Policemen check on PH taxi drivers at Queen’s Street, Port of Spain. (FILE PHOTO) –
President of the Route ThreeGreen Band Maxi Taxi association Vikash Kissoondath is calling on the authorities to introduce more measures to reduce competition between “private hire” (PH) taxis and legitimate maxi-taxi associations.
Route three maxis work between San Fernando and Chaguanas, Chaguanas and Curepe, Arima and Talparo, San Fernando and Port of Spain, and Chaguanas to Port of Spain.
Speaking with Newsday on Tuesday, Kissoondath said he understood the need for PH taxis in rural communities and inaccessible areas in need of public transport, but felt certain routes should remain off-limits.
Noting the restrictions that legitimate maxi taxis face in entering certain areas to pick up passengers, Kissoondath said PH taxis were able to work for hire anywhere without having to comply with legal requirements.
“We have certain criteria, as being hire vehicles, that us taxis and maxis need to comply with on a yearly basis, sometimes as frequent as every six months. And yet these people come out with their P cars and work as normal and reap the same benefits without having to go through the entire process (like) us.
“One of the challenges is the PH cars have access to the main city itself, whereas we are restricted from entering to ply for hire.”
Kissoondath also suggested the enforcement of certain measures for PH cars would allow the police to regulate adherence to the public health guidelines in private vehicles.
“If you are in public transport you need to wear a mask, so that’s an easy way to identify who is a PH driver, because the police right now are having problems identifying who is a PH car.
“Strangers who are in a PH car will be wearing a mask in that private vehicle.”
Kissoondath said he hoped officials from the Ministry of Works and Transport would be able to meet and address some of the concerns soon.