Taxi Drivers - they have to earn sympathy [VA/Beachlime Simulpost]

Bermuda's taxi drivers have been in the spotlight in recent times. A mandatory law for cabbies to install GPS systems in their vehicles met with stern opposition, meanwhile drivers have lobbied to be allowed to raise their rates.

Hearing taxi drivers in conversation, you can tell that they are feeling like Government has imposed insane restrictions on them while not allowing them to earn a decent living. One may be able to understand their frustration. Taxis are expensive - I can only imagine how much they have to pay for these large minivans that they now bring into the island to use, and as of now they don't seem to get much in the way of tax breaks and they don't receive any breaks for gasoline, etc.

However, while there are many hard-working drivers out there, it's really hard to have much sympathy for taxi drivers as a whole. Experiences that I've witnessed or heard about:

Drivers refusing to take you certain places because it's "out of their way"
Drivers telling you that they're already booked, then you see them pick up a set of visitors who clearly just hailed them
Arranging taxis can be an adventure, sometimes the dispatched taxi detours somewhere else and you're waiting in vain
Virtually impossible to hail a passing taxi even if their "available" light is on
Drivers acting as if they have the right-of-way, at *all times*
Hard to find waiting taxis in places you'd expect them to be, such as after a concert or sporting event

It's tough to own a cab. You have to deal with potential crooks trying to mug you, drunk people vomiting over your seats and carpet and the high costs of maintenance; but when you make the choice to run a taxi you have to be prepared somewhat to deal with the risk when undertaking a venture. If you feel entitled, then people are simply going to not use your service, instead calling friends, or using the increasing minibus services, when available. Perhaps taxi drivers as an entire organisation should offer up a Passenger's Bill of Rights and then work hard to gain public trust and support. Bermudians will tell you, that if the service is of quality then they'll be willing to pay the extra.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

...and lets not forget the cabbies who sit at the foot of Valley Road every night, sipping Cockspur and cola, getting pleasantly buzzed while ignoring dispatcher's pleas for drivers. Once they get half pissed, they head out to earn a few bucks.