Transport Minister Renward Wells.
By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE government is moving forward with plans to facilitate the colour change of taxi plates, Transport Minister Renward Wells revealed yesterday.
The change, according to the Bamboo Town MP, will cause for a distinct difference between taxi plates and the plates used on self-drive (SD) vehicles.
Mr Wells said the decision was made following an observation by officials at the Ministry of Transport, which determined it would be more cost effective to change the colour of taxi plates, rather than those of self-drive plates.
“We have not gone back on that. We have made a commitment that that is something that needs to happen because there really needs to be differentiation between those two services,” he told reporters, responding to concerns raised by the Bahamas Taxicab Union (BTU) earlier this month.
“…The government has committed to it, I have spoken to it, the prime minister has spoken to it, and so they ought not believe that we have gone back on our word,” Mr Wells said. “We will be changing the plates, the colour of the plates.”
He said the issue should be addressed some time after the 2019-2020 budget communication in the House of Assembly later this month.
“So immediately after that we will be dealing with the other issues as well, though this government walks and chews gum at the same time, we want to make sure we do all things well,” Mr Wells added.
The colour issue has been a major talking point for the BTU this year.
In January, taxi drivers protested at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), where they allege that limousine drivers and tour operators have been taking their business for years.
At the time, BTU president Wesley Ferguson said taxi drivers also had issues at Atlantis, Baha Mar and Prince George Wharf that need to be resolved.
Last year, drivers urged the government to end a two-decade old moratorium on new plates during a town hall meeting with Mr Wells, citing the end of the moratorium as a key issue, with numerous complaints being raised over the leasing of taxi plates.