Taxi drivers to raise standards after Bharatt’s death

File photo: Arima taxi driver Celestino Charles speaks about the safety of his passengers on the Arima taxi stand at Henry Street, Port of Spain.  - Ayanna Kinsale
File photo: Arima taxi driver Celestino Charles speaks about the safety of his passengers on the Arima taxi stand at Henry Street, Port of Spain. - Ayanna Kinsale

ANDREA Bharatt’s abduction and murder have led taxi drivers to raise their profession to a higher standard, starting with what they wear.

Under pressure from the travelling public since Bharatt’s abduction in a private car with a false H number plate, bona-fide taxi drivers are looking for some kind of uniformity to identify themselves and regain the trust of passengers.

President of the TT Taxi Drivers Network Adrian Dacosta said the association is looking to Minister of Works and Transport (MOWT) Rohan Sinanan to help with standardisation.

“There are not many rules and regulations regarding taxi drivers," he explained. "What we have are archaic. All it says is that drivers have to be 'properly attired.'

“We have made recommendations to the MOWT to specify what the law as it relates to taxi drivers being 'properly attired”' means, so we can have an idea of how a driver should dress. If it comes to a situation where there is a dress code, we would appreciate that. We want to step up our industry and bring our profession to a certain standard,” Acosta said on Sunday.

Calls to Sinanan were not answered.

Some associations are now advocating for their members to wear colour-coded shirts on different days, carrying the logos of their individual associations, as a means of easy identification.

One is the Princes Town Taxi Drivers Association.

President of the Point Fortin Taxi Drivers Association John David said his association introduced colour-coded shirts many years ago. But he said though some drivers wear them, but others refuse because they have to buy them.

Because of the events of the past weeks, David said he is trying to get his members to obey the dress code.

Acosta also admitted this association introduced colour-coded shirts about five years ago.

“We have lapsed on it. But we are going to back to that over the next two weeks. We are going to have to reinforce it or recommend to those who don’t have to get on board.”

He recalled initially there used to be a uniform of black pants and a white shirtjac.

“That phase out, and drivers now wearing what they want.”

He said the 40 associations represented by the network are to meet in Claxton Bay later this month to discuss this and other issues affecting taxi drivers.

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