Route Two Maxi-Taxi Association PRESIDENT Linus Phillip said yesterday he was also pleased public transport would return to 100 per cent capacity from Monday, but warned it would not be as quick’ than flipping a switch.
Asked about a drop in fares, he said the fares were not tied to capacity restrictions, but to an increase in their cost of recurring vehicle maintenance expenses.
L’Express yesterday interviewed several maxi-taxi, taxi and private drivers about the change in government policy. Until yesterday, the ratio was one passenger to one vehicle window.
For example, a taxi that now has three seats and the driver will revert to four, with three passengers in the back and one in the front. In the maxi-taxis, until yesterday, it was one passenger per window; but from Monday, the rear seats can now be fully occupied, as well as the two-seater benches on the right side of the maxi.
Most drivers are happy. Joseph Richardson Jnr, who was preparing his seven-seater mini-bus for a trip from Port of Spain to Chaguanas, said: “I’m relieved as one of my buses was taken over because I couldn’t pay. It was hell. I hope things go well from Monday and, well, I’m very happy about that. So happy, I can sing ‘Kumbaya’,” he said.
Steve Bain, another pilot, said: “We feel good. My back is strong. We’re coming back at full capacity so we’ll be making money again because with the restricted capacity it was a real pressure with everything going up. We had to take it all one day at a time and, well, the wear and tear on our vehicles was a big issue, so we appreciate that decision,” he said.
At City Gate, the maxi-taxi drivers were equally thrilled. Nicholas Samaroo said: “It’s good, good. We will be able to pay our bills now, because they never stopped coming.