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Thursday 19 September 2019
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Taxi drivers in San F’do angry about temporary relocation

The taxi drivers ply their trade on the Chaguanas Taxi stand on High Street , San Fernando on Tuesday. Drivers are upset about a plan to temporarily relocate them.  The San Fernando Mayor says the move is only temporary but may be necessary to reduce traffic congestion in the city. PHOTO BY VASHTI SINGH
The taxi drivers ply their trade on the Chaguanas Taxi stand on High Street , San Fernando on Tuesday. Drivers are upset about a plan to temporarily relocate them. The San Fernando Mayor says the move is only temporary but may be necessary to reduce traffic congestion in the city. PHOTO BY VASHTI SINGH

THE decision by officials from the San Fernando City Corporation (SFCC) to temporarily relocate the Port of Spain and Chaguanas taxi stands next week is not sitting well with drivers.

The drivers complained that it was unfair them and to passengers, many of whom are unaware of the "impulsive move."

One driver said, "Passengers already said they are not going by the Wharf for taxis. Passengers will take private cars on High Street because it is more convenient for them. We are losing out. Curepe drivers are accustomed to taking our Chaguanas passengers, so now they have the free privilege."

Last week, taxi drivers from both stands, one on Upper High Street and the other at Harris Promenade, both near Library Corner in San Fernando, met with officials from the corporation about the temporary relocation.

SFCC later issued a public notice. Part of it said: "The public is hereby notified that the Port of Spain and Chaguanas taxi stands will be relocated on a one-month trial period effective August 26, to King's Wharf, San Fernando, between 6 am and 5.30 pm Mondays to Sundays."

The stands would be in operation at Upper High Street and Harris Promenade from 6 pm to 5.30 am Mondays to Sundays.

The aim is to reduce traffic congestion.

Drivers on Tuesday complained that a week was insufficient time to give notice.

He said: "I think they could push back the stand and put us to our previous location further down the street."

Another driver, Brian James, said 90 per cent of the drivers on High Street were in private vehicles that were responsible for the traffic.

James said: "We are not causing the traffic; we have a system. We line up and wait for the vehicle in front to move. My suggestion is for High Street to cater to the taxis and sales vehicles only. All other drivers should take alternative routes."

The taxi drivers ply their trade on the Chaguanas Taxi stand on High Street, San Fernando on Tuesday. Drivers are upset about a plan to temporarily relocate them. PHOTO BY VASHTI SINGH

Contacted on Tuesday, San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello told Newsday that the relocation was only for a month.

"It is not cast in concrete. The rationale is there is the water taxi service and PTSC buses already at the Wharf so if passengers missed one transportation, they have other options. Library Corner is overly congested and the seven-seaters double park on the streets making it difficult to move around in the city," he said.

There would be an increased police presence at King's Wharf to ensure that both passengers and drivers are safe, the mayor promised.

Regrello said: "School is opening in two weeks and students would be coming in for the first time. That promenade is a nightmare with traffic. Where the taxis are, we will reserve that space for parents for parking."

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