Scott: Taxi Industry Had No Notice Of Legislation

July 14, 2016

“Representatives of the taxi industry have expressed anger, shock and surprise by the tabling of legislation, stating they had no notice of this step being taken by the OBA government,” Shadow Minister of Transportation Lawrence Scott said, with Mr Scott calling on the government to pause and “engage in honest discussions with the private transport industry.”

Mr Scott’s comments follow after the Motor Car Amendment [No. 2] Act 2016 was tabled in the House of Assembly, with the Bill seeking to amend the Motor Car Act 1951 to include provisions for a motor car rental scheme.

The Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum says, “This Bill seeks to amend to amend the Motor Car Act 1951 [the “principal Act”] to include provisions for a motor car livery scheme including the types of motor cars that are available as a rental, the specifications of and licence duty for those motor cars, the licence fee applicable for the operation of a motor car livery, and for connected purposes.”

Lawrence Scott Bermuda TC July 14 2016

Mr Scott said, “It appears that once again we are on path to a possible confrontation between the OBA Government led by Premier Michael Dunkley, the Tourism and Transport Minister Senator Michael Fahy and the taxi industry.

“It is quite evident the government has failed to have a process of comprehensive consultation on the Motor Car Amendment [No.2] Act 2016 with the island’s private transport industry, particularly our taxi and minibus operators. This appears to have been brought forward in a manner that is outright secretive and deceptive.

“Representatives of the taxi industry have expressed anger, shock and surprise by the tabling of legislation, stating they had no notice of this step being taken by the OBA government.

“Consequently, we now see the Minister scrambling Wednesday evening to organise an emergency meeting with taxi operators to convince them that this legislation could not possibly negatively impact their businesses.

“Why did the Minister not use the same energy to inform and work with taxi industry about the governments intentions in advance?

“The prevailing public view is the introduction of electric vehicles for visitors to our roads is not only negative for the taxi industry but also risky for our already congested roadways.

“The recent number of road accidents involving visitors raises serious concern about the wisdom of this proposal. It is evidence again of the OBA’s ‘my way is the only way’ approach to government.

“We call on the OBA government led by Premier Dunkley and Minister Michael Fahy, as we’ve had to say time and time again, to pause and pull the Motor Car Amendment [No.2] Act 2016 and engage in honest discussions with the private transport industry on the way forward.

“The Minister of Transport Michael Fahy is showing the same level of sensitivity and judgement with the issue of the introduction of rental cars as he showed in his previous portfolio when he introduced the Pathways to Status last March.

“The Minister has not changed his approach to consultation and communication on issues which in the past ended in resistance and protest from the public.”

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Comments (47)

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  1. Double S says:

    “The recent number of road accidents involving visitors raises serious concern about the wisdom of this proposal.”

    Where are your stats? And even it is true then you should be advocating for these four-wheeled vehicles instead of expecting tourists to travel on unsafe two-wheeled bikes.

    “The prevailing public view is the introduction of electric vehicles for visitors to our roads is not only negative for the taxi industry but also risky for our already congested roadways.”

    And provide some stats on the prevailing view that you claim the public hold towards this issue.

    Lastly, this is the same Lawrence Scott who vehemently argued against the OBA permitting a 25% rise in taxi fares a few years back and even called it an ‘essential service’ (while simultaneously arguing that public transportation isn’t).

    It seems the PLP wants tourism to fail that is why they have opposed the BTA, St. Georges Hotel development, Casino legislation, Morgans Point guarantee and the Americas Cup.

    Why do you guys not want to see a revitalized tourism product?

    • stunned... says:

      i have never met a Bermudian with a driver’s license who has not rented or was driven in a rental car in a foreign country. ironically same people don’t want to extend a reasonable alternative to our visitors, tourists and dare i say – “bread and butter”. the continued display of ignorance in this island on so mater front is paining me more than a dreaded migraine. people we have to elevate our minds and stop with pettitness. where are our visionaries, you know the ones to save us from ourselves?

  2. Public says:

    Funny how they are kicking up about this but they changed the legislation to allow the minibuses. Not there are how many minibuses… The taxi owners and drivers should take responsibility for that as well because they did not do enough to stop the minibuses.

    • Double S says:

      And don’t forget limousines, hummers and other oversized vehicles to compete with the taxi industry along with mandated GPS requirements (something I actually agree with).

      The PLP’s motto should be: ‘do as I say and not as I do.’

    • Smh says:

      Mini buses don’t pose a safety threat !

      • Bermyman says:

        How does a small 2 wheeled well regulated vehicle pose an increased safety threat?

      • Variance says:

        You’re right, but rental bikes do. Much safer all round to have mini-cars.

