Incentives Give Cabbies Hope

KATHRIN KRISHNA, JOSAIA RALAGO and PENI DRAUNA Suva, Labasa Taxi driver Sushil Chand has been driving for someone else the last 20 years and now following the lifting of taxi
09 Jul 2017 09:02


Suva, Labasa

Taxi driver Sushil Chand has been driving for someone else the last 20 years and now following the lifting of taxi permits he could finally be his own boss.

“I’ve been waiting for long for a taxi permit and now it would soon be over,” Mr Chand said.

This follows the National Budget announcement last week stating that the taxi freeze will be lifted in January next year and a five per cent interest rate on loans will be introduced.

“I am happy and confident now that the Government is also thinking about us drivers who have spent almost our entire lives driving for someone else,” he said.

He added that his financial burdens will lessen if he was granted a permit, resulting in a better living standard for himself and his family.

“I have been struggling for 20 years already. Now I intend to own my own taxi and I am eagerly waiting for the response about my taxi permit.”

He also said: “Once I receive the permit, I can also apply for a loan and buy a vehicle. I will also be charged a five per cent interest rate which is awesome.

“Also, now taxi owners can get permit straight for ten years, which is good for our operations,” he said.

Mohammed Feroz, a taxi owner in Nabua said: “I have owned one taxi for seven years now. Finally an announcement has been made that we can benefit from.

“I thank the Government for the low interest rates charged on loans and renewal of taxi permits on a ten year period basis.”

Ashwin Prasad who has been driving taxi for eleven years now said: “The initiatives in regard to taxi permit renewal for ten years and mortgaging taxi permits to get a loan on a lower interest is a big thing for us taxi operators.

“This will in the long run benefit our income and will fix the standard of services we provide.”

Jitendra Kumar, who has owned a taxi for seven years now said: “I could only afford one taxi before. Now I can benefit from the five per cent interest rate and add another taxi to my business.

“This will uplift my standard of living as well.”

“I don’t have to do my medical, police clearance and other formalities which I had to do every three years,” he said.

“Now, I can save up cash, and invest in something worthwhile.”


In the North

Meanwhile taxi operators in the North are yet to get over the incentives eight days after the announcement was made.

Savusavu taxi operator, Mikaele Soko, who has been in the business for over four decades said this was one of the best provisions made by the Government for taxi owners so far.

“This is great. We have not had any of this kind of incentive and this would no doubt help us greatly,” Mr Soko said.

“This is greatly welcomed. I would like to thank Government for this and for considering us,” taxi driver, Arunesh Kumar said

“We just have one request if Government could closely monitor the illegal operators,” he said

Meanwhile, taxi drivers in Labasa thought otherwise saying that the lifting of the permits of those who had applied during the freeze period would be disastrous.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola



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