House Approves Changes To Seniors Car Fees

March 19, 2013

Members of Parliament approved legislation which ends the exemption for seniors vehicle licensing fees, replacing the exemption with a 50% discount. Seniors who feel they are still unable to make the 50% cost can apply directly to the Minister for a waiver.

The MPs debated the amendment late into the night, with many of the Opposition MPs speaking out against the change.

Some pointed out they felt that former OBA MP Louise Jackson — known as a staunch advocate for seniors — would not approve of the bill, while others said the OBA was turning their back on the campaign promise of maintaining free transportation for seniors.

Opposition Leader Marc Bean said the Government has a lack of ideas to grow revenue, and are now “picking the pockets of Grandma and Grandpa.”

Some of the Government MPs responded to this saying they were referring to free bus and ferry travel, which they have maintained. They also pointed out that the need for increased revenue was due to the $1.4 billion debt.

Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell said the PLP have a short memory, saying they gave free access to Bermuda College, but rescinded it. He also stressed his “door is open” for seniors who are struggling and need a waiver from the 50% licence fee, and noted many seniors said they are “devastated” by the level of debt the former Government put the island in.

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Comments (57)

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  1. Renee Wilson says:

    Is the 50% discount for all Seniors or only the Seniors with cars E and above?

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    • media says:

      Across the board. All classes. All seniors.

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  2. Please!!!! says:

    How long will the OBA keep finger pointing and using the past government as an excues for breaking their promises...

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    • Bermuda says:

      I want to know when the supporters of the old government will wake up and realized what sh_t the PLP has left the island and our economy in!

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    • Argosy says:

      As long as it takes!

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      • Standing on Transparency, Inclusiveness and Fairness says says:

        All MPS voted for this same bill in 2007, OBA and PLP !! SO did they also create the mess as well. But this is a sad day indeed for our Seniors.

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    • Familiar says:

      I think 14 years is about fair.

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    • Toast says:

      Give them a break, they just found out the various Gov Ministries had $90+ Million in unpaid bills left over from the previous government not to mention the overspending.

      Perhaps if the PLP were honest and accurate with the picture they painted , the OBA wouldnt have to make any changes.

      However Im just curious, are you against the change in policy even after knowing that it was severly abused by many that transferred their cars into their parents or grandparents names to avoid paying for licensing?

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  3. Bermuda Boy says:

    I'm over 65 and don't mind paying my own way, why should the govt pay my bills ?????

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  4. media says:

    A sensible and fair decision. Although not full relief for seniors a 50% discount is still not bad. The PLP yet again standing on thin ice, as they are the ones that created this mess to start with all round. The bottom line is that the Government need to find revenue from wherever they can and the seniors still get 50% off. A good compromise.

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    • Toast says:

      Agreed. They need to change the free ferry and bus for all children as well - at least when the kids are not in school.

      Everyone should pay at least a little something. Furthermore, every year the MOT sends every child a ID pass. This must cost thousands for the plastic ID cards and labour hours putting this all together especially when it easy to identify a school child in Bermuda by their uniforms. Save the cards for Homeschool children.

      Don't get me wrong, I think it is a nice idea in principle, but such a waste of money and unneccessary at a time when a schoolchild is so easily identified by uniform and age.

      Make the kids start paying in the summer. Lets not make it too easy for children to get around and get into trouble when mom and da are at work and school is out.

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    • Eastern says:

      I agree. This "free" stuff wasn't free. Somebody has to pay for it. there is no such thing as free. The people at Bermuda Emissions and TCD still have to be paid.

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  5. Concerned for BDA says:

    This is for all seniors. The seniors owning E and above class cars made a lot of stink and the current government looked closer at the revenue stream. What they saw was an increased loss of revenue due to the growing population of seniors. Consequently, all are paying for the loud mouths of some. For those seniors driving in the E and above class cars, downgrading to A or B class probably looks better now. OBA are beastly and care about the $$$ over social welfare. This bill has Bob Richards written all over it!

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    • Sandgrownan says:

      Beastly?

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    • Bermyluv says:

      Social welfare is bankrupting the country.

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    • media says:

      Beastly must equal fair and reasoned. If you can't afford it appeal to the Minister for a waiver.

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  6. Bermuda First says:

    My mother used to always tell me that nothing in this world is free.

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    • Kathy says:

      Nothing is free in the world except the air we breathe!!!! SOmeone is going to pay for the freebies and now guess what...we are all paying.

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      • smitty says:

        thats what happen when greed kicks in very sad now the honest have to suffer

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  7. Great Job! says:

    Great Move..... cause you know what....senior can ride the bus for free and the ferry. So the idea that they need there car to get where they need to go is an excuse. 50% is very generous than free, which I always thought was ludacris. Good work for revamping the laws. They're still going to be grandchildren and children of these seniors that are going to try the rub the system anyway, so let them rup the system by still paying a fee, instead of free.

