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Video: Regulated Taxi Fare Increase to Come

Taxi drivers are on track to get new, regulated and increased fares that will be gazetted and published by summer, among other changes slated for the taxi industry that are designed to improve their level of service, Minister of Transport and Housing JoBeth Coleby-Davis said yesterday following a meeting between her ministry, the Bahamas Taxi Cab Union, and the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association.

President of the Bahamas Taxi Cab Union Wesley Ferguson said stakeholders came together to “mitigate all of the undesirable behavior from taxi drivers”.

He said all of the industry’s issues came to a head recently, forcing all of the stakeholders – government and private sector – to come to the table to improve the way taxi drivers look, act and do business.

“So this is a welcoming experience, and we are all on board and for the first time I feel confident that this thing will work instead of just a one-sided relationship,” said Ferguson. 

“Now when you see all the stakeholders involved, they’re serious because now it has reached that boiling point within the entire industry. And they need some answers and they need some resolution.”

Ferguson admitted that taxi drivers felt the government had placed their needs on the back burner after coming to office. Earlier this year he even called for Coleby-Davis to resign.

However, he said the taxi sector’s relationship with the minister has been repaired and they are all on the right track. He said this mended relationship means the industry can now become the best one in the world.

“Well, it has to work at this time, it has to work,” Ferguson said.

“There is no backing out of this now because the union is on board with it. This is what the union has been lobbying for.

“So now that we have their attention, their undivided attention, we can now move ahead aggressively and revamp this industry. And this is a step in the right direction. We are happy about what’s going on here.”

The stakeholders are seeking to maintain the economic viability of the taxi industry; improve standards in the sector; ensure appropriate fares are being charged and improve taxi licensing and inspection.

They will also come with an app that includes a satisfaction survey.

All taxis will eventually be required to display the approved fares inside their vehicles. Those fares will also be published at hotels, airports, and the cruise port.

Coleby-Davis said all of this is being done to enhance the experience in the tourism sector, while the increased rates for drivers ensure they make a fair living.

“Taxi drivers want to make sure that throughout The Bahamas, the tourists are getting good service,” said Coleby-Davis.

“And then on the other end, the taxi union has been advocating for some time for a fare increase. Because even with persons getting their own taxi, they’re still not seeing the benefits so much as they would wish to see, because of the cost of living rising.

“And so we just sat together internally to find a way to bring it all under one umbrella and make sure it works for all.”

Article originally published in The Nassau Guardian, May 4, 2023