Fare hike: what’s in it for Joe Electorate?

No doubt the proposed fare hike for taxi drivers is long overdue.  However is it far to coincidental how the timing of the hike falls right in line with rumors of an election being called?  Further, the public still waits for improvements in service that have also been long coming, where are they?  There are improvements that could be made and systems put in place to measure service levels, and thus it should be expected that along with the hike, such announcements are forthcoming.  We, the electorate, can hope that while the taxi drivers are getting their much needed fare hike, that we will also getting a much needed improvement in the levels of service.

Breaking news from the Royal Gazette web site suggests that as of December 1st we’ll be paying 10.5% more for our taxi service.  No doubt this has been quite a long time coming as taxi drivers have watched their costs increase while their profits dwindle.  Few can argue with the plight of taxi drivers as fuel costs skyrocket. 

The timing of the hike is one which raises questions, however.  It takes us back to that old question, if there was no pending election, would similar action be undertaken?  For those who recall, the taxi drivers served as a major pillar of support for the Progressive Labour Party by ferrying party supporters to and from the polls in previous elections.  More recently, taxi drivers have become frustrated with the ill-fated forced implementation of GPS which has not yielded the promised results and the despair of rising costs.  Does the timing of this announcement make it far too coincidental?  Would it be too much to wonder whether this is little more than pre-election pandering and if an election weren’t in the cards, the taxi industry would get nothing and be quickly forgotten about as they have in the past?

The other issue that comes to light is the lack of improvement in service over the years.  GPS was a flop and no doubt many in the electorate will be disgusted by the rate hike should it not accompany strict measures designed to improve the reliability and service offered by the taxi industry.  Thus, tomorrow’s more detailed announcements could take two courses of action.  One which will prove that this is a case of genuine improvements for all, or the other, which suggests this is little more than simple electioneering. 

If this writer were to take a guess as to what improvements could be made, he would propose that the Ministry of Transport would create a special auditing program designed to assess the service levels of the industry.  This program would involve having random individuals test and rate the level of service offered around the island from response times, cleanliness, attitude, etc, all from varying locations and to varying destinations.  Those drivers who refuse to drive to certain destinations should be met with an instant fine and suspension of their license.  Other violations should also be met with fines and suspensions depending on their severity.

So, certainly allow the taxi drivers to have their rate hike for it is long overdue and they deserve it given the rising costs.  However, the public should be weary to watch whether this is a case of electioneering or genuine intentions to improve service overall.  No doubt improvements can be made and systems could be put in place to track levels of service, for to expect a commitment of improvement in service from the industry and our government at the same time as a rate hike would not be asking very much.   For certainly, just as fare hikes have been a long time coming for taxi drivers, so have improvements in service for the electorate.

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3 thoughts on “Fare hike: what’s in it for Joe Electorate?

  1. I don’t object to a 10.5% increase in taxi fares. In fact, I wouldn’t object to a 100% increase in taxi fares. I’d just be happy to be able to get a cab when I call.
    Last weekend, my wife and I had dinner reservations at the Waterlot. I called the number that I had programmed in my cell phone. I don’t even know where the number goes – It was given to be by a cabbie, who explained that the number was used to dispatch multiple drivers. The phone was answered, but I was told that there were no cabs available. I was given another number to call, BTA dispatch.
    I called BTA dispatch and was put on hold immediately. I held for ten minutes, and then, while stillon hold, I walked from my house to the church parking lot at the end of Valley Road. As anyone who travels valley road can attest, there are always a handful of cabs parked in the parking lot, where the drivers seem to sit and drink. Although the cabs were there, I was told by the guys standing around drinking that there were no drivers around.
    I walked back to my place, still on hold with BTA dispatch. Nobody ever answered the phone, so we loaded up the scooter and headed to the Waterlot, late for our reservations.
    There is something drastically wrong with the service levels offered by the taxi drivers. I would estimate my success ratio with calling for a taxi or prearranging a taxi is less than 50%.
    Something has to change.

  2. If the government is serious about helping the taxi industry how about lowering the tax on fuel. $8 a gallon is just ridiculous.

  3. TAXI’s,is something i know a little bit about. Yes Gas is $1.75 per Ltr X 3.78ltrs to the gallon,a gallon is at $6.615,yes it is alot of money,the tax should not come down,IT SHOULD COME OFF COMPLETELY.
    Did you know that the govt of the day collects approx $40 per day per person in Bda.The is so much money comming in they dont know where to spend it or to steal it.
    if taxs came down the cost of living would be cheaper.high taxs high cost of living.
    The TAXI”S 500 were issued origanaly for the 500 horse and carrage owner operators.
    The population has doubled since then,but the number of cabs has gone up by 150.
    There is not enough population to have manny cab drivers therefore cab’s are not on the road for 24 hours.And the investment that you have to make for the licence plus car plus equip plus “TAX’s” plus gas plus and operating cost.therefore no one is going to give up this very exspensive item for any unknown itiot with a licence to drive,do damage which the owner has to pick up the tab agn agn agn.as the driver has no assest and no resposibilities.
    So the only way to solve this is to push to have private bus servives on the roads.doing away with the world war two system we have now.
    smaller buses same as are used for the airport now as well as mini busses that give execellent service.
    it would be more efficient,the customers and the drivers would find each other.the busses would make a proffit and be able to pay their overheads of which some would go to govt.Where to day you see empty busses running all over the place.the big govt ones.And i am convinced that there would be less traffic on the road,because to keep a car on the road is costing you $40 per day.
    yes that is $40 per day,do the math…….
    So if you needed to travel from either end or in the middle you would be able to do it for less than $40 per day 30 days a month.
    Because the busses would be competative.and when you needede a taxi,you will certainly be able to get one as the whole sernario would have changed.I used to drive a CAB when it was very compeitive,manny years ago.
    today there is more work than available cabs.nice situation to be in if you own a cab.And complaining about the cab’s is not going to change it.So if you have a friend whom has a car please ask if they can assist you occasionaly when needed.because the govt bus service just don’t cut it and an enourmus amount of your money ($40) per day is wasted on that service.
    You can get a taxi early in the morning if you wish to go to the airport.Now comming from the airport if all the taxis have gone,dont call one as you will not get one,maybe the next day.
    So it is a big investment if you want to buy a taxi,approx 100,000 for the permit or more,40 to 50,000 for a new cab,and the rest of the stuff that goes with it.somewhere between $150,000 to $175,000
    to put it on the road,I estimate.

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