Raphael: Promises not kept for taxi operators
All aspects of the public transportation system in Barbados must be modernised and fully functional if the nation is serious about wanting to become a modern society.
That was the assessment from chairman of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Roy Raphael during an interview with Nation News recently.
Raphael believes that taxi drivers need their own facility to operate out of, instead of being dispersed around the city of Bridgetown in the hope of finding a lucrative spot to pick up commuters.
“When you look at Bridgetown itself there are over a hundred taxis. One of the issues confronting them is the fact that a lot of them don’t have adequate facilities they can use. If we are looking at modernising Barbados then we (public transport) have to be modernised.”
Raphael, who has been chairman since November 2010, added that the Government had failed to deliver on promises made which has left taxi operators in a quandary.
“We have tried on many occasions to have a meeting with the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. (BTII), the Ministry of Transport and Works and the Transport Authority to discuss the plight of taxi drivers. We were promised a space over by the now Granville Williams Bus Terminal (formerly the Fairchild Street Bus Terminal but it didn’t materialise.
“A lot of our operators go opposite Jordan’s Supermarket but they are reported by the police because they are thought to be attempting to break the law and causing congestion.”
There is also concern among taxi drivers that they will miss out on earning opportunities from the various lucrative upcoming events such as the Independence Day parade in November and the Christmas rush as tourists and returning nationals land in Barbados. This is due to the fact that they are not currently allowed to park near events when they are happening.
Raphael has warned that if the Ministry of Transport fails to meet with the AOPT to discuss where taxi drivers can operate from this year, it will result in the association considering legal action. (JC)