Making a case for minibuses
Please afford me the opportunity to shed some light on the public service vehicles; in particular, the minibus service, which falls under such legislation.
There was an amendment made back in 2006. Motor Car Amendment (No 5) 2006, of which I make reference. In that Act, under Citation inserts new section 32A No 4 (3): The purpose of a minibus service shall be for the conveyance of the general public to or from any place in Bermuda, including the Bermuda International Airport, for hire or reward.
There is this perception among taxi operators that minibuses have the right to operate only on a prearranged basis, and that a minimum number of passengers is the criteria.
In viewing/reading the amended Act, I don’t see any such stipulations.
Also under 32A (4) (f): where a permit is granted, it shall be a condition of the permit that the minister may make an order requiring a permit holder to assist in transporting persons in circumstances of emergency or where a temporary need arises to transport large groups and there is a lack of other public service vehicles to do so.
Perhaps the taxi operators’ ignorance of this Act has led to the challenges between the two.
Additionally, some taxi owners are upset that some of them paid in excess of $100,000 for their permits, as opposed to minibus permits initially starting at $5,000.
That is not the fault of the minibus association, yet a figure that the Government determined.
There is also the false perception that the minibuses are not regulated. There is a pricing schedule approved by the Transport Control Department and the Public Service Vehicles Board, where it is per head per parish. Existing parish: $5. Next parish $2. Each additional parish $1.
It is also mandatory that each minibus be registered as a limited liability company with the Registrar of Companies, primarily for insurance and tax purposes.
Minibuses get the “spot checks” by TCD officers, just as taxis do, for fire extinguishers, licences, etc.
Therefore, Mr Editor, I encourage those disgruntled taxi owners to read the Act (No 5), in its entirety, so as to put things in their proper perspective.
Their resentment is ill-advised and misdirected.