhabi are charging Dh200 per month for a child – that is a a lot of money, and I'm sure they are already making good money, and they will continue to make good money even if the fuel charge is increased by 50 fils. So this would be a mere excuse by transport companies," Anwar added.