Hi Maxi taxi owners received $2,000 fuel-grant cheques from the Ministry of Transport on Friday.
Minister of Transport Rohan Sinanan said the Minister of Finance will be looking at taxis next.
“The directive from the Ministry of Finance at this point in time is for the maxi-taxi owners,” he said. “I’m sure the Minister of Finance will be looking at the taxis in future.”
Sinanan addressed maxi-taxi drivers at his ministry during a ceremony for the rollout of the grant on Friday, saying while the ministry knew how hard they had been working during the pandemic, they were not the only people being affected.
“This affected the entire country,” he said, adding the Prime Minister saw fit for them to be given the grant for having to transport a significant portion of the population.
Drivers were required to provide a certified copy and proof of insurance, and to verify that their maxis were working during the lockdown period. Sinanan said verification was necessary because there were almost 6,500 buses registered, but not all of them were working.
Vice president of the Maxi-Taxi Association Linus Phillip said the grant was meant to help drivers weather the storm.
“Some people are expecting the Government to put them in a comfortable position. We all should know we are in a crisis. Every little bit helps.”
Phillip said he was grateful for what the Government had offered in such a short space of time.
The grant was issued three days after instructions were received from the Ministry of Finance. Phillip said that was due to the ministry and the association coming together to "move things along.
“This is a partnership and once the partnership is working properly, this is the kind of success we will see.”
Phillip said although other taxi associations have decided to raise their fees, the Maxi-Taxi Association decided to take a wait-and-see approach.
“We wanted to wait and see how far we can carry our side of the burden.”
He said the association would maintain current fares for as long as possible.
On Thursday, the San Fernando to Port of Spain Taxi Association confirmed it would be raising its fares from $17 to $22 from next Monday.