Minister Zane DeSilva On Special Taxi Permits

May 30, 2019

“It is expected that the special taxi permits, which are to be used at specific times of the day and night, will, in the short-term, increase the taxi inventory to address demand where there are taxi shortages,” Minister of Tourism and Transport Zane DeSilva said, adding that “the proposed hours are from 3:00pm to 6:00am.”

Minister DeSilva said, “The Ministry of Transport is committed towards improving transportation options for Bermudians. To that end, we conducted an extensive consultation exercise to provide Bermudians with the opportunity to let their voices be heard on every aspect of transportation in Bermuda. The feedback we received was impressive and helped to craft our Green Paper on Transportation and identify options that can help make Bermuda an even better place to live and work.

“The feedback we received reflected what many of us already knew. Availability of taxis at critical times remains a challenge.

“We listened to the public and to address this longstanding and seemingly worsening challenge, I recently announced that special taxi permits will soon be made available to purchase by the public. This is the quickest and most efficient way to get more taxis on the road to provide transportation during our busy tourist season.

“Currently we have four services for dispatching taxis and limos. These dispatchers provide data to government for analytical purposes. This data, coupled with feedback from tourism stakeholders and the general public, allowed us to identify critical times and locations when locals and tourists are unable to secure transportation.

“There are a number of individuals willing and able to drive taxis, but they are unable to do so because some owners have declined to make their taxis available for rent. This, along with other factors such as some drivers choosing not to work during unsociable hours, results in a shortage of taxis, specifically at certain locations and times of the day.

“It is for this reason we are looking to introduce special taxi permits. It is expected that the special taxi permits, which are to be used at specific times of the day and night, will, in the short-term, increase the taxi inventory to address demand where there are taxi shortages.

“Since the announcement of the new permits, there has been an overwhelmingly positive show of support with persons from all walks of life contacting the Transport Control Department enquiring about the new permits. While I appreciate this, the public should be aware that we are still going through the process of implementing this new taxi permit structure and ensuring we adhere to the rule of law.

“For example, while the permit fee is still under consideration, it is no surprise that members of the public, especially existing Taxi owners, are concerned about the cost. In making this decision, we understand it would be unfair for Government to issue a special permit without considering the substantial investment that will be made by approved applicants.

“As such, we are looking at the options very carefully and have already decided to make the permits subject to an annual fee and assessment. Our goal is to get these taxis on the road and running before the end of July.

“I also wish to make it clear to existing and potential taxi licence owners, that the new permit will be restricted to working times that fill the identified service gaps. The proposed hours are from 3:00pm to 6:00am and this will be finalized soon. To ensure all regulations are adhered to, the special permit taxis will be required to register with a dispatcher who will send them work only during the permitted times.

“It is important to note that as per the law, the Minister of Tourism and Transport may increase the number of special permits, but it is the Public Service Vehicles Licensing Board that is responsible for granting the permits.

“This initiative, once launched, will be closely monitored over the year and decisions will be made whether or not to provide additional special taxi permits.

“Many of the ideas Government will implement came from the hundreds of recommendations offered over the Transport Green Paper consultation period. I again want to acknowledge our residents, students, and managers within public authorities, business groups and visitors, for their contributions to improving transport in Bermuda.

“I look forward to working with stakeholders to fix these problems which have festered for years without resolution. In tourism and transport, we cannot let attachments to the past prevent us from modernizing the future.

“We were elected to fix problems and must move forward to make transportation better while providing more Bermudians the opportunity to earn a living and benefit from our growing tourism economy.”

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Comments (29)

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  1. Paul says:

    I hope the minister of transpot does not back down with his plans,somthing has to be done…. and the sooner the better.

  2. Seriously says:

    He will back down. He shouldn’t but he will. I don’t often agree with him but this time I get it. But the reality is that he is not in charge and just a token. They will force him to back down.

  3. Mb says:

    So why not just allow Uber Zane???
    Other good option is to lower the ridiculous cost of having a taxi doesn’t the tax and fees add up to 60k ?? Just allow free market with same tax for Uber or other taxis
    the existing taxis can go on uber and everyone is happy just like us happening with Airbnb n hotels
    Bermuda has got to stop saying NO to everything and embrace change

    These new taxis will operate 24/7 we all know that
    They will get social media and direct call referrals they don’t need dispatchers and how would cops or anyone police it?

    • Sandgrownan says:

      Embrace change? They’re conservatives!

    • Rog says:

      Not sure why people keep harping on about Uber as if it will fix our issues. Uber succeeds because of the usefulness of the app and lower costs than normal cabs…. It is not a fix for lack of cabs or lack of good service….

