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Government Senator, Dennis Meadows is proposing that the administration declare a period of amnesty, so as to allow the estimated 23,000 illegal route taxi operators to legalise and regularise their operations.
This is one of several recommendations put forward by the Senator, as he opened the debate on a motion brought to the Upper House today (Feb. 1) on the need to formulate and implement a new policy, aimed at rationalising illegal route taxi operators.
Mr. Meadows also noted that there was a need for a faster method of issuing and renewing road licences, especially for operators whose vehicles are properly insured and are in good working condition. “A person desirous of obtaining a road licence has to go to the authority’s office and pay the requisite fee and is then given a receipt. That applicant may have to wait in excess of three months before he obtains a licence,” he pointed out.
The Senator said although that person has the receipt, which is proof of payment for a licence, he or she is unable to operate a taxi to earn an income. “There is an urgent need for review of such a policy, and to make that receipt a provisional road licence, until the bona fide licence is received. This will go a long way in facilitating the regularisation of illegal operators,” he added.
Other recommendations made by the Senator include the implementation of an incentive system for route taxi operators, aimed at engendering a good work ethic, safety and professionalism in the delivery of service; outlawing the tinting of public passenger vehicles, so as to improve security; and implementing a system to track the driving record of taxi drivers, thereby enabling the revocation of the licence of any operator who has a poor driving record.
“I have no doubt that the government recognises the critical service that those taxis are providing and what we want to do is to make everybody legal. The whole taxi business is not being properly managed, there needs to be a whole new approach and a whole new policy to deal with the taxis,” Senator Meadows emphasised.
In the meantime, Opposition Senator, Navel Clarke supported the motion and noted that there is a need to have regulations to improve the system, so as to avoid persons from operating illegally.
Debate on the motion will continue in the Senate.

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