Taxi drivers — diesel price rise, levels playing field

Taxi drivers along High Street in San Fernando said they were relieved that the price of gasoline (both premium and super) were unchanged. Those whose vehicles use diesel, however, wore long faces.

Finance Minister Imbert announced the removal of a portion of the subsidy on diesel, resulting in a 15 percent increase in the price which is now $2.30 per litre from $1.98 per litre.

Sergio Fouchong, who operates alone the San Fernando to Curepe route, fears that taxi drivers have been placed in a ticklish position. In order to maintain their livelihood, he said, those drivers who use diesel may have to increase fares.

At the same time however, if water taxi and bus fares remain the same, more passengers will stop using taxis in favour of the cheaper alternatives as they have been doing for the past few years. “So what are these drivers supposed to do?” “And on top of that, they not licensing my vehicle for its full capacity,” said Fouchong. He drives an 11-seater Hyundai H1, but he - and many other drivers who own 11-seaters - are only licensed to transport eight passengers. Asked if this was to ensure the safety of passengers, Fouchong said, “It has nothing to do with safety. The vehicles are designed for 11 passengers.

In fact, they run better at full capacity. What they tell me is that 11 is maxi size, so I can’t get licensed for it.” Robert Allsop, a taxi driver from Siparia sounded exasperated by the news. He said that the cost to fill his diesel tank increased from $80 to $150 over the last three years and experience from that brief period of inflated prices tells him to expect further increases in the price of parts for his vehicle.

“Of course I go feel it,” he said, chuckling through it all. Allsop, anticipating price increases in all other parts of his life, said, “But what we go do? We have to manage it.” One driver who owns a gas vehicle was not just relieved to hear gas prices did not increase but was glad for the increase in diesel. While he used to pay $180 to fill his tank, diesel drivers paid significantly less, which enabled them to make more trips per day than him which he said, was not fair.

“Those diesel drivers used to make plenty more money on our head. But now everything will balance out,” he said, as other drivers who were listening, expressed their agreement.


"Taxi drivers — diesel price rise, levels playing field"

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