Taxi Association seeks increase in fares as operators seek to maximise cruise season revenue

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The St John’s Taxi Association continues to be in deep negotiations over an increase in taxi fares for its members.

As the government hopes the increase in homeporting operations at the port, an increase to taxi fares may see larger revenues for taxi operators this tourism season.

 The tourism season lasts for about six months, and it remains operators’ main source of revenue—a driving factor in negotiations for the Association’s General Secretary, Leroy Jno-Baptiste.

“Sometimes, people might term us as being greedy, hostile; but persons must understand if you don’t, you would not be able to survive that stretch.

“It is very important for us to maximise during the season, and we have to be very frugal with our budgeting during the off-season, so we can make it through that period to the next season,” he said on State media.

In 2021, taxi operators across the island saw an adjustment to the taxi fare system, after years of discussions with the government.

Previously, a single fare was applied to a full load of four passengers, which was abandoned in favour of a taxi fare determined by the number of passengers being transported.

The coronavirus pandemic—which lasted more than two years—saw most tourism-dependent operations, including taxi operators, struggle financially.

This was due to the cruise industry which relies heavily on passengers, having to essentially shut down operations and becoming the poster child for the effects of the pandemic.

Jno-Baptiste stated that following the removal of pandemic-related restrictions in Antigua and Barbuda, taxi operators have seen a slow return back to pre-pandemic figures.

“We had a very bountiful December, quite a lot of traffic [and] cruise ships, February is also looking like that, and so we look forward to those opportunities,” he said.

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