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Taxi grouse

Mike King

Taxi grouse

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THE?TIME?has come to deal with unscrupulous taxi drivers who ‘snatch’ passengers and charge tourists exhorbitant prices, says two hoteliers.
They contend that presently?there seems to be no strategy to deter snatching – taxi-men collecting passengers outside of their jurisdiction – but there is a way to combat rampant overcharging of tourists in particular.
General manager of Accra Beach Hotel, Jon Martineau, is calling for metering of taxis to stamp out overpricing by taxi operators.
“This is a national problem that has affected the tourist industry for many years. What is unfortunate
is that these guys who are snatchers are well known. They are not unknown to the authorities, but there seems to be no will to do anything about it and it will continue,” he said.
Martineau said that while the tourist industry struggled to prevent unauthorised taxi-men from venturing on the compound of the Grantley Adams International Airport and ply their trade, metering as is the norm in the United States and most European countries, would combat the exorbitant pricing visitors and some locals are complaining about.
“Puerto Rico has a pretty good system where you go to a booth, you tell them where you are going and they give you a slip and they tell you what the rate is,” Martineau said.
“If we meter our taxis, it will stop all of this. When you meter a taxi, the meter is on when the ride starts and when you get out, you know exactly what is being charged. So we need to move to metering. That is going to solve the problem.”
Martineau told the SATURDAY?SUN, the time has long come for the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), to act on the matter.
General manager of Peach &?Quiet Hotel in Inch Marlow, Adrian Loveridge, agreed that overpricing, was a major issue.
“We have reports of taxi-men charging as much as US$35 to bring visitors from the airport to my hotel in Inch Marlow. That should be no more than US$15.
Loveridge added that he was also concerned about taxi-men, who get a ‘kick-back’ to convince visitors to go to a hotel other than the one they had planned to stay at.
“This practice has not been a worry for me because most of guests are repeat visitors and know where they ought to go but there have been instances where taxi-men have tried to influence where the guests stay even if they have already booked,” he said.