New taxi rates a reality in San Pedro Sun

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 14, No. 24            July 15, 2004

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After several meetings between island taxi associations/unions and the Ambergris Caye Traffic Control Committee (ACTCC), the Airstrip Taxi Association along with the Central Park Taxi Union have confirmed an increase in local taxi fares. In an interview with the President of the Airstrip Taxi Association, Victor Barboza, he stated that for the last ten years taxi rates have not changed. He further commented that, with the constant increase in fuel prices, it was only fair that taxi drivers be allowed to increase their fees.

    In an interview with ACTCC Chairman Milo Paz Jr., it was learned that government does not regulate taxi rates. However, the Ministry of Transport had asked the ACTCC Chairman to advise them on the increase.

    Speaking with the San Pedro Traffic Department Officer-In-Charge Baldemar Alpuche, he stated that the increase in fares had to be approved by the National Transport Association, namely Commissioner Phillip Brackett. In an interview with The San Pedro Sun, Commissioner Bracket stated that a copy of the new fares had been faxed to him, and that the matter is being discussed and he would offer a comment in next week's issue.

    In the meantime, fuel rates continue to increase and Mr. Barboza stated that SP taxi drivers could no longer wait for any sort of approval from the Department of Transport.

    According to the Airstrip Taxi Association President, the May 1st, 2004 rates are based on a two-person minimum. An additional fee ($1 - town core, $2 - outside of town core) per person will be charged for more than four persons. For example, on a trip from the airstrip to the Holiday Hotel, one to three passengers will be charged $6.00, four people will be charged $10; for each additional person, the fare will increase by one dollar. Drivers are asked to please use discretion when charging passengers. Passengers are asked to please read the taxi rate sheet or ask what the fare is before getting into the cab to avoid a misunderstanding.

    Still, the question remains, are cabdrivers allowed to take more than one fare at a time? According to Officer-In-Charge Alpuche, the answer is no; since people are asked to pay these fares, drivers are asked to respect the rule of "one fare at a time." He added that the cabdriver may only admit additional passengers if the existing fare agrees.
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