By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
THE BAHAMAS Taxi Cab Union’s (BTCU) president yesterday said it is still pushing for a 30 percent fare hike to offset inflation-fuelled cost increases despite the Government being unresponsive to its calls.
Wesley Ferguson told Tribune Business that while he has not met with Jo-Beth Coleby-Davis, minister for housing and transport, for several weeks he still plans to push for the fare increase as well as request help to crackdown on self-drive (SD) owners who refuse to change their licence plate.
“The SD plates were supposed to have been changed over earlier, and it is not completed yet, but I think it’s not because of her. I think it’s because the SD companies didn’t follow through and do their due diligence, and they are outside of the parameters of their jurisdiction now,” he argued. Penalties are supposed to be imposes on SD cars that fail to convert their plates from yellow back to the original white colour.
Mr Ferguson added: “Right now the main thing we are following up on with Mrs Coleby-Davis is the taxi fare increase. We want a 30 percent increase across the board.” He also wants the Government to address taxi plates that are on the road without being gazetted. “Before the plates are given out they have to be gazetted in the daily papers. That process wasn’t followed; they just gave them out off of the top of their heads,” Mr Ferguson argued.
The lifting of the taxi plate moratorium has saturated the market with drivers competing for business that has not increased in volume, thereby diluting income for all. The Bahamas Taxi Cab Union only wanted an extra 200 plates to be issued, but some estimates have placed this number well above 500, with some drivers not properly vetted or undergoing training to obtain one.