Two drivers who used to work for Radio Cabs have purchased the business “to keep alive Bermuda’s taxi trade.”
Hewvonnie Brown and Tafari Outerbridge have come to the rescue of one of the island’s biggest taxi firms after government took away its licence.
The new owners have agreed to “comply with all regulations” including installing the controversial GPS dispatching system.
The young entrepreneurs say they will keep the GPS equipment in working order, keep it turned on and use the system to send jobs to the taxi fleet.
They have about 130 to 140 vehicles on the road and are operating under the new name Island Taxi Services.
Mr. Brown said: “We thought it was important to step in and do this for the people and visitors of Bermuda.
“We came together as we wanted to keep alive Bermuda’s taxi trade. This business had a lot of history behind it and we didn’t want to see all that destroyed.
“As loyal taxi owners we see it as a great business opportunity and at the same time we can continue to provide an efficient and quality transport to residents and visitors.”
Radio Cabs lost its operating licence to run as a taxi dispatcher at the beginning of May this year. It came after years of disputes between the cab company and Government over the use of GPS.
The Public Service Vehicle Licensing Board, the body responsible for regulating the taxi industry in Bermuda, said the company had “failed to adhere to the requirements of a taxi dispatch company as set out in the Motor Car Act 1951 and the associated regulations.”
Mr. Brown and Mr. Outerbridge officially took over at the helm of the company earlier this month and insist they are “a collective partnership.”
They both formerly worked for Radio Cabs and have been picking up fares for about five years. Both men are also well known faces in Bermuda’s football community.
Mr. Brown said: “When we agreed to purchase Radio Cabs we had to comply with all the regulations imposed by Government and TCD.
“We didn’t have a problem doing that, we knew we had to do as we were told to be granted a permit to operate.
“When it comes to GPS a lot of drivers are set in their ways. I wouldn’t say they have been reluctant, but they do prefer to use radio dispatching.
“They do find GPS hard and uncomfortable to use. But it’s trial and error and we have to get used to it.
“Our hands our bound and the drivers understand that.”
Mr. Brown refused to talk about the financial side of the buy-out but did praise former CEO Eddie Darrell for being “very cooperative over the transition.”
Island Taxi Services will operate out of the same base as Radio Cabs, in Cavendish Road. The new owners have kept on 75 per cent of telephone staff, with a total of 10 staff working three shifts around the clock 24/7.
Many of the former Radio Cabs drivers have moved over to the new company and some new drivers have also signed up.
Mr. Brown said: “We’re ecstatic that this has happened. Radio Cabs was a brand name for many decades, now we’re in a position to be able to take it forward.
“We have a company with historical value. The name has changed but the number has stayed the same.
“It’s going well and we hope things really pick up. We want people to use the service we are providing.”
Contact Island Taxi Services on 295-4141.