NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Taxi drivers yesterday expressed elation with the return of commercial carriers — marking the resumption of their earnings.
Many were left in limbo as the country closed its borders and restricted public transportation to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
More than 500 visitors were expected to travel to The Bahamas yesterday — the first wave of international travelers to visit the country since late March.
Taxi drivers lined the waiting area outside of the international terminal at Lynden Pindling International Airport.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Bahamas Taxicab Union President Wesley Ferguson said: “The taxi driver are definitely elated to be back to work today although we are proceeding with a bit of caution because as you know, America, [and its citizens] who are our main source of travelers and income still remain very sick.”
He continued: “But we are happy to know we are one of the first set of ground transportation or public transportation will be back in operation and taxi drivers are excited they can finally get to some sense of normalcy, and to start or to continue to take care of their financial obligations.
As the first few families came in from Fort Lauderdale and New Jersey, awaiting taxi cab drivers such as Beryl Rolle said it was good to see the return of visitors.
Rolle said taxi drivers have undertaken all measures to safeguard themselves and guests, and were more than prepared to serve the public and visitors again.
“We have everything prepared to keep us safe and of course our guests safe; from the hand sanitizers and ensuring we continue to wear the masks,” she said.
Asked about the effectiveness of the new measures in keeping taxicab drivers and the passengers safe, Ferguson said: “The taxi union was very diligent. Even during the pandemic — during the shutdown — we met with all of the major stakeholders and we put proper safety measures in place.
“We established new protocols and we met all of the requirements and taxi drivers are sanitizing; they all have masks.; they are all exercising social distancing and everything we need for the occasion, we have. It is going well.”
Public transportation, including buses, were allowed to resume services yesterday.
Last week, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis reiterated that establishments, taxi cab and bus owners will be held responsible for allowing individuals to enter their establishments of vehicles without masks or ensuring proper physical distancing.
A breach of these requirements could lead to a fine or possible imprisonment.