Saturday 14 December, 2019

Drivers hint at possible fare increases

Maxi taxi and taxi drivers are warning of fare increases, should another fuel increase be announced in today’s budget.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert will read the 2018 Budget in Parliament at 1.30 pm.

Adrian Acosta, President of the T&T Taxi Drivers Network President said taxi drivers would consider raising their fares as an increase in fuel prices would mean additional maintenance costs and increased costs of living.

Acosta, who is also President of the Chaguanas to San Fernando Taxi Drivers Association said a fare increase would be justified, as taxi drivers did not raise their fares with the last fuel increase in the 2017 budgets.

“It is a bit difficult on us as taxi drivers, because we already have a high cost maintenance for our taxis. There were two fuel increases over the last two budgets. We raised our fares in the first one and the second one we didn’t do anything.

“If it is that the Minister and the Government do decide to raise the fuel prices more by removing further subsidies, we will have no choice but to raise our fares in order to meet the demands of our vehicles and our families.”

Acosta said the last fuel increase cost taxi drivers an additional $600 per month to put gas in their vehicles.

“I don’t see us trying to hold back anything once the gas (price) is raised,” he said.

Meanwhile, President of the Route 3 Maxi Taxi Drivers’ Association Julien St George said while maxi taxi operators have in the past taken a stance that they will shoulder the additional operational costs associated with diesel price increases, there may be cause to raise fares with any additional fuel increase.

He noted that when taxi drivers on the San Fernando to Port-of-Spain route raised their fares from $15 to $17, Route 3 maxi operators took a decision not to follow suit.

With the recent relocation of the maxi taxi stand in San Fernando, however, St George said if they lose passengers, they may have no choice but to raise fares.  

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