Taxi drivers call for rate increase
If taxi operators get their wish, the cost of a cab ride will increase, although their bargaining agent, the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT), has refused to disclose how much more they were looking for.
Chairman Roy Raphael told Barbados TODAY it has been ten years since the last fare increase and life for taxi operators was not easy.
Therefore, he said, they would shortly be asking Government to end the decade-old tariff freeze and raise the fares.
“The Alliance will be asking for a meeting shortly with the Ministry of Finance to discuss a proposal for taxi drivers to get a fare increase,” Raphael said.
The AOPT boss explained that the rates freeze since 2006, coupled with the tough economic times, had resulted in a rough road for taxi drivers trying to make a living.
Raphael did not reveal the average daily intake by his members of if they were experiencing losses. He also declined to say how much more his organization planned to ask Government to add to the current fares, explaining that it would be inappropriate to divulge the amount before first meeting with ministry officials.
“We will discuss it first,” he replied, when pressed further.
Like bus fares, the amount that taxi drivers charge their passengers is also controlled by Government and the information is accessible to any member of the public.
For example, the official list showing the prices from the Grantley Adams International Airport to various points on the island is displayed on a board outside the arrivals hall. It can also be found on the airport’s website.
Among the lowest fares from GAIA are Bds$13 for travel to Coverley, Christ Church and Bds$19 to Providence, in the same parish.
However, passengers pay as much as Bds$73 to Bathsheba or Speightstown, or Bds$83 if they want to go to points north of Speightstown.
Raphael did not give a date for the meeting between the ministry and AOPT, or how they intended to react should their request be denied.
Meantime, prospective passengers are being warned to avoid unofficial airport taxi operators who sometimes accept only US currency, resulting in persons paying double.
Raphael said there are about 2,000 taxis on the roads of Barbados, with many of those operating in Bridgetown having to compete for parking spaces.