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Cab fares set to increase by 25 percent

The cost of a cab ride is set to go up by 25 percent as part of a major Government overhaul of the industry.

The number of passengers taxis are permitted to carry will increase from six to seven and drivers will also be able to display advertising material in their cabs in what is hoped will be another revenue generator.

Announcing the moves in the House of Assembly yesterday, Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell pointed out that the fare rate, which is set by Government, had not increased in more than six years.

He said that the changes — devised after extensive consultation with taxi owners and operators — will come into effect from May 1 in time for drivers to cash in on the busy summer season.

“The legal charge for hiring a taxi will increase by 25 percent,” Mr Crockwell confirmed.

“Whilst this may appear to be exorbitant in the current economic climate, taxi fares have not been increased since December, 2007.

“There will be no increase to the waiting time for the first five minutes — this will remain free. However, each subsequent period of three minutes or part therefore will increase from $1.30 to $1.60.

The first one-fifth of a mile will increase from $4.15 to $5.15 and from .45 cents to .55 cents for each subsequent one-fifth of a mile or part thereof.

“Sightseeing tours will increase from $40.00 to $50.00 for one to four passengers and $55.50 to $70.00 for five to seven passengers.”

The Minister said that the lifting of a ban on displaying advertising material inside cabs would be beneficial to both drivers and passengers.

“Currently taxis are prohibited from displaying advertising matter in or on any taxi,” Mr Crockwell said.

“We will make amendments to permit advertising matter inside of the vehicle only. The medium for the advertising will be subject to the approval of the Public Service Vehicles Licensing Board. This will be a revenue generator for taxi owners as well as provide information to passengers.”

And cab owners will now be able to purchase annual licences for their vehicles in October — the end of the peak season — rather than February. Drivers had previously complained that they were having to pay for the high-cost item towards the end of the off season, when they were struggling financially.

“This will change to October 1 to coincide with the end of the peak tourism season,” Mr Crockwell said.

“Therefore, in 2015 taxis will be licensed from February 1 to September 30, and subsequently from October 1 annually thereafter.

Mr Crockwell did not reveal details of previously announced plans to make global positioning devices in cabs optional, rather than mandatory, saying that an update on the issue will be provided “within the next months”.

Photo by Akil Simmons

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Published March 22, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 22, 2014 at 8:41 am)

Cab fares set to increase by 25 percent

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