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.”