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Taxi Plate Change To Beat Hackers

By RICARDO WELLS 

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

THERE are “roughly 5,000” self-drive licence plates in circulation, according to Road Traffic Controller Bradley Sands, who yesterday suggested some rental car operators are presently “illegally crossing over” into the taxi business.

Mr Sands, who was appointed to the post last September, said he has received several reports of “unscrupulous behaviour and activities” related to some of the smaller self-drive operators.

Transport Minister Renward Wells on Tuesday announced his ministry was moving forward with plans to facilitate the colour change of taxi plates, insisting the move would bring about the “needed” differentiation between the two services.

While Mr Wells didn’t go into detail with his comments at that time, Mr Sands yesterday insisted the issue was predicated on the “many issues” taxi drivers have raised over what has been described as “hackers coming in and picking up the tourist”.

Mr Sands told The Tribune the similarities of the two plates have led to poorly guided visitors being duped into receiving rides at rates just below those of standard taxis.

He said this “hacking service” has completely stunted the day-to-day operations of some taxi drivers in tourist hot spots.

“Since I came here I’ve been asking why or how all of this was allowed. I mean, for both of these groups to get plates that are so much alike, this level of confusion should have been expected,” Mr Sands said.

“I mean for Bahamians, we know the difference between the TN plates and SD plates, but the visitors don’t. All they see is the colour and assume that ‘hey, there goes the local taxi.’ In many other countries around the world taxis have a set design, make or specific colour.

“What I am trying to say is those vehicles are easier to see and are recognised as taxis, while here in the Bahamas any car can be any of the two, SD or TN, you have to look at the plates,” he added.

According to Mr Sands, there are 1,135 taxis registered in New Providence alone.

However, he noted that when the sector is compared to the “constantly growing” self-drive rental car sector, “it is greatly outpaced.”

Mr Sands explained that the longstanding moratorium on taxi plates has halted the growth of that sector and pushed a lot of modern-day entrepreneurs toward the “open for business” model of the self-drive sector.

He asserted: “There are way more SD plates out there. I mean a lot, roughly 5,000 or so of them are out there and as it stands, because the issuance of new plates is controlled by the (Road Traffic) board, I can’t say if more will be issued.”

“We have about 50 or so operators out there, operating with thousands of plates. Those plates can be placed on any car… that’s why we have agreed to go forward with the change of the taxi plates.”

In January, taxi drivers protested at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), where they allege that limousine drivers and tour operators have been taking their business for years.

At the time, Bahamas Taxi Union President Wesley Ferguson said taxi drivers also had issues at Atlantis, Baha Mar and Prince George Wharf that need to be resolved.

To date, both Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Mr Wells have made promises to union members, promoting plans to address concerns raised about the sector.

Comments

Sickened 1 year, 11 months ago

What about those Tesla cars parked up by Baha Mar all the time? They driving guests around with regular license plates. So, obviously no special insurance can be given for their occupants.

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B_I_D___ 1 year, 11 months ago

That whole same colour TN and SN plates always struck me as odd, definitely need to be different colours. Make the switch, sooner rather than later.

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TalRussell 1 year, 11 months ago

Comrade Joseph, father Jesus, now Imperialist red shirts cabinet forces out forbids any permanent or visiting member populace into being duped into receiving rides at just slightly below that of standard taxi rates....... what sinful infringement can there be under the heartless rule Imperialist red shirts governing forces be in allowing populace brungin' lil bit taxi rates relief they pockets, yes, no - good chance Hackers motor cars goin' give you ride in something more polite you, cleaner and running more better that some "legal" for hires on road, yes, no?

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bogart 1 year, 11 months ago

SOME ....1,135....TAXI PLATES.....AN 5,000 SELF DRIVE PLATES....1 outta 5 .or less cars rented....cars going down da road.....DA SAME COLOUR....AND ...LOUD common daily .....CONCERNS OF HACKERS, .......ILLEGAL unAUTHORIZED .....UNTRAINED........FRAUDULENT....."DRIVERS"........who in da gubbermint same colour taxiplates an self drive rental cars...... ...different enterprises liabilities...rules... ......wid fraud....illegal renting taxi plates....illegal taxi drivers hackers using self drive rental cars not authorized vehicles for taxis boldly using previous different colour plates.......and.....and...and now bequeathed by mistake......didnt gubbermint official not aware da recipe for increased lawlessness..... ALL DESE VAT MONEY TAXES........wasted......like..Education employees paid not goin to work now corrected...by Education Minister...VAT pore people money to pay overruns construction projects corrections.....VAT pore people taxes spent on BAMSI CHECKS...Zstill cant find........VATpore people money paying reserve police who aint show up.....VAT pore people tax been paid to Union official.....but definite action by Chairman Water an Sewage..VATpore people money has to pay to make new plates again......anyone get fired ?????......VAT regressive taxes on majority nation more an more poorer to pay fer mistates...incompetance....

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Islandboy242242 1 year, 11 months ago

You figure there might be a cheaper way of solving this problem but let's let it ride on new plate issuing. Btw, what color they gonna change to? Hot Pink? The livery drivers have white plates right, govt is red plates, Cabinet Ministers, dignitataries, HCC utilize Light blue, Dark Blue and Green respectively right? Orange is too close to yellow :) Guessing Hot Pink it is :) Put a flamingo on it, that will add to its attractiveness :)

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INAGUA 1 year, 6 months ago

I under stand all this that is going on. but what about when you have had a plate for a long time and the owner come and takes it back.

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