    • Just the Tip says:

      They did but they were ignored and promised that the mini buses would be used just to support the buses but we all know how that turned out but with the foot in the door there was nothing drivers could really do

  3. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    PLP/UBP killed off the taxi industry when they allowed 5 million mini bus’ on the road lmfao….HYPOCRITES!!

  4. paperboy says:

    This is another major communications miss-step by the Government.

    One would think that after the series of community consultation blunders they would wake up and change their process to a multi-step approach. Maybe even listen to the communication talent they employ.

    Imagine this Bermuda: Consult- Inform- Engage – Reflect – Engage- Act

    The current style of our Ministers is Act-Defend-Defend-Defend-Defend

    Imagine this as a Leadership Motto in Politics: If it for us do it with us! – not to us.

    • Variance says:

      I agree to a degree, in that the communications from Government is awful. BUT – how anyone can argue that the legislation itself is anything but a good thing?

  5. Joker says:

    Just wondering… why would they need notice of this?

    • Hurricane says:

      Hey Joker, it’s called common courtesy and respect for the industry that have been servicing visitors since god knows when.

      • JB says:

        Servicing visitors to a degree, but try getting a taxi in St George’s at 8.30 on a Thursday evening when your wife has gone into early labour in Hamilton and you’re stuck without transport.

        Thank goodness for a privately hired minibus, that’s all I can say.

        (And a minibus has never knocked me off my bike, unlike a taxi).

      • Man what says:

        A service? You know how mant tourists I hear complain about how overpriced and ridiculous taxi’s are. A service is to benefit someone. All taxis do is make people broke and angry.

  6. Silence Do Good says:

    I have traveled too way smaller islands and was able to rent a car. I would not travel anywhere where it was not possible to rent a car considering my age. To expect more senior/mature well heeled individuals to get on bikes or continually pay a arm and leg for taxi fare or stand in all sorts of weather at the mercy of buses that run when they are working or not on strike is ridiculous for a tourist. The more option we present tourist the better the product.

    Oh please let a another minority group kill any potential we have of fixing long outstanding problems. Let have endless consultation and everyone to buy in before we do anything. Better yet put it out to a referendum.

    • LOLOLOLOLOLOL says:

      Like what smaller islands? I would really like to know as there are only but a few that I know of and they do not rent cars to tourists.

  7. NCM says:

    Mr. Scott has zero credibility. One need look no further than the video posted of him from the Pathways protest on the Hill when he said that the sole intention of the PLP and protestors was to do all they could to thwart progress by the OBA and take back the government by any means necessary. The text of the video from March 16 is as follows:

    Lawrence Scott: “So the immigration bill is in the same session as the budget. By our constitution the budget has to be debated for no less than 56 hours prior to the start of the next fiscal year which is April 1st. But it has to go from the House down to the Senate and debated as well. So what happens is this: it’s that if we don’t pass the budget by the end of this month, or by next week Thursday, it won’t have time to go through the Senate and to be approved by the Governor, which means that the country has no money and runs out of money and the country shuts down. The Governor then steps in and says, OK, hold on, or what he should do is say hold on, Michael Dunkley, OBA, you have – the country has no confidence in you, I am dissolving parliament. So no more Ministers, no more MPs, everybody goes back to their traditional constituencies and runs in an election – whichever party wins then comes back and forms the Government. That’s what the power of all of this is right now. Right – the bigger picture is one more week. If this goes on for one more week then the Governor steps in and should call an election.”
    Person off camera: “Wow – do we all know that?”
    Scott: “No – that’s why I am telling everybody.”
    Person off camera: “One more week and we can have the government back.”

    • Truthhertz says:

      This the same guy that called Bob Richards a ‘financial terrorist’ and claimed that the Berkeley was the best ever run Government capital project despite being $60mn or approximately 100% over budget that required the initial contractor to be fired halfway through the build

      He lives in an alternate universe.

    • Module says:

      Exactly – he doesn’t want a better Bermuda, he wants to be able to get his snout into the trough of public funds

  8. hmmm says:

    Taxi Driver, the PLP are NOT your friends.

  9. 21st Century says:

    If taxis worked after midnight and used their indicators I’d have sympathy.

    • UNREAL says:

      They are the worst drivers on the rode, and like you have no sympathy what so ever. DO u turns where ever they want, double park here even tho there’s a bay 2 feet ahead, Pothetic.

  10. Unbelievable says:

    But this is not about the taxi industry. It’s about making the roads safer for tourists…..and you know…..progress.

    When’s the next protest?

    • sandgrownan says:

      Fake hunger striker and misspelled sign lady to the ready!

  11. flikel says:

    Why do taxi drivers need to be consulted? In order to improve our transportation, more competition and options are needed.

    Bermuda has too may government protected industries, which leads to inefficiency.

    Transportation options are not in the exclusive domain of taxi drivers. Taxi drivers should not have input in what our tourists cannot have in terms of transport options.

