Officials: No electronic meters for taxi cabs

New Traffic Law regulations gazetted last week address the requirement for taxis to have meters, which transport officials say are defined as rate sheets rather than electronic meters. 

The Traffic (Public Passenger Vehicles) Regulations state: “The driver of a taxi shall not carry on any business of plying for hire or carrying passengers for hire or reward unless the taxi is fitted with a taximeter.” 

Transport officials say the term “taximeter” applies to rate cards, rather than the electronic meters more commonly found in the United Kingdom or the United States. 

According to the director of the Public Transport Unit, Durk Banks, no provisions have been made in the newly gazetted regulations for electronic meters. 

“The definition of a taxi meter has not changed,” said Mr. Banks in an email.  

He quoted the Traffic Law, which defines a taximeter as, “Any device for calculating the fare to be charged in respect of any journey in a taxi by reference to the distance travelled or time elapsed since the start of the journey, or a combination of both.”  

He said, based on the law, “a rate sheet is a taximeter.” 

Last year, tourism bosses said they were working with the Public Transport Board, which regulates public passenger vehicles in the Cayman Islands, to gain feedback from users and stakeholders on how electronic meters in taxi cabs would impact them.  

Christopher Hadome, president of the Taxi Association, said introducing electronic meters would be negative to both cab drivers and passengers. 

“The rate sheet defends my business and how I charge the customers … Cayman is a small place, when the traffic hits, the electronic meters would charge the passenger more,” he said.  

He said some taxi drivers were in favor of electronic meters so they could “charge more.”
“They are trying to emulate other counties … Not in Cayman, Cayman is very small,” Mr. Hadone said. 

He added that government did not have the manpower to accommodate electronic meters.  

Using rate sheets ensure tourists are not overcharged, he said. “I have no problems with the rate sheets, because you have a set charge for customers, no more no less. We have a standard rate so that’s better for tourists.”  

Airport-Taxis

Taxis line up outside Owen Roberts International Airport. – PHOTO: CHRIS COURT

1 COMMENT

  1. I disagree completely with Chris Hadome’s comments stating that electronic meters would be negative to both cabdrivers and passengers. Having traveled to the island Several Times over the last 10 years, I can honestly say that in general most drivers offer a fair price for the service chareged. However, on the flip side, there are several individuals who are more than willing to dicker on price or if they suspect you are new to the island or are a one and done cruise shipper, some will charge exuburant fairs to transport you from one location to another. I can attest to that having gotten in a dispute with a driver a few years ago when I was going from my condo (rental) which is located next to the Marriott to Fosters. The cabbie thought I was just a stupid tourist snd tried to overcharge me for the fair. I told him no way, and said if thought this was the case he could go *crew himself. Meters would ensure that all fairs (assuming that the taxi drivers turned on the meter) would be charged a fair and accurate price for the distance traveled. Small or not, the island needs to get rid of the corruption that is going on in all areas.

  2. Chris Hadome’s comment reminded me of my father’s saying, Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.

    Of course he will defend a system that benefits his members.

    I remember being in George Town on a cruise day and needing to get from there to Luca Restaurant. The correct fare is about 15 for the cab.
    The driver wanted to charge us 20 per person.

    The ONLY way the rate card can be fair is to REQUIRE it to be shown on the outside and inside of the cab along with a map showing where places are. Thus a tourist would know that, for example, the Governors House is just past the Westin but before the public beach, so the fare should be somewhere between the two.

  3. Seriously in this day and age how hard is this, there’s a bunch of apps that will work in place of the fixed ‘official’ machines you usually see. Show me one taxi that the driver doesn’t have at least 2 phones. Heck some enterprising chap could probably source iphone 3’s for not much money and set them up. Every traveller is wary of taxi rates, even if the cab charges the correct rate there will always be a sense of being ripped off without a meter. It has to be good for the taxi and the customer.

  4. Unless the passengers can also see these ‘rate sheets’ then I totally disagree. Meters would insure all is on the up and up as we do have dishonest drivers. I know. I’ve been on the end of a 25 charge from Agua Restaurant to 7 miles shop!!

  5. So if the rate sheet is per mile, have the cab reset its trip meter, all modern vehicles have them. Fare gets in, cabby resets trip meter and when they arrive at the destination, the trip meter should show the distance traveled, refer to taximeter sheet and pay the set amount.

    Simple. No it is what I say it is. This should be a standard practice, regardless of local customs/culture surrounding taxis. This is the 21st century people.

    I bet if some one/company took it upon themselves to install meters, they would quickly gain a good piece of the market just for doing it the right way. The states the standard required, its time to be above the standard but I guess that’s what wrong with Cayman now.

    Protectionist policies are in effect everywhere but not for the customer.

    Can’t they be on the side of the customer for once? I can’t see someone wanting to get ripped off on vacation so I am going take a long shot and say it’s hurting our tourism product.

  6. The only rate sheet I have ever been able to find only lists prices between the airport and various destinations. Does a comprehensive rate sheet exist? If so, why is it not a public document?

    Also, if a rate sheet is what the legislators had in mind when drafting these regulations, how do you explain the following regulation?

    No taxi with a taximeter shall, at any time, be used for plying for hire or carrying passengers for hire or reward unless the taximeter has been tested and approved by or on behalf of the Board.

    So Mr Banks, how do you test a rate sheet?

  7. The other thing that gets to me is that when you get in a cab here most of the time they try to charge you per person. If you get on a bus then yes the fee is per person however it’s usually a much lesser fee. In a cab if 3 people want to go from A-B there have been many times they try to charge 3 fares. This in my opinion is wrong. For example If they make 3 20 minute trips in an hour with 2-3 people in the cab paying 20 each that’s 180 per hour. If they put in an 8 hour day/night that’s 1,440 per day or 7,200 per week or 28,800 per month. Even cutting these figures in half, if you think the figures I used are not realistic, comes out to cabs making about 14,000 per month. What meters in cabs would do would be prevent them from charging per passenger fairs. If you want to charge per person label your vehicle as a bus and charge per person but there still has to be some sort of posted guideline on what people getting in that bus should pay to go from A-B.

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