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    • GoodIdea BadIdea says:

      Except for those who can't walk to a bus stop because it's down a hill and half a mile away. There are still those who can competently drive a car but couldn't make it to a public transportation stop.

      Also the idea of "trading in" their cars for a class A or B is a silly notion. I know lots who can barely afford to keep the car they have let alone get a "new one".

      A class E car isn't that big - really what this change in policy should have done is clear the books with regard to those who abuse the system by registering cars in their parents / grandparents name and getting away with free registration.

      If it's free it should be a pain in the butt to get - don't allow the system to be compromised by those who seek to abuse it.

      But it's all done now...

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      • Fed up says:

        Competent to drive a car, but not walk to the bus stop! REALLY! 50% off is a great deal, take it or leave it! I pay full price for my car every year!

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        • GoodIdea BadIdea says:

          I didn't say that they couldn't walk, I said that they couldn't walk half a mile up and down a hill. Not everyone has a bus stop in their front yard and it's not news that Bermuda isn't the flattest country in the world.

          REALLY!

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      • Toast says:

        Did you miss the part where they said that those seniors that can not afford it, can apply for further relief. Or did you conveniently leave that part out, just to stir the pot.

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    • Pastor Syl Hayward says:

      @ Great Job: "senior can ride the bus for free and the ferry." Yeah, when they are running. The bus stops going to Spanish Point at 6 pm. This is true for certain other parts of the island,too, including St. David's,I think. The last time I wanted to go to Dock Yard by ferry for dinner and a movie, I had to catch the bus back because the ferry stopped at some crazy early hour, and then I had to walk from town (no comments from the peanut gallery about how beneficial the exercise might have been, please). Fortunately, I am still able to walk a considerable distance. That is not the case for all seniors. Public transport needs a good overhaul.

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  8. media says:

    It's never popular to take away something that people were getting for free. We just can't afford to give it away now. Most people know this and although not happy about it will accept it because they acknowledge the bad financial situation we are in as a Country.

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  9. tricks are for kids says:

    So sick of hearing "well the PLP did this, or they did that etc.." are we not ready to move forward and say 'Well where do we go from here???'...I seem to recall that when the PLP got in all those years ago the UBP didn't exactly leave a clean slate either..it may not have been like what the PLP have left in their wake but it definetely wasn't squeaky clean...stop focusing on the past....we can't get the past back.....

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    • media says:

      Being a PLP supporter I suppose you don't like to be reminded of the state the PLP left the island in. The reality is that the OBA are wading through all the stuff the PLP did and are trying to find the most practical and sensible way forward. So yes expect to hear more of the same as they come across things the PLP did that need to be changed. To compare how the UBP left the Government to now is absurd. It is a whole different scenario. We live in sobering times and we need to face the facts head on. There is no room for the platitudes of yesterday.

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      • tricks are for kids says:

        I wish that there was a "talk to the hand" app on this site...I'm sorry that YOUR perception if off by ASSuming that I am a PLP supporter...I just gave MY opinion...sorry if YOU are not in agreement.....I would like to just move forward and stop living in the past....

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        • media says:

          I have read enough of your posts to know your tricks. If you hadn't realised already, we are talking about politics. To think that they wouldn't remind the former Government of their screw ups is rather naive.

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      • Standing on Transparency, Inclusiveness and Fairness says says:

        THe OBA are now the government, they must bring forward solutions of their own, falling back or deflecting on the PLP will soon not be good enough, folks need to know what they will do or not do. By the way, All MPs OBA and PLP voted for this same bill in 2007, so the OBA are just as responsible.

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        • Mad Dawg says:

          The OBA get us up to our eyeballs in debt. The PLP did that.

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        • Eastern says:

          @ Standing on Transparency, Inclusiveness and Fairness says

          The OBA didn't exist in 2007, so what exactly are you talking about?

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  10. Autumn Fire says:

    Seniors should receive free public transportation. Also, since many seniors are physically unable to walk to the bus stops and to decrease/eliminate people from scamming the TCD system, remove the free Seniors TCD fees (make seniors pay), but allow any senior over the age of 70 years old apply via screened interview/registration on a needs basis - to be considered for any discount or free TCD fee. This may be verified or confirmed via their local GP's or Age Concern if needed.

    The senior him/herself solely would have to be present in the "screening interview" which would also require a normal TCD driving test to ensure the senior actually drives. Each applicant can be case sensitive based upon ligitimate need similar to requirements for the PC lisence or the Corporation of Hamilton "physically challenged" car parking tag.

