|President of the Ambergris Caye Traffic Control Committee|
| President of the Airstrip Taxi Association, Mr. Victor Barbosa.
“We are currently investigating how many taxi permits are approved for San Pedro. We estimate that about 85 of the taxi permits out there are operational and in use,” commented Ambergris Caye Traffic Control Committee (ACTCC) Chairman Andre Perez. According to President of the San Pedro Taxi Union Federation Victor Barboza there are over 100 taxis are on the island. To date there are five taxi associations/unions that form part of the Federation, four that have been recognized and one that is in the process of being formed. With so many taxis on the island, there have been many concerns from both the unions and ACTCC. A meeting held on Friday, December 7th, 2007 aimed to clarify the situation.
Amber Isle Taxi Union (has an estimated 21 taxis), Central Park Taxi Union (17), San Pedro Airstrip Taxi Association (21), Island Taxi (12) and Isla Bonita Union (10, in the process of being formed) are the accounted numbers. This however is not concrete and what ACTCC is trying to figure out.
The Federation’s concerns were many but included the following:
*Knowing the amount of cabs on the island. According to Barboza they are unaware of the number and would like the situation clarified. “We want to know how many there are and how many ACTCC plans on approving.”
*The Federation would also like to form part of ACTCC. “We want a member of the Federation to be present during ACTCC meetings, not as a spectator but as a voting member,” commented Barboza. However, Perez stated that the committee already consists of nine members, one has resigned, and, in his opinion, he would rather downsize the number of members rather than increase. “Ideally I believe seven members would be good for the committee,” said Perez.
*The Federation also strongly suggested that a Moratorium be placed on taxis, as well as golf cart rentals. According to Barboza, with the amount of cabs already on the island, more would not be suitable or appropriate. Perez agreed that that would be the best option. An agreement was reached where along with their application for a taxi, individuals also file recommendations by the Federation and one from the Union where the taxi will belong.
Other issues brought up were the golf cart rentals picking up tourists at the airport. “We are ok with tourists renting a golf cart for days but can the companies at least let us drive the people to the company first,” explained Barboza. The excess of golf cart companies was also an issue; the amount of companies on the island, one that the Federation, ACTCC and SPTC agreed, is enough. Dress codes (attire) and proper personal relations need to be established. “Taxis are at the forefront of the tourism industry. They are among the first people a tourist comes into contact with. They need to conduct themselves in a manner that is tourist friendly,” explained Perez. “Cabs need to be clean and tidy, as well.”
A key issue that the Federation ended with was the permit approvals for people who do not sustain themselves and their families solely on the taxi trade. “There are people who get taxi approvals and are not the ones driving the taxis. Those that apply for the permit should be the ones that drive them. They are not allowed to rent the vehicles to other individuals.”
Resolutions between the Federation, ACTCC and SPTC are hoped to be met in the near future.