Editorial for April 18: Rogue cabbies need corralling

Finally something will be done about unruly taxi drivers.

Although the offenders are only a minority, in this case a few bad apples can indeed spoil Cayman’s reputation as a tourism destination.

For years now we have heard reports of people – many of them tourists – being overcharged or treated badly by some taxi drivers. For tourists, the taxi ride is one of the first impressions they have of Grand Cayman after they arrive. The situation at the airport is generally very good, but what happens at the hotels and near the cruise terminal – where the large majority of Cayman’s tourists arrive – is a different story.

Nothing can sour a visitor’s perception of Cayman quite like getting ripped off by a taxi driver. These are the things people remember and tell people about when they return home.

For many years, Cayman’s taxi drivers were a true asset to the tourism product – knowledgeable, friendly and honest. There are still many drivers like that now, but there are also some cabbies who are more interested in making a quick, dishonest buck than in protecting the image of the Cayman Islands. This can’t be tolerated.

By creating a sliding suspension scale whereby drivers will ultimately lose their taxi licence after a third offense, there is a system in place to rein in drivers who don’t want to conduct their business by the rules.

Interestingly, when offered a two-week grace period before the new measures were implemented, taxi drivers didn’t want to wait; they wanted the measures implemented immediately. They know that rogue drivers not only cost them money, but negatively impact their reputations as well.

The new measures, along with taxi metering – which is also coming – will go a long way to ensuring that everyone who steps into a taxi cab on Grand Cayman doesn’t have to worry about being cheated.

We hope, however, that the Public Transport Board also creates some sort of educational programme for taxi drivers to stop them from telling riders things that aren’t true and from doing things like taking them to the scenes of shootings when giving island tours.

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