FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9: In June of this year the Taxi Commission was charged to review all aspects of GPS installation and usage including technological challenges with the objective to take progressive steps to modernize the Taxi Industry.

The Taxi Commission, Chaired by Mr. Cromwell Shakir has members representing Taxi owners, operators and dispatching companies. 
 
Over the course of the preceding months the Taxi Commission has been meeting regularly and has recently submitted a report to the Ministry of Transport. The report has provided the following conclusion and recommendations.  
 
Two of the three taxi dispatching companies, have agreed that GPS, Digital Dispatching is the most effective method to modernize the industry and it provides the greatest opportunity to utilize the associated benefits of the improved technology. The other dispatching company representative has mixed feelings about the use of GPS but agrees that there needs to be a move forward for the betterment of the industry.

The dispatching companies have further agreed to have ongoing dialogue to assess the feasibility of unifying on equitable terms with the aim of having a central dispatch. In this regard the Commission has requested the assistance of the Ministry to complete the “Unification Feasibility Assessment” expeditiously.
 
With the November 1, 2012 commencement of the Taxi re-licensing period, the issue of GPS compliance and enforcement remains topical. 

Taxis will be examined for re-licensing according to the established criteria that specifies the required equipment that must be installed and operational in the vehicle. The Examiners will note and document which vehicles are fitted with the specified equipment and fully compliant.

The Commission has determined that punitive measures against Taxi owners and operators, who are not GPS compliant, would be ill-served at this particular stage of the modernization process.  

Therefore the immediate focus, priority and objective of the Commission is the unification of the dispatching companies and early implementation of a suite of incentives that will offer substantial savings to lower operating cost for owners and operators and also provide additional sources of  revenue. Work has already begun on the following initiatives that will only be available and offered to owners and operators of vehicles that are fitted with the specified equipment and fully compliant with the law"

  • The introduction of a fuel surcharge
  • Electronic marketing in vehicles
  • Group vehicle and health insurance rates
  • Aadditional discounts for vehicle parts
The Taxi Commission is also giving consideration to increasing the metered rate per mile and a decision will be made following a thorough review of the rate schedule and consultation with the Transport Control Department.

The Taxi Commission will very soon become a statutory body reflective of the diversity of the industry speaking with one voice on how to improve their industry and to modernize their operations.

Their remit will also extend to their partnering with relevant stakeholders in the tourism industry to ensure the Taxi industry performs its vital role in the public transportation component of the National Tourism Master Plan.
 
Customer service is vitally important and with quick efficient service being the goal, central digital dispatching is the future of the industry.
 
Through the series of meetings and consultation with industry stakeholders, the Taxi Commission is cognizant of the concerns and opinions on the enforcement of GPS installation and usage.

There is a view that would suggest with the unification of the dispatching companies to provide a central digital dispatch the GPS usage issue becomes self resolving. The benefits of GPS usage will by far outweigh the resistive approach of adhering to an antiquated method of dispatching.

Therefore, the Taxi Commission strongly urges all owners and operators who are not fully compliant to take the necessary steps to become fully compliant and reap the benefits of modernization.

The opportunity to revitalize the industry and achieve the return on investments is now and the Commission is focused and committed to build on the work and progress they have made thus far with great optimism.