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Taxi owners get tough on lapsing drivers

Awaiting service: the Bermuda Taxi Owners Association is working with the Minister of Transport on solutions for problems in the industry including night-time availability (File photograph)

The owners of taxis that are off the road should lose their permits if they fail to renew them in six months, said the Bermuda Taxi Owners Association.

David Frost, the BTOA president, said: “We believe that owners who do not renew their licences within six months should have them revoked completely — no exceptions.

“We can’t allow a few to damage the industry. There is a demand for taxi licences.”

The get-tough proposal on licences was among several suggestions made by the taxi industry at a meeting with Zane DeSilva, the transport minister.

The association predicted the number of taxis on the roads would increase from 565 to 600 if non-operational drivers had their licences taken away.

Other proposals at last week’s meeting included the creation of a transport committee, credit card readers in all taxis and third-party insurance for second drivers.

The association said it also wanted to enforce rules to ensure cabs were on the road for a minimum number of hours a day.

It added that drivers who only do corporate work for international business clients should exchange their taxi permits for corporate transportation licences.

Mr Frost added: “We talked about dress code, driver behaviour, drivers refusing jobs. The minister is prepared to ensure that someone’s pockets will hurt if they don’t do it.

“I have faith in Mr DeSilva in that he is the first minister that has sat down and listened. He doesn’t talk like a politician, he talks like he wants to get something done.

“Taxis are public-service vehicles which means that you are working to serve the public. If you can’t do the job, you need to find something else.”