Taxi cab drivers vent concerns to Transport Minister

Wells: Give us a chance

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Scores of disgruntled taxi drivers encircled Transport Minister Renward Wells outside of the Cabinet Office on Tuesday, expressing their concerns about a number of ‘unfair practices,’ which they claim are putting a dent in their operations.

The Bahamas Taxi Cab Union has repeatedly voiced several concerns in recent months on a number of matters, mainly the unlawful use of taxi plates and an infringement on their business by rental car owners.

The union’s president has also claimed that taxi drivers are allegedly being victimized when seeking to license their cabs at the Road Traffic Department (RTD).

Fed-up that their concerns continue to fall on deaf ears, taxi drivers in the capital led a protest once again, hoping to get the attention of the transport minister.

But yesterday, Minister Wells said his government should not be blamed for the many challenges that cab drivers in the capital are facing.

According to Wells, previous ministers have allowed certain practices to ensue, but yesterday, he pleaded to cab drivers not to ‘jump to conclusions’ and give the current administration a chance to appropriately address outstanding matters.

“For you to say that we are not answering or that we are not giving answers, that is not representative of what’s taking place,” Wells said.

“All I’m saying to you now is to give us an opportunity to bring further solutions to this industry, because I don’t want to do anything that’s going to be a stop gap measure and then we have to be back here again in 10 months trying to figure out what we’re going to do.”

Wells also noted that he has responded to the plight of taxi drivers, but has faced a ‘tricky situation’ when it comes to ceasing certain practices as the livelihood of other Bahamians are also at risk.

“You all came to me with an issue, we met on that issue, which is [the issue of] the former administration giving you the same color plate as the SDs [rental vehicles].

“You all came to this minister and said that needs to be resolved, we want a difference and we are now going to give you that difference.

“So, we are responding to the union.”

Wells promised the union that he will begin dealing with their matters in July of this year.

Meanwhile, President of the Bahamas Taxi Cab Union, Wesley Ferguson, said yesterday that he has also liaised with Wells to address the alleged victimization of taxi drivers at the Road Traffic Department.

“The minister called yesterday and asked us for some leeway to give him an opportunity to deal with some of the pressing issues like down at the Road Traffic Department where taxi drivers are being bombarded with little nitpickings as they are trying to get their cars ready for the end of the month,” Ferguson said.

He noted, however, that the union is still dissatisfied with the efforts of the government to address their concerns.

“We have nothing in hand. We still have some more promises. Satisfaction is when you see something being done, when you have something tangible.”