Taxi drivers

Taxi drivers are ‘losing patience’ over talk of 20% fare hike – The Royal Gazette

Updated: Sep 21, 2022 1:17 PM

The Bermuda Taxi Owners and Operators Association is calling for a 20% increase in metered fares (Photograph by Tia Smith)

Taxi drivers are urging the government to allow a 20% increase in metered fares.

The Bermuda Taxi Owners and Operators Association also wants the late-night work surcharge to start at 9 p.m., rather than midnight.

The BTOA insists it is unfair that 600 taxi owners and 4,000 operators have not seen a rise in metered fares since May 2014.

While 4,000 people have licenses to drive a taxi, 600 licenses are in force and no new ones have been issued since 1988, a spokeswoman for the organization said.

BTOA vice president Ricky Tucker said the association was “losing patience” with the Department of Transportation over the situation.

Lawrence Scott, Minister of Transport (file photo)

He said The Royal Gazette“It’s been eight years since there has been an increase, it’s very unfair because the cost of everything else is increasing.

“And we’re also the only industry where you have to work overnight to get overtime.”

He added: “The BTOA is asking for a 20% meter increase in addition to the assurance of a rate increase every three years.

“We are aware that there are shipping companies using apps that charge more than the regulated legal rate, making it an unfair playing field.”

He added: ‘We know there are members of the public who believe they know what is best for the taxi industry, but most have not served in the business outside of being a passenger.

“We are prepared for the criticisms and/or pushbacks we may receive; However, we believe it is incumbent upon us to bring our issues to a public forum if we are to continue to provide the quality service that all owners and operators seek.

Mr Tucker said the association was close to an agreement with RUBiS and Sol on a proposed fuel discount for drivers, but they need David Burt, who is finance minister and prime minister, to do so. sign.

The BTOA vice president said the organization was having difficulty securing a meeting with Mr. Burt.

He said: “We just run. I don’t know why he didn’t meet us. We really need a fuel discount, some drivers are spending $120 a day on gas.

“With many operators refueling every day or every other day, it is at the pump that we suffer the most. We are grateful to companies that currently offer us a discount when paying in cash.

“However, we would like the return of a fuel discount that is more geared towards reimbursing the person driving.”

He added: ‘We sought clarification on the return of a fuel rebate to the minister (for transport), who referred us to the finance minister, who referred us to the transport ministry.’

David Burt, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Mr Tucker said the association had met with Lawrence Scott, the transport minister, four times since November to discuss the situation.

But they still had concerns about measures to expand the taxi business.

Mr Tucker said: “While we appreciate the department’s time and are focused on improving the industry through modernization, there are several issues that need to be addressed before adding to existing numbers, in an industry where the department responsible for enforcing the laws governing the industry seems woefully understaffed.

“We are extremely concerned about the inability of the Department of Transportation Control to identify and resolve why approximately 50 taxis have been off the road for an extended period, some for years.

“One Minister’s solution is to allow the license holder to add additional vehicles of any class of public service vehicle within their existing licence.

“We feel that our infrastructure cannot support the number of vehicles that this type of proposal would allow, nor does it provide an opportunity for the many operators who wish to become owners for the first time.

Mr Tucker called for the establishment of a central digital dispatch system across Bermuda.

He said: “We believe now is the time for a strong think tank to see this idea come to fruition.

“We’re sure this would alleviate many of the inconsistencies potential passengers receive when trying to order a taxi.”