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PH drivers getting out of hand—Cadiz
Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz says PH taxis are “getting totally out of hand” and he has to put a stop to them. However, the minister admitted he did not have an exact answer on how to deal with the problem which remained a challenge for his ministry. Cadiz, speaking with reporters at the second public consultation on the Motor Vehicle Authority (MVA) at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts, Rienzi Kirton Highway, San Fernando, yesterday, said PH driving was “presenting us with a problem.”
PH, he said, was an illegal activity and something had to happen to address the problem. “If you want to run your car for hire you need to register it as a taxi, plain and simple. We now have PH drivers on the regular taxi routes. We now have PH maxi taxis and you know, it is getting totally out of hand. We cannot continue to allow that and we have to find a solution and put a stop to it,” Cadiz said.
The minister said PH drivers had been part of T&T’s culture for years and had served an important purpose in rural communities where route taxis did not work. Cadiz admitted: “I do not have the exact answer right now but we cannot support an illegal activity.” Former Transport Minister Jack Warner, now Independent Liberal Party (ILP) leader, had suggested regulating PH taxis during his tenure. Cadiz was against that idea.
He said: “I do not see how you could regularise an illegal activity. The law is the law and the Government cannot condone illegal activity. “But we must also accept that PH driving has been with us for as long as route taxis were established.” Cadiz stressed the option was open to all PH taxis to register and license their vehicles as hired cars. He also said PH taxis had posed a security threat since there were reports of women being assaulted and other people being robbed.
The minister said he hoped to take the legislative framework for the MVA to Parliament before the current session ends. Among the highlights of the legislation are categorising licence plates for all vehicles, the introduction of vanity plates/personalised plates, merit points for drivers and changes to juvenile drivers’ permits.
Cadiz also said the new legislation would make it a punishable offence to park in designated handicap parking spots, as well as to have open alcoholic drinks in the front compartment of a vehicle and while driving. The next consultation will be held tomorrow in Port-of-Spain.