BTOA President Responds To Minister Richards

February 27, 2014

Following his recent public plea to the Bermuda government and an appearance by Minister Bob Richards on the television show Let’s Talk on Monday night, Derek Young, president of the Bermuda Taxi Owners and Operators [BTOA], has responded to the Minister’s comments.

Mr. Young said, “On behalf of the taxi industry I would like to respond to Minister Bob Richards’ comments made on the television talk show “Let’s Talk” which was hosted by Gary Moreno on Monday night.

“Minister Richards responded to a caller that asked whether a payroll tax relief has ever been considered by himself and the OBA government for taxi drivers.

“Minister Richards response was simply, “no, but that could be something that could be considered if it were ever put on the table by the industry,” with the follow-up statement that, “he’s not too sure if the taxis can speak with one voice.”

“Let me assure Minister Richards and the people of Bermuda that the taxi industry does speak with one voice, and the Bermuda Taxi Owners and Operators is the recognized voice that speaks on behalf of the industry.

“The fact is, a payroll tax relief for taxi drivers and operators has been put on the table for some time now and is one of the incentives which is on the proposal list which has been given to and discussed with the Minister of Transport.

“I can also say that a payroll tax relief was given to taxi drivers by the PLP government a few years ago during the off season when things got very slow in the business as they are now. Although that relief was helpful and we were very grateful, it didn’t go far enough to ease the strain on the industry. However the government back then saw the need to give us the assistance.

“As I’ve stated previously, the industry continues to struggle as we await this government to deal with the concerns that we have put on the table. We have been in a “holding pattern” for many years now, hoping and waiting for our concerns to be addressed.

“We were promised by the Tourism and Transport Minister that proposals such as a rate increase would be given along with overturning the GPS law, the ability to take seven people in a taxi for an extra charge, and an increase in the tour rate.

“Another major request on the top of our list is the ability to bring in our own second hand vehicle from overseas instead of having to buy brand new every time our old vehicle fails.

“The majority of these concerns were guaranteed to be addressed in February 2014, after a mass meeting was held last September by the minister and the taxi industry.

“We have had no follow up meeting with the Tourism and Transport Minister since, to find out the results and the way forward.

“So, I will repeat once again that a payroll tax for taxi drivers, which has been given to the restaurants and hotels, has been brought up many times, and it’s difficult to understand why this proposal has never been brought to the Finance Minister’s attention.

“Many of us have invested a lifetime in this business and we would like to be recognized for the contribution we make to our island.

“We in the taxi industry will continue to have faith and hope that the government will address our concerns as soon as possible like they have promised.

“We will be scheduling our annual general meeting in March as we chart or way forward as we continue to speak with one voice.

“The industry has been very patient waiting for the government to address our concerns,” added Mr. Young.

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Comments (8)

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  1. Triangle Drifter says:

    I ask again & again, If it is so tough in the taxi industry how come it is so hard to get a cab so often? If it is so tough in the industry how come a piece of paper, the permit, is sold for over $100,000.00? Taxi drivers never stop moaning about the price of gas & maintenance. Well, stop aimlessly driving around empty. Find a strategic location, turn the GPS ON & wait for the calls.

    Lets not forget that taxis already get a huge break in licensing costs. They only pay something like the cost of an A or B class car yet they benefit from the use of the roads more than anyone else. Less than a decent days gross pays for a whole year licensing.

  2. BOCanyday says:

    I wish you and your industry luck with your negotiations. But I personally hope your efforts for a rate increase is DENIED. Are you really serious??? Your rates are high enough. And if you are granted a rate increase please increase your customer sevice skills some of you taxi drivers really need a crash course.

  3. Greed Killed Bermuda says:

    Ain’t this guy a member of the OBA. What’s he doing typing all this madness, pick up the phone.

  4. Joonya says:

    25% increase werent enough?! Stop your grumbling.
    Do you know the last time I received a raise.. I cant even remember to be honest. You guys are overpriced, now you want a bigger piece of the pie?
    The pie is down to crumbs mate. Stop your greed. Shared sacrifice… remember?
    Pushbike from now on..

  5. Concerned says:

    Industry should also ask Transport Minister to not allow any more mini buses or they will be taking more of your business from the Ships and groups arriving by air to hotels

  6. Bull in a hurry says:

    This wouldn’t even cost the government that much, many don’t pay it anyway!

  7. Swizzled says:

    Have they ever thought of zones. taxi fares are ridiculous as it is.

  8. I don’t take this persons remarks to likely as I am a taxi owner and have factual reason to comment on this misinformed member of the community . Let me start by saying it is exstreamly difficult to operate a taxi business in Bermuda as everything has increased since 2008 since we last had an increase.
    Many local get up set with the taxi operator but fail to follow organized methods of ordering a taxi. When I think about the pizza business it remind me of the similar transportation business, if I were to drive to a pizza store order my pizza and wait its going to be a while. So why not order it ahead of the drive take in to consideration that it will be 30 mins . Once 15 min goes by I start to make my way to the pizza store were I usually have to wait an additional 10min after travel time of 15 min. Have there ever been a time when you found certain taxi operator to be more reliable then other, why not get there business cards and use them for your personal driver. Times have changed so much with Technology that you may find that it is far easier to use the cell phone number of a reliable operator then to call a debunk dispatching company. Last surgestion would be to get a taxi license ,come out and find out why the taxi organization is suffering you may just be alarmed that it is a serious issue and families are pay the price for the struggling industry. I’m keeping it respectful and real a taxi operator only makes $5 to $ 8 dollars an hour but is paying out just like those who make a good earning. So next time stop and think about the issue not the last time you called for a taxi and expected it show up in 10 mins.