San Fernando Mayor Junior Regrello, left, gives Maxi Taxi driver Vishnu Maharaj an elbow bounce after the Port-of-Spain stand which was relocated to Lower High Street.

Following a clash between taxi drivers and North/South maxi taxi operators at Kings Wharf on Tuesday, the maxi taxi stand has now relocated to Lower High Street, San Fernando.

Tempers flared with taxi drivers accusing maxi operators of encroaching on their space at the traffic hub at Kings Wharf.

Another issue was that passengers were opting to travel with the maxis at a cost of $12, which is $10 less than the taxi fare.

The maxis last worked the San Fernando to Port-of-Spain route in January but decided to start again after the recent furore by the travelling public over the taxi drivers’ $5 fare increase.

Ten 25-seater maxi taxis will service the route, but the stand situated in front of Montano Plaza can only accommodate six maxis.

However, maxi taxi driver Vishnu Maharaj said they would do what’s necessary to make the arrangement work.

“We urge the travelling public that they have a choice now, the $22 versus $12.”

He said they stopped plying the route because it became uneconomical when the North/South taxi drivers relocated to the Wharf.

Maharaj added that passengers were no longer prepared to wait for the maxis to full and it had become too congested because other taxi stands relocated on the Wharf.

Given the financial challenges in the country, he said people were now opting to travel with the maxis and that their arrival times were now almost the same as the taxis.

“With the new enforcement of the law and the demerit system if they catch your maxi taxi or taxi, driving recklessly you could be charged and the demerit points added to your permit.”

Speaking to reporters at the maxi taxi stand yesterday, San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello said the taxi drivers complained that the maxis were infringing on their space and picking up their passengers.

“Those 25 seaters are operating at a lesser cost, and they saw it as a threat.”

He subsequently held discussions with the police and traffic management, and they decided to relocate the stand.

“Taxis are under a lot of strain at this time in terms of social distancing, and they have to up their price. I guess to balance off the business side of the arrangement. It requires an understanding. If the maxis are much cheaper, obviously the people will respond to the maxis so you cannot have both of them operating in the same space.”

Noting that the street was pretty wide, the mayor said he did not discuss the move with business owners, but the maxis would not hamper businesses.

“I think this is workable and we were able to provide a win, win situation.” Asked about complaints by the Couva/Macaulay taxi drivers that other taxi drivers were abusing them and occupying spaces on their taxi stand, he said the police were sent a copy of the rules and guidelines, and they now have to enforce them. (SW)