OBSERVER ONLINE understands that more than 1,200 taxi operators have left the formal transport sector due to the sharp increase in fuel prices since January.
According to Egeton Newman, president of Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS), the continued rise in the cost of fuel has weighed heavily on taxi operators who were already operating with tight profit margins before the sharp price increases. It is theorized that some of these transport operators may operate informally as “robot” taxis.
“I noted that 1,200 taxi operators between the end of last year and June dropped their red plates due to high fuel prices,” Newman revealed.
“All these guys have swapped their red plates for white plates and operate in external transport groups where white plates are optional, or they drive robot taxis. It’s impossible for a man to take off his red plates and go inside home and sit down.” “, added Newman.
Some audits by industry insiders have speculated that the real figure may be as high as 3,000 taxi operators who have fled the formal transport sector in several regional organizations of taxi operators.
Fuel prices have increased by more than $50 a liter since January.
87 octane prices increased over 17 times and decreased 7 times for a net increase of $50.89, while 90 octane prices increased by a total of $50.46. Diesel prices increased by a net total of $58.02 while ULSD prices jumped by $55.14.
Newman said its members were desperately awaiting the start of the $600 million incentive package announced by Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke during his budget presentation.
READ: $600 million to cushion rising fuel prices for taxi operators – Clarke
The plan includes a $25,000 voucher for taxi operators and a revolving loan fund.