More Needs To Be Done To Stop Pirate Taxis
The issue of illegal or pirate taxis has been with us for a long time. But it’s recent proliferation has shown that illegal operators are prepared to defy the law to make some money. But this is black money because it is obtained through illegal means.
Illegal operators do not pay tax for operating pirate taxis. This could amount to thousands of dollars in lost Government revenue that should go towards infrastructure developments like building and maintenance of roads.
It is also not known whether these illegal taxis have proper insurances to cover for injuries, even death in the event of an accident. If they don’t then their passengers do not have proper insurance cover.
Despite all these, people are drawn towards pirate taxis because they provide a service that is convenient and cheaper. In fact pirate taxis fill a vacuum created by legal taxis which set conditions before a journey. People find those conditions unacceptable and frustrating.
The conditions include the length of trips, type of roads or neighbourhood. Some taxis will not run after midnight because of the drivers’ fear of being mugged. They will not take short trips also because of the low financial returns. In doing so they are creating an enronvironment for pirate taxis to enter the industry and thrive. Some illegal operators are hiring some rental cars to run their business. Some have regular jobs and operate rentals from Friday night to Sunday. They are responding to the big demand for taxi service. When the fares are cheaper and there are no time restrictions and other conditions, illegal operators attract a lot of customers. Obviously the taxi industry needs to address these issues and improve in areas that have been highlighted. If they fail then they have only themselves to blame and they cannot point a finger at anyone else including the pirate taxis. Taxis must put their act together if they want to keep the pirate ones off the road. Police and Land Transport Authority must increase their surveillance on illegal taxis and stop them. They have had some success but more needs to be done.
An alleged illegal taxi operator at a taxi stand in Nadi.