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Wednesday 22 May 2019
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Taxi drivers query removal of tourism concession

Tobago taxi-drivers are concerned about the $1 increase in Super gasoline as announced by Finance Minister in the 2018/2019 budget but consumers would have to wait and see if they increase their fares.

In his budget presentation las week Monday in Parliament, Imbert announced that Super gasoline would increase from $3.97 per litre to $4.97.

On Monday, a week after the budget reading, President of the Tobago National Maxi Taxi Owners and Drivers Association, Cloyd Williams, said at a meeting last Thursday, all members agreed it would be unreasonable to increase taxi fares.

“We are not going to raise any kind of fares, it remains as it is because diesel prices didn’t increase. It would be unfair to use the increase of Super gas to increase our fares, but we are still concerned about the increase,” Williams said.

He said a more important and pressing concern for the Association’s membership was the removal of a 10 per cent concession on importation of vehicles to be used for tourism that was taken away from them in January.

“The decision was taken by cabinet and was effective immediately, while some vehicles were already purchased because we know we were getting the concession. Now we have a number of vehicles at Customs because of the removal of the concessions.

“When we import our vehicles for tourism purposes, a concession is granted if the engine sizes are over 2000 cc. But now we can only get the concession is the engines are under 2000 cc. No one buys an engine that small for tourism. No reason was given.

“We have been trying to meet with the Minister of Tourism for two months now. We feel disrespected because a letter was sent to him and a phone call was made.

Meanwhile, the Tobago Taxi Cab Cooperative Society Limited, however, is still considering the impact of the $1 price increase in Super gasoline and whether adjustments to fares would be made.

Nolton Roberts, President of the Co-operative, told Newsday Tobago on Tuesday, however, a decision would soon be made as he noted that the Cooperative last increased fares at all Scarborough taxis stands in October 2017 by $1. With yet another increase in the price of gas, it would be up to drivers to decide to either bear the additional cost of gas or seek an increase in fares, he said.

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