Tobago taxi fares are to increase. This is the word from local taxi associations with operators saying despite trying to hold fares to current rates, increases in the price of super gasoline and diesel announced in the 2018 budget are forcing them to implement increases.
Speaking to Newsday Tobago on Wednesday, Cloyd Williams, president of the Tobago Maxi Taxi Drivers and Owners Association, said despite a decision not to increase the fares some weeks ago, it has now become unavoidable.
“The guys are crying, we are feeling the squeeze and our only option, because most of us are connected with the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), is to meet with the Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles so that we can make adjustments for the schools’ transport system (and)…discuss other alternatives other than increasing taxi fares,” said Williams, saying some drivers were now spending over $200 in gas a day in Tobago, "and that’s not good.”
By raising the fares, he admitted, "We will be inflicting more pressure on the travelling public. We are trying to keep it at current levels, but it might not be feasible down the line. I’m not sure what will happen. We are holding on for now but how long can we hold?”
Williams promised, however, that “an increase will be minimal.
“We won’t do anything to make the traveling public stressed,” he said.
Nolton Roberts, President of the Tobago Taxi Cab Co-operative Society Ltd, told Newsday Tobago an increase from up to ten per cent only now applies to taxis working from the ANR Robinson International Airport.
“We have not decided on full increases on the fares as yet. I’m not saying it will not be done, I’m saying it has not been decided on. The committee is still working on certain things but I want to remind the public that an increase is coming,” he said, adding that this will happen “before the end of 2017.”
Finance Minister Colm Imbert, in his budget presentation on October 2, announced increases in the price of super gasoline from $3.58 per litre to $3.97 per litre and of diesel from $2.30 per litre to $3.41 per litre.
As from October 20, a 30 per cent custom duty fee on all imported tyres went into effect and come December 1, the vehicle inspection fee will increase from $165 to $300.