Taxi drivers have been given the go ahead to increase their rates, but many of them aren’t happy.
The dollar increase on the base taxi fare, from $7 to $8, may not sound like much.
But the 20 per cent hike on the mileage and hourly rates could have some riders dishing out serious amounts of cash.
Many drivers aren’t happy because they had to wait so long for an increase.
Our taxis are used mostly by visitors to our islands and some may be surprised to find that taking a taxi is just another costly thing to do in the Cayman Islands.
We certainly don’t begrudge any taxi driver or operator making a decent wage and living.
If all taxi drivers stick to the new rates all should go smoothly.
But we know there are some unscrupulous taxi drivers out there who already charge more than is allowed by the Public Transportation Board.
They’re not supposed to, but they do.
We know of one visitor who was charged $50 (that’s almost US$61) to go less than four and a half miles.
When the rider complained, the driver threatened to call the police.
It’s those kinds of drivers that give all of Cayman’s taxi operators a bad name.
We admit that taxi fares haven’t been increased in the Cayman Islands since 2002. Most of us would complain loudly if we hadn’t gotten a pay raise in five years.
But we’d bet that those drivers and operators who treat their customers fairly, show true Caymanian hospitality, have clean and well maintained vehicles and don’t overcharge have been making it pretty well in the past five years.
Word gets around, especially on an island, and people – even visitors – soon learn which are the reputable and friendly taxi operators and drivers and which aren’t.
Now that the rates have been increased we would hope that more is done to ensure those rates, and only those rates, are used and not jacked up by rogue taxi drivers.
It’s another cost of living issue, but one we can all live with if it is enforced and regulated.