DeSilva responds to taxi concerns
Policies will limit the use of special taxi permits when they are introduced, according to Zane DeSilva, Minister of Tourism and Transport.
Mr DeSilva said that while the announcement of the permits was met with an “overwhelmingly positive” response from the public, he said he was aware of concerns among taxi operators.
He said: “We are looking at the options very carefully and have already decided to make the permits subject to an annual fee and assessment.
“Our goal is to get these taxis on the road and running before the end of July.
“I also wish to make it clear, to existing and potential taxi licence owners, that the new permit will be restricted to working times that fill the identified service gaps — the proposed hours are from 3pm to 6am and this will be finalised soon.
“To ensure all regulations are adhered to, the special permit taxis will be required to register with a dispatcher who will send them work only during the permitted times.”
Mr DeSilva added that once launched, the programme would be carefully monitored to determine if any additional special taxi permits were required.
He said as part of the creation of the Transport Green paper, the Government had looked at the data from three of the four dispatching services on the island and were able to identify times and locations when the public could not secure transport.
Mr DeSilva explained: “There are a number of individuals willing and able to drive taxis, but they are unable to do so because some owners have declined to make their taxis available for rent.
“This, along with other factors such as some drivers choosing not to work during unsociable hours, results in a shortage of taxis, specifically at certain locations and times of the day. “It is for this reason we are looking to introduce special taxi permits.”
He added that the Government would implement many of the ideas recommended during the Transport Green Paper consultation period as it seeks to address shortcomings in the system, but the special taxi permits were the quickest and most efficient way to get more taxis on the road to provide transportation during the summer season.
Mr DeSilva added: “I look forward to working with stakeholders to fix these problems which have festered for years without resolution.
“In tourism and transport, we cannot let attachments to the past prevent us from modernising the future.
“We were elected to fix problems and must move forward to make transportation better while providing more Bermudians the opportunity to earn a living and benefit from our growing tourism economy.”