Transport Board moving to end rental of private vehicles

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The Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board will be seeking to put a stop to the ‘illegal practice’ of renting or leasing private vehicles for transporting passengers.
General Manager Hubert Jarvis told OBSERVER media, that while this is not new in Antigua and Barbuda, it has become more rampant over the past two years.
According to Jarvis, in order to engage in the public transport system, a driver must be the holder of a public service permit, a valid driver’s licence and the proper designated vehicle to carry out that function. However, most of these drivers do not have the requisite documents.
He also pointed out that his department has been inundated with complaints from vehicle owners, who, only after renting out their vehicles, find out they were used to provide services outside of what was agreed.
“We have overwhelming evidence that a number of people are engaging in the practice. The various stakeholders are cognisant of that development and we have had several meetings to try and come up with solutions to deal with it,” Jarvis explained.
The general manager said that based on recent developments, it would appear that some drivers are simply trying to bypass the registration process for the public service permit.
“A public service permit is similar to a driver’s licence, you have to go through a number of procedures. One of the main things, you have to complete an ambassador’s course at the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute to qualify as well as have a clean police record and a medical check-up,” Jarvis said.
The statutory corporation will be collaborating with the police and other relevant agencies to design a strategic plan to tackle the issue. Jarvis said drivers who are caught operating without a public service permit will be dealt with by the police, while drivers who are aligned to an association could be sanctioned or suspended. 
The perennial problem has also affected local taxi drivers who have complained publicly over the years about ‘poachers’ cutting into their profits.

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