Taxi owners and operators must stand united
Taxi owners and operators, you may not consider me a regular operator or owner, but I have held a valid taxi licence since 1969. The reason I have maintained this licence over the years is I believe working in the Bermuda taxi industry was like having a trade where you can always earn some sort of income for your family.
During the past few years, I have had conversations with many owners and operators, the majority of whom are very concerned that the taxi industry is slowly on the verge of being eliminated by other means of public transportation — minibuses, rental cars, hotel/airport private limousines, cruise ships.
There are also the growing concerns regarding the taxi licensing board, which is neglecting to enforce longstanding taxi regulations. Should these regulations be enforced, it would help to ensure that the taxi owners' investments are protected and will help to keep hundreds of Bermudians employed.
These concerns are ongoing and real. But I must also mention I believe there is a more serious problem.
There are about 600 taxi owners and they are estimated at two operators per taxi, which should mean 1,200 operators with the potential to earn some sort of income.
I, along with many others, believe the 1,200 or more owners/operators have been divided for years. Should we continue to be divided, we will not be able to maintain the longstanding and much needed taxi industry.
The present and future concerns of the Bermuda Taxi Operators Association can, and will, be solved only with the consistent application of the taxi regulations and the unified voice of all operators/owners.
I believe there are plenty of benefits available within the Bermuda Taxi Operators Association. Some of these benefits have been explained during my conversations, but will be achieved only with full support of every Bermudian with a valid taxi licence.
The meeting held last week with operators and transport minister Zane DeSilva was well attended and productive. We trust the concerns expressed will be strongly considered by the minister.