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Soaring fuel costs hit Damascus drivers

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Damascus — Damascus Minibus Khaled al-Hassi, the driver of the Syrian government, traveled across the Syrian capital with cheap fuel in his tank when he was able to bring home enough money for food, drink and a comfortable life. I remember that

Now, rising fuel costs and a collapsing currency leave him with just a few dollars at the end of his busy day.

"Sometimes half a day's supply of diesel isn't enough for them," said Hassi while driving passengers on Mazraa Street in central Damascus.

He told passengers that he would charge £200 (less than 5 cents) for each of his rides, of which only 30% of which he would end up earning. increase. ``If you make 40,000 in a day, you will be left with 12,000 Syrian pounds – what is it worth? The battle for hands to make a living is getting tougher each year, he says Hassi. Things have gotten worse with Russia's invasion of Ukraine and soaring global energy prices.

Two weeks ago, authorities raised fuel prices, more than doubling the cost of subsidized petrol to £2,500 per litre. Taxis and minibuses are allocated 30 liters of supplementary fuel per day, and diesel in minibuses in the capital is currently limited on weekends.

While drivers struggle to make a living, few can afford a taxi.

Sidra, a 17-year-old high school student, said that a return taxi fare of £25,000 was twice his mother's daily income and available elsewhere. He said he walked to school because he had no means of transportation.

Exhausted by the long distances of the morning and evening, she failed her class. "One of her main reasons for her failure was transportation," said her mother Umm Mohammed.

Umm Mohammed also walks around the city to run her errands to save her money.

Rising fuel prices are the result of recent government reforms to reduce the number of beneficiaries while restructuring subsidies for fuel, bread and other commodities to ease the burden on government revenues. It was a measure of

In her 11 years since the Syrian civil war broke out, the local currency has fallen from 47 against the US dollar to around 4,300 in the informal market.

"This is a real crisis and the problem is that it doesn't end there," said Hyde Hyde, a consulting associate and his fellow at Chatham House in London. “Everything has become very expensive, and purchasing power has dropped significantly.” (by Dominic Evans, edited by Susan Fenton)