NATION

Pirates Grab ‘70pc’ Of Taxi Income

Taxi drivers are losing more than 70 per cent of their  daily income because of the increasing number of illegal transport operators. It is estimated there are about 300 illegal
08 Oct 2018 14:37
Pirates Grab ‘70pc’ Of  Taxi Income
Members of the Fiji Taxi Association at an earlier meeting. The association’s Labasa branch president claims illegal operators are grabbing 70 per cent of their business.

Taxi drivers are losing more than 70 per cent of their  daily income because of the increasing number of illegal transport operators.

It is estimated there are about 300 illegal taxis known as “pirates” in Labasa.

Fiji Taxi Association Labasa branch president Mahendra Prasad said the association raised concerns with the Ministry of Transport on illegal operations and defensive driving.

He said this was daylight robbery because pirate taxis took a big chunk of their business. They have called for immediate action from the authorities.

“There is an increase in illegal taxis for the past five years,” Mr Prasad said.

“ This affects our business a lot. We are not able to reach our target at times. It is a concern for us taxi drivers because they seem to be replacing us.

“It’s wrong that taxi drivers do not provide services during the night time. We do provide service during the night time, but people prefer travelling in illegal taxis.

“It’s not the fault of the taxi drivers because we charge passengers on the taxi meter and sometimes they don’t want to pay the full amount.

“We cannot speed to let the passengers reach their destination quicker. We have road safety rules to follow and avoid road accidents.

“This is another reason why most of the people prefer travelling in illegal taxis.”

He said until laws were strengthened to discourage people from operating illegal transport services, the issue would continue to affect legal taxi businesses.

“Our drivers are losing more than 70 per cent of income every day and all of them are asking me the same question,” Mr Prasad said.

“Is it fair for us to be paying base fees, licence fees and to meet all the stringent Land Transport Authority requirements?.”

Police and Land Transport Authority have also indicated they would immediately step up their work to curb these illegal operations. Edited by Percy Kean

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