Taxi drivers, who complained they were being pushed to the brink, now say they can breathe a sigh of relief after getting the green light to operate at 75 per cent capacity.
In an update to the Public Health Regulations, which was made late Tuesday night, taxis and maxi-taxis were allowed to increase their passenger intake. The change to public transport will run until July 18.
The recent move came hours after taxi drivers protested against passenger capacity reduction which they claimed had crippled their livelihood.
Taxi drivers were forced to slash the number of passengers by half as part of Government’s restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Yesterday, taxi drivers along the Long Circular/Wrightson Road route expressed gratitude for the lifeline extended to them.
Speaking with Guardian Media, some said their situation had become dire.
According to one driver who only identified himself as Darion, the extra dollar he will earn now will go a long way after business hit an all-time low due to the pandemic.
“I must say that it is a blessing that we back to 75 per cent, because we definitely couldn’t work with the 50 per cent, it is very tough working with that. I know there is a lot of people still on the breadline, so I am grateful.”
A taxi driver identified as Bradshaw said operating at half capacity sometimes left him incurring losses.
Another taxi driver on the stand said the decision to increase passenger capacity could not have come at a better time.
“It real hard for drivers to come out on the stand and leave with two passengers and spend 45 minutes to an hour just to get one trip, that is ten dollars, sometimes twelve. We could barely put back gas when the day done.”
Meanwhile, Taxi Drivers’ Network president Adrian Acosta said the move will ease the burden on taxi drivers considerably.
He also assured that all efforts will be made to ensure the safety of passengers and explained how the 75 per cent capacity will work.
“We are following the guidelines and protocols given to us in a meeting with the stakeholders. Passengers must be sanitised, they will be faced towards a window and drivers will be asked to not run their air conditioners.”