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Scores of taxis not operational, transport minister says

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Line up: taxis are shown lined up on Front Street in this file photograph

Almost 15 per cent of the island’s taxis are off the road “for one reason or another”, according to Wayne Furbert, the Minister of Transport.

Mr Furbert was speaking at a press conference yesterday to provide details of his ministry’s budget allocation for the next fiscal year.

Earlier this month, Wayne Caines, the chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, called for “honest talks” on the lack of transport available to visitors, and singled out taxi operators for criticism.

Wayne Furbert, the Minister of Transport, at a press conference to discuss the 2023-24 Budget (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Mr Caines said: “There is a requirement by law for taxis to be on the road for a specific amount of hours. Now they must be held to account for that.”

Mr Furbert said that the Government had met taxi operators to find a solution to the problem.

He said: “We’re having some great discussions with them, and hopefully we can have an announcement soon.

“There are some transportation challenges. We found out that 81 taxis are off the road. We have 600 taxi permits and 81 were off the road for one reason or another.”

Mr Furbert said that many drivers worked exclusively for one client, while others had full-time jobs and drove taxis only in the evenings or at weekends

He said: “We’re working with them and hopefully we can make an announcement.” He did not elaborate.

Mr Furbert also said that the Department of Marine & Ports will increase ferry services and staffing levels to meet demand. He recently announced the return of the Pink Route.

Giving an overview of his ministry’s budget, Mr Furbert said that the ministry had been given $72.35 million this year — up marginally on last year.

He said that “a record cruise season” will bring 220 cruise ship visits this year, with Bermuda playing host to about 620,000 cruise ship passengers — 50 per cent more than last year.

He added: “With the increase in cruise passengers, TCD traffic control officers will co-ordinate and manage traffic in these high-passenger-volume locations across the island.”

A further 40 electric buses are due to arrive in the summer, bringing their number up to 70 out of a public transport fleet of 100. There will also be funding to build new charging stations for those buses.

Fast ferries will be in line for a refit and the Hamilton ferry terminal will also get an upgrade.

The Bermuda Road Safety Council will receive extra funding to drive home its message on the importance of good driving habits.

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Published February 23, 2023 at 11:21 am (Updated February 23, 2023 at 11:21 am)

Scores of taxis not operational, transport minister says

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