  12. Tom Cooke says:

    It’s cool… iam going to Boston for cup match… and renting a car… and driving on the wrong side of the road… scary…
    Let a tours rent a scooter in the rain here… wrong side of the road..hell that’s just fine… we gotta pay for the hospital some how. ..
    If the OBA gave everyone $10,000.00 tomorrow the PLP would compliance is was not enough. …
    Only in bermuda. ..

    • Lemon Tree says:

      Be sure you have an international drivers license – heard some rental companies are no longer accepting Bermuda driver licenses!

  13. Truth says:

    I am finding it harder to stand up for Minister Fahy. I don’t doubt his intellect, but his emotional intelligence is becoming questionable. What’s so hard about consulting with the community instead of appearing to push through legislation under the rug?

  14. Enough says:

    With all due respect the Taxi industry should not have any say in this legislation. They have not provided a good enough service to Bermudians or visitors and have had a monopoly on that business for far too long. Competition is needed in that space as a result. Of course they will oppose it because it means one less fare to rip people off.

    Minister Scott once again confirms his lack of understanding on the matter by his statements.

    • Meh says:

      Just last week there were dozens of tourists at the airport looking at an empty taxi line. I am for small cars for tourists.

      Where the taxi drivers consulted when rental bikes were put on the road?

  15. Family & Friends says:

    what we need is for family and friends that visit us on the island, to be able to drive our vehicles, pending they have a full drivers license. Bermuda roads are not that special

  16. serengeti says:

    What gives taxi drivers the God-given right to special notice about other modes of transport?
    Who cares what they think? These are little cars that are an alternative to moped rentals.

  17. serengeti says:

    I am annoyed that I did not have advanced notice that Mr Scott was going to say this.

  18. Johnny says:

    Just imagine another 500 cars on the road, with drivers who don’t know where they are going. I see accidents galore as Bermudian bike riders will be at the mercy of tourists inexperienced at driving on our narrow winding roads.

    Also, parking spots in Town are pretty much full daily. Where will all the rent-a-cars park. the only place the tourists will have to park is at the beach, and they ain’t spending no money there.

    • serengeti says:

      where do you get the number of 500 from?

      the fact is, we have 3,500 less full-time cars on the road than we had 10 years ago. so why would you be worried about 500 rental cars?

      • Toodle-oo says:

        I’d like the opportunity to respond to these claims that are going in the direction of ‘we now have 3500+ less cars on the road , so we now have tons of room to accommodate these rentals ‘.

        I’ve been watching traffic trends very carefully since the day the 2nd hand car market was instituted , or opened up . And how long ago was that now , 1992-93 ?
        Since the big depression hit us it does seem that there is more car (not bike) parking available in Hamilton but that is far from an accurate indication of how much traffic is on the roads on the rest of the island .
        On any given day , at any time , when the ‘working’ should be at their jobs , and that includes weekends , I have difficulty getting out of my gate . Lines and lines of cars one after the other . 10 in the morning , mid-day , 2 – 3 -4 in the afternoon , you name it .If anything , it’s worse now than ever .
        The only explanation I can come up with is that the unemployed are now spending their time driving around all day either doing nothing or maybe looking for hustles .
        If anything , there seems to be MORE traffic on the roads now , not less . So don’t be fooled by what you see going on in town .

        Another falsehood is that these folks potentially driving these rental ‘cars’ won’t be on the roads during rush hour .
        If they’re on the ships , most notably the mega ships at Dockyard , no-one seems to have noticed the huge number of them all heading back to the ships on their rental bikes at 5pm to make the first dinner seating .

      • Toleratate says:

        because their talking out their rear..

    • Meh says:

      Dopey message. Cars can have GPS like anywhere else. If the cars are all pink, we will see them coming.

  19. Miguelito says:

    Taxis here are just WAY too expensive to be considered a viable mode of transportation. Not against taxis…if they were affordable, which ours aren’t.

    • Meh says:

      And I bet the tourist cars will be pretty expensive – at least $100 per day.

  20. Just saying... says:

    I can appreciate the effort to keep our guest safe, but cars? Really? Maybe the three wheeled covered motor bikes will be better. We have trouble finding parking at the beach, sporting events and just an evening out now…..adding more vehicles to the mix may make it a bit of a nightmare.

  21. Real Deal says:

    Just saw article labeled “Driver restores tourists’ faith in humanity”
    driver did not want to be identified. this is apart of the tourism product that will be suffocated by the amendment.

    Make the Right call Bermuda.

  22. Peter says:

    It’s a given that the PLP will be the government but lawd the naivety of these shadow ministers and senators is scary you can tell that it’s all about getting on the pay roll, then same old same old but they should not under estimate the public when they get back in they better measure up because we are not going through the brown crap again .