By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
SEVERAL taxi drivers, angered by the growing concern among downtown Nassau proprietors, could not understand how designated parking spots for taxis could adversely affect business.
Three drivers who called The Tribune, said taxis are making a major contribution to the downtown economy and deserve parking of their own. Only one of the drivers would identify himself, the others insisted on anonymity, fearing police victimisation.
Cheryl Wells, a driver for the last 20 years said: “All these people who don’t want us to have the spaces are the same ones who want us to bring the tourists from the airport, to their stores. If we weren’t doing that, then these businesses could not boast of their current success.
“For a long time, police have also been very hard on the drivers. We can’t even stop for a minute to drop people off, that’s an $80 ticket from police. It’s so hard to cater to our tourists having to work under those kinds of conditions. The police on Bay Street are like a pack of wolves waiting to pounce on any taxi driver they see.”
Another anonymous taxi owner said: “We need the spaces, and we should have them. Things would run smoother for not only us, but for downtown. I believe that they just don’t want us down there at all, that is why people have a problem with us having spots down there.
“We are important to downtown. Perhaps we should consider taking the tourists elsewhere.”
Discussions of a reintroduction of designated parking to Bay Street was once again sparked when Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin announced in the House of Assembly, two weeks ago, that the change would be coming.
Bahamas Taxi Cab Union President Leon Griffin on Monday said towing should be reintroduced at the same time.
That system, he said, would be complemented by the debut of parking meters which would set a 30 minute maximum for motorists.
“Parking meters to that area is an excellent avenue for the government to take,” Mr Griffin said. “Under the licensing act, parking on Bay should only be allowed for 30 minutes, but the police have not been enforcing that law and people have been taking advantage of that.
“Parking meters on Bay Street would force the downtown business owners to find places for their employees to park their cars, creating spots for locals,” he said.
He added that the union is elated that the government is moving forward with efforts to enforce designated parking for taxi cab drivers who have for several years been hassled by police officers for trivial matters.