While many passengers continue to complain that taxi drivers on various routes have increased fares because of the covid19 restrictions, the head of one drivers' association has called on his colleagues to hold strain amid all the additional costs.
Shervon Marshall, president of the San Fernando/Marabella Taxi Drivers’ Association, said passengers told him that some drivers have doubled or tripled fares.
He referred to the proverb "half a loaf is better than no bread" to emphasise it is better to have something than nothing.
Marshall said, "If everyone else is getting a half a loaf, we will not be digging out no passengers’ eyes. When things get back to normal – and we hoping that is soon – it is the same passengers we would want to travel with us. So we cannot, during this time, abuse them in any way to dig out their eyes for profits."
Speaking on the taxi stand at Pointe-a-Pierre Road in San Fernando last Thursday, Marshall highlighted that the stipulated fare is $5, and not $10 or $20.
"KFC workers have half a loaf because their hours have reduced. Royal Castle on top of High Street is closed, so those workers are home. I have a daughter who works TGI Fridays and she is home. I carry two passengers. I am not charging anyone more than $5."
On Monday, however, the Prime Minister announced that restaurants like KFC and Royal Castle would have to remain closed as an added stay-at-home measure during the covid19 crisis
Previously, in an effort to reduce the spread of covid19 and to "flatten the curve," Government introduced restrictions that required taxi drivers to carry only 50 per cent of their passenger capacity.
On Thursday, Marshall said the decision to raise the fare was not a collective one.
"We have not issued any announcement that we are raising fares. To change the fare, there must be a meeting among the membership, and right now we cannot congregate in groups more than five. Until we have that meeting, we should not raise the fare."
Marshall suggested passengers, should ask for the tariff cards of drivers who increased the fare. If the driver, refuses to produce it, he says they should make a police report.
Passengers travelling to Princes Town from San Fernando made similar complaints. One said it costs $9 by car and $7 by maxi taxi.
"The taxi drivers are charging us $15.They are saying it is because the Government decreased the number of passengers they can carry and that they have to buy gas. Those are the kinds of excuses they are making," said a passenger who did not give his name.
The man said it is unfair, since "everyone," not only in TT, but the world, is making sacrifices owing to the pandemic.
"One fella showed me a piece of paper saying the instructions came from the president (of the association).
"Some drivers carry three passenger and others two.
"The fares in some other routes have doubled."