Taxi fares more transparent, but still expensive

A local taxi fare app, CI:GO, now allows riders to calculate cab prices before they buckle up.

The app, launched in August 2019, answered public demand for greater access to information on fare prices, said Rosa Harris, chairperson of the Public Transit Board. With passengers now better informed, the conversation on taxi rates has shifted.

While passengers know exactly what they’ll pay in advance, they may not like what they see.

“There were a lot of complaints about price gouging [before] and in the last framework, there was an overnight surcharge, which has been phased out and just ruled out completely in the new taxi structure,” Harris said.

“We believe that the complaints that we received before have changed to, ‘Oh my goodness, I didn’t realise the fares were that expensive.’”

The prices are based on market analysis and calculation of the cost of operation for drivers.

“There are some persons that have given feedback that believe that the price increase wasn’t fair, but we did an independent assessment of it through Deloitte. So Deloitte helped us through all phases of the project,” Harris said.

“The project started by doing a ground up assessment. So what are the costs to taxis? What does it cost to own the vehicle? To put fuel in it? …

“That really gave us some insight as to the cost to operate as a taxi driver, and then also the earning potential.”

Soon, passengers in Cayman should also be able to hail taxis through the introduction of apps like Flex and Cabbie, which, she said, “will take it to the next level. I can hail a cab, I can pay through my credit card, through the app. I get a receipt. I’m good. Everybody on the transaction side gets paid.”

Harris added, “So, I look forward to seeing them advance as well with their apps.

“And that’s free enterprise at its best. They’ve taken the new taxi rate scheme that we published last year and they’re making it into something that’s more turnkey for the public, for those that want to hail, ride and pay.”

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