The National Council of Taxi Associations (NCOTA) says it is awaiting a response from the government, regarding the request for a fare increase.
Representatives of NCOTA, and other taxi groupings, met with Transport Minister Mike Henry today (Mar 15) to discuss the issue, in the wake of the increase in the gas tax and other related motor vehicle services provided by the tax office.
Conroy Smith of NCOTA says, the minister promised to look into the plight of taxi operators, against the background of increases in goods and services.
He says, while the minister did not give a timeline for a response, he assured the taxi groups, that discussions will be held with other relevant government agencies, to include the Island Traffic Authority.
Mr. Smith says the taxi groups are also hoping for improvements in other aspects of the public transport sector.
He says the taxi groups are using other factors aside from fuel, as a basis for seeking the fare increase, such as the cost for vehicle parts.
In the meantime, Transport Minister, Mike Henry is intensifying his deliberations with stakeholders of the public transport system, in order to resolve some longstanding issues.
In a statement, Mr. Henry outlined a number of initiatives that his ministry is pursuing to improve the conditions under which private public passenger operators conduct their business.
These include approaching the minister with responsibility for roads to improve their conditions, the definition of a taxi, charges for sub-franchising, colour coding for license plates, and safety of taxi and mini-bus drivers.
Mr. Henry says, these issues along with a comprehensive analysis of the impact of the increase in the gas tax, and other related motor vehicle services, must be completed before any recommendations can be made to the Office of Utilities Regulation, to approve an increase in fares.
The Transport Minister says, he has a responsibility to balance the total cost of operations with the ability of the passenger to pay.
Mr. Henry sought to assure the taxi operators, that issues which are directly under his remit will be dealt with immediately.
He adds that he has instructed the Island Traffic Authority, to accept seven-seater vehicles that the insurers have approved for full coverage of all passengers.