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Forum for Taxi Transportation Sub-Sector Gets Underway

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Contact: Dana Augustin

Wednesday, July 31, 2002 – Individuals and organisations engaged in the supply of transportation services for the tourism sector, met for one day to review a wide range of issues affecting their operations. These included licensing and registration; the role of the police; vehicle insurance and the inspection process and the taxi drivers training and certification programmes The forum aimed at enhancing the Taxi Transportation Sub sector was held on Wednesday July 31, 2002.

Minister responsible for Tourism the Honourable Philip J. Pierre stressed the government’s commitment to the taxi-transportation sub-sector, noting that from 1997 registered and certified taxi-drivers have been given incentives to the tune of $ EC 2 million dollars, particularly in purchase vehicles duty-free.

Minister Pierre further explained that Government’s unwavering support is an effort to prepare the sector to meet global standards, thereby making St. Lucia a destination marked by quality customer care and service. The tourism minister called on the taxi drivers to cooperate with the government in its efforts to provide sustainable regulatory and control measures for the industry, to get the sector “more compliant with the times.”

In addition, he pointed out some of the major challenges confronting the sub-sector, which needed serious attention. “We have to look at the monopoly situation in certain parts of the sector; the critical mass of taxi-drivers, the current changes in the market. We have challenges from the catamarans, the helicopters and people who offer airline services. That is the reality,” he noted.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism McHale Andrew said that the taxi-sub-sector is “encumbered” by the absence of legislation and comprehensive policy to establish minimum standards of operation. This current situation and the failure of a prior pilot programme which linked the certification programme with the incentives programme have compelled the ministry to look at restructuring the taxi sub-sector by consulting with the various taxi associations and other key agencies.


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