Minister of Transport Robert Montague has announced a number of proposals to improve safety and accountability in the public transportation system, adding that stakeholders will be consulted before a final position is taken on any of the 16 proposals he has made.
One of those recommendations would prevent certain convicts from operating taxis.
“No driver will get a [taxi] badge if he or she is a rapist, child molester, gunman, thief, or if they are convicted,” the recently appointed minister proposed.
He added that all operators of public passenger vehicles would be required to have badges, which would be suspended if more than 10 driver points are accumulated.
“If he or she accumulates more than the amount of points, their badge will be suspended. We are going to be synchronizing our system with that of the Island Traffic Authority. After proof of payment for their fines, the suspended badge will be restored. Driving without a current badge, the driver and the owner of the vehicle will be penalized.”
The minister, during his sectoral presentation in parliament today (May 30), also proposed that drivers undergo annual customer service training, which would be administered in partnership with taxi associations.
He would like the Transport Authority to develop a free taxi locator and safety app (application) for smartphones. “Drivers and owners must update our database within two weeks of a change of address, change of colour of vehicle or any relevant changes. Our database must be current and the drivers and owners in the industry have a responsibility to update the database if they make changes.”
Montague, in the meantime, said, if his proposals are accepted, people caught operating illegal taxis a second time would not get back their vehicles.
“Anyone caught running and operating an illegal taxi; these vehicles will be seized. It will be returned when proof is brought that you have applied for a road licence [to operate taxis]. If it is seized again, it will not be returned because it will be easy to get licence,” Montague reasoned.
He further proposed that each taxi be fitted with a stipulated vehicle locator that must be on at all times.