Government should incorporate taxis into the public transport system, the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) spokesperson on Small Business Ryan Walters has suggested.
He said he believes that the current plans are not sufficient to move thousands of Barbadians around the island as Government moves to Phase 3 of its pandemic recovery.
The DLP spokesman said with the current restrictions in place for public service vehicles (PSVs) and Transport Board buses, the transport sector would be overwhelmed when Government gave the green light for other businesses to reopen.
Walters said in a statement: “During the last few days shoppers and workers have been experiencing challenges with either accessing timely transportation or challenges with social distancing while on the public service vehicles.
“As the economy moves to Phase 3 in just over a week, more people are expected to travel to work and to be out and about conducting business and accessing services.
“This will cause the already strained transport system to be under more stress given the protocols that must remain in place to combat the spread of COVID19. The Democratic Labour Party sees an opportunity for the Government to be proactive and innovative.
“Given the restrictions in place for the number of passengers on a PSV per trip, we are suggesting the temporary integration of taxi operators into the public transport system.”
Walters said the deployment of taxi operators would not only help commuters move around with more ease, but would also provide much needed jobs to workers who had been hard hit due to the shutdown of the tourism sector.
He declared: “This is timely as the tourism industry is at its worst ever in history and those entrepreneurs engaged in tourism-related employment have no alternative sources of income. This need for transportation comes at a time when there is excess resources that can be tapped into and better yet, at no additional cost to the Government and the citizens.
“If implemented efficiently, this temporary integration will definitely serve the country well. It will allow over 1000 self-employed taxi workers who have suitable vehicles to earn an income and it will allow the citizens to be transported timely and safely across the country.
“It also gives Government the capacity to assist more entrepreneurs and small businesses since it will be able to redirect over $3 million from the Business Cessation Benefit since these self employed persons will have no need to access the benefit. These funds can be reallocated to support other vulnerable entrepreneurs and small businesses as the sector seeks to recover from the impact of the coronavirus.”
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