      • sandgrownan says:

        Well it is, because it would allow for other drivers, people looking to supplement their income by driving.

      • Mb says:

        Come again??
        It most definitely is a fix for lack of cabs and service what are you talking about?

    • Not to Be Rude says:

      You have no clue about taxis or “the free market”, what a fantasy world you live in

      • Politricks says:

        I know that we have issues just about every time when we try and order a taxi. Either they don’t show up or when they do it takes them about an hour.

        The other (late) night the taxi driver available told us he wasn’t going the way we wanted to go. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the first time that has happened either.

        • Not to be Rude says:

          those are issues with the taxis that need to be worked on but has nothing to do with “free market”. It also shows a lack of understanding how the taxis system in Bermuda works and highlights that people don’t know what they are suggesting will not actually work.

    • trump supporter says:

      Maybe uber will interfere with hitch.. IJS

      • sandgrownan says:

        Hitch is fundamentally flawed because it uses taxi drivers. That’s the problem. Ultimately you remain at the whim of taxi drivers.

    • not to be Rude says:

      I hope this is you being sarcastic and failing

  4. Pork & Bean says:

    Why are we still charging a one time fee for a licence? A smart government understands that importance and long term benefit of charging a small amount and a little each year so there is recurring revenue, competition and good service.

    Wake up, its 2019! PLP, Lead, follow or get out of the way!

  5. bluenose says:

    When will the Government hold Taxi Drivers accountable for not providing services in accordance with their Permits?

    • sandgrownan says:

      They won’t. That’s why it needs to be a non restricted immigration category, and allow everyone to drive Uber.

      • Not to be Rude says:

        Or how about Government Hold themselves to account and do right by the taxi drivers cause all you calling for Uber have no clue

        • sandgrownan says:

          Hey, if the drivers have a beef with government, then have at it.

          The fact remains, however, it’s a non service, it’s crap, unreliable, they aren’t available, can’t find you, aren’t on the road, won’t go to where you want to go. The drivers need to start providing service or the public will demand action – whether that’s Uber or an explosion in gypsy cabs. Either way, this is the taxi driver’s fault.

          • Not to be Rude says:

            So your comment proves that you don’t really care or have any understanding of the situation as the taxi owners for years have been complaining to governments about their issues. its just easier for you to blame the drivers then actually care about what is being done.

            • Sandgrownan says:

              Should I?

              I want a taxi when I call one. It doesn’t happen, so let the market decide. This sort of state sponsored protectionism doesn’t work.

              • Not to be Rude says:

                You want something that cannot be provided because you are looking at one system and expecting a completely different system to respond that way.

            • Mb says:

              Sorry…you want government to fix your problems?
              Are you part of government?
              No! Fix your own or the market will which is what will happen … is happening
              Tons of gypsy cab drivers out there now it’s like a black market Uber
              But you keep blaming government if it makes you feel better

              • Not to be Rude says:

                I want Government to to fix it cause it is their job to fix it.
                The issues with the taxis can not be fixed with out the government, why you stupidly haven’t asked,because the taxis don’t work under a free market.

                they can’t listen to market because the government controls what they can charge, the government controls what they can and cannot do. The government allows how many of them there are by the price of a permit.

                Why do gypsy drives exist because they are not controlled or regulated in any shape or form by the government, they can charge what they like, they can work when they like and choose not to pick people up when and were they want.

                So YES government needs to fix it or undo every piece of legislation to do with taxis and let them truly operate according the market demands.

              • Question says:

                Based on that we should forget ‘living wage’ and let the free market settle it.

  6. On Island Time says:

    This is becoming a joke with taxis. They are expensive, they don’t show up, their service is terrible. Enough already, UBER.

  7. frank says:

    stupid over 500 taxis for a tiny island and we still have a problem
    GPS would show were they all are hiding
    there is not much tourist moving from their hotel after 10 pm
    hitch is good they probably use some form of GPS
    we still have drivers that sit up at elbow beach make a run town then drive straight back to elbow beach
    while there they refuse to drive hotel staff

  8. Y-Gurl says:

    If Uber cabs were subject to the same regulations , fees and taxes that taxis are then it would be a complete flop, we need to get the current taxi situation fixed and have them operate in accordance with their licenses, you only have to go to St Johns and the creek area to find cabs parked up all day every day while the owner do their “day jobs” the system needs proper regulation with equipment that can monitor the fleet, and don’t let the whining of the drivers let the discussion be deflected as before

    • Sandgrownan says:

      Exactly – it’s a night time job!