Despite the slight rise in the official prices of gasoline and diesel (LBP 77,500 for 20 liters of 95-octane gasoline and LBP 58,500 for 20 liters of diesel), their scarcity has forced the Lebanese to recourse to the black market or to queue for hours at stations to get barely any petrol. This has led to a significant increase in the public transportation cost which, according to the following examples, has accounted for 25%-50% of the employee’s monthly salary.
- An employee from El-Mina, North Lebanon, works in a trading firm in Downtown Beirut and earns a monthly salary of LBP 4 million. Every day, he takes a bus on his way to work and pays LBP 40,000 for one way and LBP 80,000 back and forth. He works 5 days a week, i.e. his monthly transportation cost is LBP 1.6 million, representing 40% of his salary.
- An employee from Choueifat works in a shop in Downtown Beirut and earns LBP 1.7 million. He works 5 days a week and daily pays LBP 40,000 as transportation fees, meaning that the monthly transportation cost is LBP 800,000 or 47% of his salary.
- An employee from Tariq El-Jdideh works in a shop in Hamra and earns a monthly salary of LBP 1 million. He works 6 days a week and daily pays LBP 20,000 as transportation fees, i.e. the monthly transportation cost is LBP 480,000 or 48% of his salary.
- An employee from Saida works in a bank in Barbir-Beirut and earns a monthly salary of LBP 3.2 million. He works 5 days a week and daily pays LBP 40,000 for transportation, i.e. LBP 800,000 a month or 25% of his salary.
This high cost, which is likely to increase even more when using private cars and after the complete removal of subsidies and the rise of gasoline and diesel prices, imposes on officials to expeditiously establish a comprehensive public transport plan that covers all Lebanese regions at a reasonable cost of no more than 5% - 7% from the minimum wage (set at LBP 675,000 per month). Otherwise, we will be faced with two choices, either to raise salaries and wages and feel the serious effects of inflation or to refrain from going to work and disrupt the economic cycle.