NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Chaos erupted at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) on Friday morning, after hundreds of taxi drivers refused to show up for work, a move which forced tourism officials to find alternative means to get visitors to their local destinations.
The taxi drivers’ sit-out on Friday came on the heels of months of complaints against tour companies and private limousine drivers who taxi cab drivers claim are taking a lion’s share of their daily income.
“If these people don’t take taxi drivers seriously we will just withdraw our services completely and let them figure it out. If the taxi drivers and the taxi union is so irrelevant, then let them figure out how these people are going to move,” said Wesley Ferguson, President of The Bahamas Taxi Cab Union.
Ferguson told Eyewitness News Online that Friday’s sit-out is just the first in a series of demonstrations.
“We have about 200 taxi drivers participating in this. Eventually, we will up the antics to all major taxi stands here in Nassau,” Ferguson warned.
Ferguson said taxi drivers are fed-up with not having their voices heard.
“The law states that these private vehicles must operate from a place of business or by pre-arrangement, however, they have created a fiasco and it’s a volatile situation and it’s just chaotic,” Ferguson bemoaned.
“If you come out here during the evening hours when its busy and the Road Traffic officers have disappeared, you have SUV’s and town cars and taxi drivers getting into it because they are all trying to vie for the same job.”
But limousine drivers tell a different story.
While Ferguson has suggested that it is illegal for the private transport operators to go head-to-head with taxi drivers for business, Nancy Majis, a limousine driver for the past years told Eyewitness News Online that his assertions are incorrect.
“They don’t want us to operate on the door [at the airport], but the government has already given us permission to do so. So, what is the problem,” Majes asked.
“All of us have to live, all of us are Bahamians. You get a little and I get a little.”
While there are conflicting views on the matter, Ferguson confirmed that taxi drivers will continue to sit-out until the government takes them seriously.