Route 2 maxi taxi drivers want policy to transfer PBR passes to relatives

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo by Roger Jacob

ROUTE Two maxi taxi drivers drove in front of the Ministry of Works and Transport’s Port of Spain office on February 26, calling on the ministry to create a policy for drivers to transfer bus route passes to their next of kin.

The drivers honked their horns in unison, with one driver even lying in the middle of the road on the morning of February 26.

Former vice president of the Route Two Maxi Taxi Drivers Association and current financial member Brenton Knights told Newsday while it is possible to transfer bus route passes to their next of kin, the absence of a policy makes it challenging. He said this is often necessary when a maxi taxi driver becomes ill or dies.

“We are not calling (what we did on February 26) a protest. We just seeking to get we business sort out.

“No policy is having maxis parked up for six months, two years, three years, four years, because there’s no criteria or policy in place by the ministry.”

Compared to liquor licenses, which can be transferred to another person by law, he said he does not understand “what is the ministry’s problem with maxi drivers.

“Why they doing maxi that?”

Section 31:1 of the Liquor Licences Act says upon the death of a person, licences can be transferred “by endorsement by the licensing committee to the licensed person’s personal representative, or to the person beneficially entitled to the business, or to the administrator general or public trustee, or the appointee of the administrator general or public trustee.”

During the height of the covid19 pandemic, the Transport Ministry gave drivers the option to change the name on or add a second driver’s name to bus route passes.

It is unclear if this policy still exists. Newsday tried calling the ministry and Minister of Works and Transport several times but no one answered.

Knights said the association’s most recent plea to the ministry on this matter was in January.

“Everything where maxi is concerned is a ‘maybe’ and ‘We think’ and ‘Hopefully.’ It can’t be so for 30-something years. We have had enough of this set of talk shop.”

He said security officers came out of the building to observe them, as well as police.

Asked if the protests will continue, Knights said, “It’s going to be a long, drawn-out summer where this is concerned. This is just the first instalment of many.”

After 7 pm on February 26, the ministry responded via a press release saying it was aware of the demonstration done by the drivers.

“To this end, it must be highlighted that the matter identified via the media as the causal factor for the protest is actively engaging the attention of the ministry at this time with the aim to ensure transparency, accountability and equity to all stakeholders.”

It added that the ministry is open to continued dialogue on this “as we work to determine an amicable solution.”