Electric cabs are coming to the city

The Belize City Council hopes to spark the electric vehicle revolution in the old capital, with the launch of its E-Taxi project. The endeavor seeks to equip Belize City cabbies with electric vehicles purchased by the council through funding from the European Union. The council will select drivers from various taxi unions and allow them with a lease-to-own agreement for the vehicles. Reporter Vejea Alvarez was there for the unveiling of the first two EVs and has the story.

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Imagine jumping on your mobile device and being able to request a cab that’s not only luxurious and comfortable but environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Well, in just a few weeks you’ll be able to make that thought a reality. Today the Belize City Council unveiled two new Chinese-made electric vehicles that will be picking up and dropping off passengers across the old capital. The “E-Taxi” project seeks to electrify the country’s transport sector and according to Mayor Bernard Wagner, it will catapult change as the world moves towards a more sustainable future./

Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “Eventually in Belize City you see gone are the ice make vehicles and being replaced with E Taxis, E mobility, electric vehicles which really guarantee the lowering of congestion in the city, it will lower pollution in the city, you’ll have a much more reliable effective and efficient type of public transportation.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The vehicles cost fifty-six thousand dollars each and were earmarked for the Downtown Taxi Association. The council will be working with experts to draft contracts to allow select drivers to eventually own the vehicles while earning a profit and contributing to their maintenance. 

Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “Certainly we’ll look at how we depreciate the vehicle. We want to ensure that we have the financial model to ensure that we are able to meet the investment the loan that we got for the E taxis. We want to make sure we have a maintenance component in it. We also want to ensure that we’re able to pay the drivers out of that and also the city has to get back it’s little return on investment obviously and at the end of the term we are able to say to the taxi driver here is this taxi it’s now yours.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The council has partnered with the “Mi Driva” app to enable persons to access the cabs at their fingertips and hopes the project will bolster the city’s tourism product. 

Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “People who who want to access these taxis will be able to go on their phone app, get the Mi Driva App, tell the driver pick me up at this spot it comes picks you up, drops you off to where you go. It will also play a big role and we were talking to the Minister of Tourism who is very excite about this venture because many times we have the tourists, the overnight tourists who come to Belize City and many times they have nowhere to go they would want to go on the entertainment strip but the hotel is Biltmore and they’re wary about moving and not knowing how they’ll get back. Having the app on their phones similar to what is there in the United States.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The proposed fees, selected drivers, and contracts are still being drawn up. However, while the council is still dotting its I’s and crossing its T’s, Mayor Wagner says residents should welcome the project. 

Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “Belize City residents should embrace it. Embrace this change and not look on it in a sort of fight against way but embrace it. I want the local taxi operators to embrace it. It’s an opportunity to really have a better return. If you are running on electric man you will be able to make much more rather than from the fuel, the gas which is we’re all crying on the gas prices so now if we are going electric that means your return on investment more than likely should be a bit more palatable.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The council added that two additional EVs are arriving in the coming weeks, and says the project contributes to the country achieving its Sustainable Development Goals. Vejea Alvarez, Love News.

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