Hanna-Martin seeking to end taxi driver, tour operator dispute

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November 01, 2014

Following weeks of discord between taxi drivers and employees from a local tour company, the Ministry of Transport is seeking to put an end to the dispute between the parties, Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin said.
Hanna-Martin told The Guardian in an interview this week that the main cause of the rift between the two groups is market interference. She said taxi drivers and tour companies were not clear on their boundaries as it relates to the collection of tourists at the Prince George Dock.
"Franchise holders have distinct franchises," she said. "The lines have become blurred over the years on all sides so it leads sometimes to tensions rising. We always advise that they try to resolve matters institutionally so that it doesn't end up overflowing in the way in which it does and [becomes] a public issue and then it's another question all together."
Earlier this month, Taxi drivers and employees from a local tour company got into a heated dispute at the Prince George Dock.
A video posted on Facebook last month showed scores of reported taxi drivers and tour operators shoving each other at the Prince George Dock. One man was even threatening to strike a tour operator with a piece of wood. Hanna-Martin said she saw the video and brought it to the attention of the controller of the Road Traffic Department.
Hanna-Martin previously described that confrontation as "embarrassing to the country".
She explained that the tour company has a prearranged agreement where it collects a certain number of tourists from the Prince George Dock area.
However, taxi drivers were up in arms because local tour companies were also allegedly soliciting tourists. The taxi drivers accused the tour companies of cutting in to their profits.
Hanna-Martin said the government is reviewing the franchises in the Road Traffic Act to ensure market shares are properly defined between both entities.
She said the government contracted a consultant to undertake a review of the system.
"Out of that we are going to be looking a the franchises and seeing how those franchises should be modernized but you want to keep a defined market share," she said.
"That's the problem where you see where people with defined market share moving into the market shares of other categories."
Hanna-Martin underscored the importance of managing the transport system including ferry boats and scooter rentals.
She said it has to be managed so that it doesn't become overwhelming to the visitors and so that people remain in areas where their businesses should be confined.

Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian

News date : 11/01/2014    Category : Nassau Guardian Stories

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