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Urgent Review, Audit Of Taxi Operation Needed Before We Can Focus On Stamping Out Illegal Taxis

Taxi drivers only have themselves to blame with the proliferation of pirate or illegal taxi operators. The illegal operation fills a much-needed service that taxi operators cannot provide. Before cracking
18 Jan 2017 11:00
Urgent Review, Audit Of Taxi Operation Needed Before We Can Focus On Stamping Out Illegal Taxis

Taxi drivers only have themselves to blame with the proliferation of pirate or illegal taxi operators.

The illegal operation fills a much-needed service that taxi operators cannot provide.

Before cracking down on illegal taxis, the Land Transport Authority must do a review of all taxi bases.

It requires random spot checks to see if the permit holders are complying with the conditions of their permit.

One taxi base in Suva is notorious for the drivers’ perceived arrogance. They know that there is a high demand for service so they do as they please.

One person could not get a taxi even though five were parked. Four drivers could not be seen. One driver said he was having a break. People had to go to the main road to flag taxis from other bases passing by.

This is totally unacceptable. If the drivers cannot fulfil their duty of care then their permits should be withdrawn and given to operators who are willing to serve the people.

Taxi drivers must get the message that they are there to provide an essential service.

Some drivers will refuse to take short runs. Others will not go for reasons only known to them.

The only justifiable reason a driver refuses to go is when the passenger looks drunk and becomes a security risk.

Other than that, all drivers should not be allowed to pick and choose which passengers they take. They should be legally obligated to take all passengers bar those who are drunk and disorderly.

If they are caught and there is evidence, they should be warned not to do it again.

If their defiance continues, then their permit should be suspended for a certain period. If, after that, they still do not change, then the permit should be withdrawn and given to a deserving taxi operator who wants to operate from that base.

Taxis provide a vital link in the transport industry. They offer a service that gets people quickly from point A to point B. Many use taxis for emergencies, to travel to work, airports, schools and hospitals.

The distance of a journey should not be a factor in the decision of a taxi driver whether to accept or reject a job.

It must be clarified that not all taxi drivers and operators behave unsatisfactorily. The good ones are not happy with the conduct of some their colleagues because they give the industry a bad name. They will accept both short and long journeys and work hard to keep their clients happy.

They agree that more pirate taxis are coming on the scene because there is a ready market.

It’s a market created by the poor service of one segment of the industry.

Let’s make one thing clear, we do not condone illegal taxis.

Taxi drivers are not helping to resolve the situation by being selective in their choice of trips they take. They take some and drop others. Consequently, they create a vacuum which is filled by their rival illegal operators.

People aggrieved by the behaviour of taxi drivers should file their complaints to the LTA and demand action.

Unless concrete action is taken now, illegal taxies will continue to grow. And  there’s not much we can do about it.

 

NEMANI DELAIBATIKI

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 



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