Orange Walk taxi drivers up in arms

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Updated: September 3, 2015

Arturo Cantun reporting…

For years residents and especially vehicle drivers of the town have raised concerned about the manner in which drivers of $1 taxis operate through the center of town. The complaints include speeding, racing among each other and unindicated stops in incident vulnerable areas of the main street. Taxi operators of registered associations have also complained that the dollar taxis have hurt the local public transport industry as they cannot compete at the same low prices and be able to sustain their business at the same time. In an effort to ensure the smooth flow of traffic the OWTC passed a new traffic regulation five years ago restricting the dropping off and picking up of passengers on Queen Victoria Avenue from the intersection with San Antonio Road to the intersection with Bautista Street.  According to municipal traffic manager Aldair Lima, this week the traffic authority started to enforce the already existing regulation because they have been receiving a lot of complaints from residents.

Aldair Lima – Traffic Manager

This has been gazetted and has been in place as a policy regulation from since 2010. The only reason we are implementing it again is because we noticed that there are too many complaints and obstructions of traffic. I could even to myself it has happened. To the general public when is it that you are driving out here in town and there is a taxi parking right in front of you, no signal light, no hazard light and you could cause an accident.

But enforcing this regulation has created a problem between the traffic officers and the operators of short-stop taxis. This week several of these taxi operators have been fined for not adhering to the traffic rule according to these men the rule is hampering their business and as such their livelihood.

Taxidriver

We are a group of over thirty and like I said we are not fighting against any association, the only thing we ask for is that we just want to work, we are hardworking persons so if we have to have a fine to pay we can go ahead and pay it.  They assigned us a little parking spot near Youth for the future but that is a pick up and drop off zone but then the thing is that we just can’t work with that but we are trying to ask them if we could pick up the customers more up ahead but we got to an agreement that all of that could happen but that  as long as the taxi men are properly parked and they are not obstructing the traffic and we will try to come into an agreement that we will not disrespect the traffic flow because we have to make the town look good.

Aldair Lima – Traffic Manager

Well that is being tabled at the moment that is not something we have agreed upon. I told them that they could pick up and drop off their passengers anywhere along town once they do it responsibly. Just like you if your mom wants to take a drop around the park you can’t obstruct traffic, you have to properly park and pick up your people likewise they have to do. They can pick up and drop off their passengers right in front of Youth For the Future we have put up the necessary traffic signs and not only that we have gone the extra mile as a town council and transport department to educate the people. These flyers were up for over a month, we were on the morning show with Arturo we were sensitizing people for over a month, you need a taxi these are the flyers that we were issuing. I had three of my officers out of their normal duties standing up in front of the park in front of COURTS giving these out for almost two weeks, the people are being educated it’s not something that we are imposing on them ,we sensitized them over and over as to what are the new regulations.”