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    • GoodIdea BadIdea says:

      +1

      A fair solution. Like I posted above make it a pain in the a__ to get but make it free for seniors. Make sure that they are present and registered to the car. Make sure that all other registrants to the same physical address actually live there.

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  11. Winnie Dread says:

    Unfortunately nothing is free someone will have to pay. I think 50-50 is a fair deal. Remember having a drivers licence is a privalage, owning a motorcar is a luxury, oh yes it is. In other words you don't have to have one especially if you can't afford to. Having something does not necessarily mean one can afford such, therefore if one can't afford the 50% it's time to think about alternatives. Seniors get a break on a few things and there is always room for more, however we have a country in crisis mode and revenue is needed. I know people will say there is no crisis but just look around you.

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  12. Unjrust Realities says:

    Another broken promise . . .more to come . . . Keep Up the Great Work!!!

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  13. Kim Smith says:

    Had there not been abuse of the benefit by family members of the seniors, it is likely that it would have remained a benefit.

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  14. Sorry Sir says:

    So much uproar for car licensing but not when the former Government took away free tuition at the College.

    SMH. Bermudians can be so stupid at times.

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    • Eastern says:

      @ Sorry Sir

      You just don't get it do you?
      Nothing is free. Free Tuition? Who is paying the lecturers?

      This Bermudian is not stupid....have you looked in the mirror recently?

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  15. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Question to the OBA. Now when are you going to credit those who where DISCRIMINATED AGAINST and had to pay for a land licence because their spouse was a none Bermudian. If you say the money has been long spent ago then at least you could do would be to credit their land taxes for the same amount!?

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  16. Bermudian says:

    Unfortunately the gravy train had to stop somewhere and at some point. We ALL knew that all the freebies were going to come back to get as us at some point because they were just unsustainable. My parents are seniors and while yes the exemption was great, they are very happy at the 50% discount benefit. I think the OBA made a fair decision.

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  17. Standing on Transparency, Inclusiveness and Fairness says says:

    Funny thing is the OBA and PLP both voted on this bill in 2007. NO MP voted NO. So this suggest OBA were for this bill as well. Now the OBA have taken away the opportunity for Seniors who are on a fixed income and cannot afford anything much. Their only joy is their car to at least get around to visit their relatives. Buses stop early, some have a problem with their feet and legs and can not walk too far, how does this help our Seniors.

    The OBA has reduced the quaility of life for our Seniors. Why? NO great ideas to create alternative revuene streams for Bermuda as promised on the doorsteps. It was merely a way to win votes, the OBA have failed our Seniors once again. The OBA roll-backs are hurting those least able to pay !

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    • media says:

      The thing is we are in 2013 now and not living in 2007. Remember that was before the Economic downturn. Back then money was flowing. Now they are busy trying to find more money just to pay the bills. We are living in very different times, so to hark back to 2007 is not helpful.

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    • Mad Dawg says:

      It was the PLP who got us in this mess, not the OBA. Anyone with half a brain can see why they have to increase revenues.

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    • Eastern says:

      @ Standing on Transparency, Inclusiveness and Fairness says

      Since you are repeating yourself I will also repeat my post:
      The OBA didn’t exist in 2007, so what exactly are you talking about?
      Oh and we weren’t 1.5 billion in debt in 2007 either.

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  18. Hurdy Gurdy says:

    I didnt think the OBA were even around in 2007.

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  19. Y-Gurl says:

    Great move, nothing changes for seniors that can't afford it, they get 50% and just apply for the other 50% that's easy, those who can afford it still get a 50% discount, that's simple enough to understand (for most of us)

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  20. god1st says:

    OBA\UBP has put this island in more debt.

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    • die hard St. George's Fan says:

      The OBA is only cleaning up the mess PLP has given.
      There are some seniors who do need help but there are
      Seniors who are loaded with money and to mean to spend
      it on themselves always wanting a hand out.
      OBA you need a chance just like PLP so Mr.Cannonier
      and crew do your best and make Bermuda more proud of you.

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  21. Rockfish#1 and#2 says:

    Can someone explain exacty how our seniors can apply for this discount.

    ie. To whom, and what information will they be required to give?

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  22. Rockfish#1 and#2 says:

    . "Seniors who feel they are still unable to make the 50% cost can apply directly to the Minister for a waiver".

    If this becomes effective 1 April, much more information is required immediately. The Minister clearly will not be handling this. Are forms required, or a letter with supporting personal documents?(Financial) What is the criteria and who makes the decision?

    The devil is in the details.

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  23. michael robinson says:

    I would not have taken advantage of a "good deal" on an almost new car last summer if I expected to pink up about $1,700.00 every birthday, but I am happy to pay 50% and do my bit to get us out of this financial mess

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