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Taxi Drivers Allege ‘Unfair’ Competition For Atlantis Fares

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

A GROUP of disgruntled Paradise Island-based taxi drivers have expressed concern over some of the Atlantis resort’s employees allegedly facilitating “unfair” competition in the ground transportation industry.

In a letter dated March 16 penned to Stuart Bowe, Atlantis senior VP and general manager of resort operations, the Royal Towers Taxi Drivers Grievance Committee (RTDG) claimed that some staff and supervisors stationed at the resort’s Royal Towers entrance are allegedly complicit in essentially marginalising taxi drivers.

This, the RTDG claimed, is being done by the staff and supervisors allegedly allowing SUV, town car and limousine drivers to “stand at the door” of the entrance and “solicit” guests to their vehicles, notwithstanding taxi cab drivers having to be “placed in a holding area” and allowed to move only “when called for a fare.”

One such employee, the group claimed, has his “friends that are moving all night transporting guests” while taxi drivers wait at their designated station.

The RTDG said taxi drivers are losing revenue as a result.

When contacted yesterday, Bahamas Taxi Cab Union President Philip Watkins said the matter is nothing new, as he claimed the union has had several meetings with Department of Road Traffic officials and Atlantis personnel to deal with the problem. Nonetheless, he said, he would again notify Road Traffic Department officials of the matter.

Attempts to reach Mr Bowe were unsuccessful up to press time.

According to the letter, taxi cab drivers are placed in a “holding area” where they are “monitored” and can only move “when called up for a fare.”

However, the letter said town car, SUV and limousine drivers are allowed to stand at the main entrance and are also permitted to approach and solicit the guests to their respective vehicles, which the group claimed are “always parked on the front entrance and/or the general area near the flying horses.”

The group further alleged that a particular employee, every night he is scheduled to work, has “friends that are moving all night transporting guests” while cab drivers are waiting in the holding area.

The letter claimed that a manager at Royal Towers has had to leave his office on a “number of occasions” to inform the town car, SUV and limousine drivers “not to approach the guests and to let the staff do their jobs.”

However, the letter said that as soon as the manager returns to his office, the town car, SUV and limousine drivers “are back on the door soliciting.”

“(The manager) is not getting the cooperation and support from the staff,” the letter said, addressing Mr Bowe. “It is now vividly clear that some staff members are facilitating and/or aiding what the town car, SUV and limousine drivers are doing – operating outside of the law soliciting and the bombardment of your guests.

“It is our hope that you meet with us so that we can solve this matter peacefully, moving forward.”

When contacted yesterday, Mr Watkins told The Tribune that taxi drivers are “at their wits end” over the matter. “They’re trying their best to provide a service without interruption and it appears as though no one is paying the taxi drivers any mind,” he said. “We’ve had several meetings with Atlantis personnel to deal with those drivers who refuse to go in the lot and who sometimes just are a nuisance, fooling with the people. When (guests) say they want a taxi they’re intercepting them, and between them, the bellmen and the doormen, are just really taking fares that really ought to be going to the taxi drivers.”

Mr Watkins added that he would be speaking to officials at the Department of Road Traffic to “see how best we can resolve that situation.”

He added: “But this is nothing new with drivers at Royal Towers, they’ve got drivers at the Reef sometimes, they have drivers at the Cove, they have drivers at Coral Towers, and the same SUV, town car, are making a nuisance at the airport taking taxi drivers’ fares.”

Comments

DreamerX 6 years, 1 month ago

All is well. Taxi Drivers are the rudest bunch of casual law breakers, right up there with the Jitney drivers.

I'm sorry if after acting as if you own the roads because it's your source of income some of your fellows chose to own the driveways next to lucrative business.

I have no sympathy for this rabble.

I remember when I parked in an unmarked area that was supposedly "known as a taxi parking spot", with no signs or even feint lines on the floor to give a hint, my vehicle was towed by an angry Taxi Driver because I was in his spot. This same man, forgetting me and our argument about how he costed me money parking in an unmarked area, then appears in my clearly marked parking spot in the downtown area some years ago. The joy I expressed in having that taxi towed was paramount. The first wrecker didn't want to tow the vehicle either, because he knew the stand up chap. He tried calling him, to run quick but to no avail.

All this is to say, when Taxi Drivers show an iota of respect for casual road users, I will begin to care about their self established inside rules, that exist in their oligarchical system that is taxi licenses.

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sealice 6 years, 1 month ago

i thought the story line was going to be....."drivers allege unfair competition from tourists how discovered it's cheaper to just by a car, drive it for your vacation, and dump it when you leave rather then hire cabs...." Most of them are horrible drivers, rude and charge bahamians, especially conch coloured ones, more then their schedule dictates. SO tough shit cabbies make the service you provide better, cleaner and safer and the hotels and their employees won't be skeptical about their guests hiring you...

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Sickened 6 years, 1 month ago

Growing up, taxis used to be the best cars on the roads. To take a taxi was a treat, a luxury. Now, the cabs are crap and, at night, most cab drivers can barely speak english. Bunch of immigrants driving these cabs. Dear Taxi union... I don't care about your woes!!!!

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sealice 6 years, 1 month ago

they all used to be those old white mercedes sedans right?

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Sickened 6 years, 1 month ago

You're right. Lot's of mercedes' - cars we all wished we could afford when we grow up. I'm still working towards it.

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truetruebahamian 6 years, 1 month ago

I have a supply/delivery/receiving bay at my place of business on Woodes Rogers Walk which is marked, signed and posted to be for that purpose only. There is also a posted blue sign for handicapped ramp and access. Taxi drivers will park there indiscriminately,and when I ask them to please not block the area will tell me about my White 'paper Bahamian' ass - and when I tell them that my people have been here before any of them, from the first census of the Eleutherian Adventureres they dismiss my request to keep the area clear by swearing and walking off, leaving their car there. When I call a wrecker they get livid, and even more so when I lower myself and tell them to go back to Haiti, Africa or wherever they came from.
Should I park even for a moment in a taxi space I would be ticketed and hauled up and abused verbally by these vermin. There were many good and honourable taxi operators around, but today, so many abuse their position of having taxi numbers because they are government favourites, pimps, or non plate owners whohave to pay exorbitant rent for driving on a government crony's plated car.

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Mmantle7 6 years, 1 month ago

While living in Nassau for a year. I learned that if I needed a Taxi ride I only had to walk out of a Pub or Restaurant and I would quickly hear "GIP" or "TAXI" being shouted from the Shadows. The rides were no different from any other RIDE on the Island except the price was a lot better. I do miss the Island Hustle.

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