MONDAY, JAN. 11: Over the past few years we have been working to resolve the challenges with the taxi industry; specifically the issues with the GPS requirements.

In January 2009 we made amendments to Section 35B of the Motor Car Act:

* No person shall operate or cause or allow any other person to operate a motor taxi unless the mobile data terminal and the global positioning device that the motor taxi is required to be equipped with are in working order and are switched on.

* When a motor taxi is being operated for hire, the person who operates the motor taxi shall-

(a) use the global positioning device for the purposes of indicating the location of the motor taxi to the taxi despatching service with which the motor taxi is registered; and

(b) use the mobile data terminal for the purposes of receiving messages from, and sending messages to, that taxi despatching service with regard to the hiring of the motor taxi.

* Except in the case of emergency, no person who operates a motor taxi shall use any equipment other than the global positioning device and the mobile data terminal for the purposes of communication, with regard to the hiring of the motor taxi, between the motor taxi and the taxi despatching service with which the motor taxi is registered.";

These amendments mean it is an offense not to have the GPS device switched on and in working order when operating a vehicle.

Over the Cup Match Holiday and during the Remembrance Day holiday we expressed our extreme displeasure with the caliber of service being provided by taxi operators at the airport and the ongoing complaints of lack of available taxis and non-compliance with GPS generally. At that time we said the taxi industry was forcing Government to take corrective steps.

Effective immediately taxi operators can expect Traffic Officers will be implementing more aggressive enforcement measures. Throughout Bermuda where taxis are plying for business, the Traffic Officers will be checking and verifying that taxi operators are compliant and in instances where operators are found not to be compliant the appropriate action will be taken.

In addition, Traffic Officers at Bermuda's ports of entry who are charged with assigning taxis to passengers will not allow taxis to take passengers in instances where GPS is not switched on and in working order.

It is our goal to ensure that residents and visitors receive the best service for their transportation needs; we feel these amendments and the subsequent enforcement measures move us closer to this goal and the overall goal of general compliance with the laws of Bermuda.