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Taxi owners to boost night-time coverage

An attempt to boost the number of cabs on the roads at night is under way.

The Bermuda Taxi Owners Association said it had met representatives from the Corporation of Hamilton and the police in an attempt to improve the late-night service.

However, the BTOA added that night fare rates should start at 10pm instead of midnight to encourage drivers to stay out later and that part-time drivers should be able to get their own insurance policies so cab owners would be more willing to use them to operate their vehicles over longer periods. David Frost, the president of the Bermuda Taxi Owners Association, explained: “The association's position is that taxis can be made more available at night when rate three is moved back to 10pm and if the part-time drivers carried their own insurance policy.

“A part-time driver, with an accident, can ruin an owner's taxi insurance policy. This is the fundamental reason why owners are hesitant to lease out their vehicles.

“Fortunately, there is now a huge interest in second-hand taxis and a part-time driver can afford the yearly premiums for a second-hand vehicle.

“Insurance for the driver — the owner still retains his own taxi policy — is a possible solution to get taxis on the road for longer hours.”

Mr Frost added: “The average taxi operator spends 14 hours on the road.

“Therefore, the goal is not to force taxi operators to spend more hours on the road, but to have their taxis available for more hours.

“We have had meetings with one of the major insurance carriers to help design an affordable policy for the part-time driver.”

Taxis are supposed to operate 16 hours a day, but the Transport Control Department no longer carries out checks on the time cabs spend on the road.

Mr Frost said the availability of taxis at night was just one of a string of problems that the BTOA had worked on in the last few weeks.

The problem was highlighted after the introduction of roadside breath test checkpoints last September, when residents complained of a shortage of cabs at night - which would encourage people to avoid the temptation to drink and drive.

He added, driver security, taxi-fare payment methods, the need for a central dispatch company, and improvements to the service from Dockyard had also been discussed.

Mr Frost said the BTOA planned to hold more meetings around the island and include representatives from the bar and restaurant trade, as well as taxi dispatch companies.

The association will also meet the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce to discuss the availability of taxis for the summer Harbour Nights in Hamilton.

There are six subcommittees in the BTOA to cover Dockyard, Hamilton, St George's, the airport and hotels, as well as IT and taxi development.

The IT and taxi development sub-committee, which has responsibility for dispatch companies, app development, alternative payment and legal affairs, has launched a campaign with the Bank of Butterfield to allow more fares to be paid with credit cards.

The Dockyard sub-committee has met the Department of Parks to tackle parking and security problems at Southampton's Horseshoe Bay.

Mr Frost added: “Without Transport Control Department enforcement of the Motor Taxi Regulations Act, all of BTOA's progresses is pointless.”

Renewed effort: the Bermuda Taxi Owners Association is in talks to improve night service (File photograph)

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Published April 12, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated April 12, 2019 at 8:45 am)

Taxi owners to boost night-time coverage

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