(Charlestown, Nevis)-Wednesday, March 11, 2015 was a significant day for Taxi Drivers on the island of Nevis. At a brief ceremony chaired by Ms. Nichole Liburd of the Ministry of Tourism, Taxi drivers on Nevis who had met certain requirements, were presented with personal taxi permits and certificates.
It was a historic first and as Ag. Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Carl Williams explained, it was a culmination of over eight years of hard work, after the Ministry’s Project and Development Unit was mandated to upgrade and improve the Taxi operating standards on the island.
He used the opportunity to congratulate those Taxi drivers who had met the requirements and urged those who had not done so yet, to do so speedily.
Project and Development Officer, Mr. John Hanley gave a brief overview of the process which was undertaken by his unit.
He stated that the objectives of the project were to:
• Outline minimum standards for drivers and vehicles
• Ensure that Taxi operators operate in a more unified manner
• Improve the levels of discipline and general conduct within the Taxi operation business
• Improve the image of the Taxi business and the island product as a whole
• Enhance customer appreciation and visitor experience
• Provide an avenue where issues and complaints can be appropriately addressed.
He further pointed out that the new taxi permits must be worn at all times while Taxi drivers are engaged in their trade and the certificates must be conspicuously placed within their vehicles.
A breach of such requirements could attract a fine of up to $10,000.00 and other penalties.
Only vehicles with a ‘T’ or ‘TA’ plate will be allowed to operate as Taxis and drivers with more than one vehicle will be required to form a company.
President of the Queen City Taxi Association, Mr. Curtis Morton Sr, in accepting his permit, noted that the Ministry was holding the Taxi Drivers to high standards but indicated that the members of his Association, always strived to uphold high standards.
Treasurer of the same Association, Mrs. Thelma Claxton noted that the permits were long in coming and promised that the Taxi drivers will continue to promote Nevis in a professional manner.
Based on the new regulations, persons who do not have such permits and certificates will not be allowed to operate as Taxi drivers on the island.