San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Bus fares go up 13 percent today

Beginning Aug. 14, bus riders will have to shell out 13 percent more for their trips.

The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) set the hikes, which range from ¢5 to ¢770 ($1.40), in response to a 25 percent increase in diesel costs between April and August, to ¢726 ($1.32) per liter from ¢556 ($1.01).

The increase is the second this year. Bus fares went up 5 percent in April.

President Oscar Arias´ administration has proposed to eliminate the ¢95.5 ($0.17) per liter diesel tax, but lawmakers have not agreed on how to compensate for the cut in government revenue.

Fuel prices have increased around the world this year, and Costa Rica has not been immune. New price hikes approved by ARESEP went into effect yesterday.

Regular gas prices increased to ¢721 ($1.31) a liter from ¢704 ($1.28); super increased to ¢732 a liter from ¢716; and diesel increased to ¢726 from ¢720.

However, with the world price of oil now on the downswing, the National Oil Refinery (RECOPE) has requested a slight decrease in fuel prices.

RECOPE requested diesel drop by ¢2.8, super by ¢1.5 and the regular by ¢4.9.

The refinery said the decreases would have been greater had the colón´s value against the dollar not plummeted. In July, when this week´s price hike was requested, the dollar was trading at ¢523. The colón´s value has since dropped to ¢556.

According to RECOPE, ARESEP has 15 working days to consider the decrease request and, if approved, five days to make it official.

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