New measures to address taxi operators’ concerns


In the coming weeks, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Transport in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture will announce certain measures which are expected to ease the situation for everyone’s benefit.

Finance, Trade and Investment Minister Pierre Laporte made the announcement during Question Time in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
He was answering a question by the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly David Pierre.

Mr Pierre wanted to know of any measures the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment is considering to address the situation at the international airport where taxi drivers who station their vehicles overnight in order to secure some business are overpowered by private and tour operators’ vehicles.

Minister Laporte explained that the matter is one which involves ministries namely tourism and transport and noted that over the past few weeks a team from his and the two ministries have been in discussions to seek ways to address issues related to the matter.

A series of measures to address these issues is expected to be announced soon. Mr Laporte stressed that one of the conditions of the tour operators’ licence is to provide transport only for clients who have reservations with them as per their holiday package and not other passengers.

He further pointed out that with increasing development in the tourist market including more flights coming to Seychelles carrying different classes of visitors, these have called for various types and standards of transport to meet the different demands of clients.

“This leaves taxi operators to face increasingly tough competition,’’ added the minister.
As a result of all these developments and challenges, the government is currently reviewing and updating its transport policies so that they can address present day demands.

Minister Laporte said the authorities have received reports of drivers from some tour operators soliciting clients at the airport who do not have reservations with them and offering to transport them to their destination at much reduced fares than the taxis are offering. He noted that in many of these cases they pocket the money.

“This is against the law and it affects the taxi business as well as the reputation of tour operators concerned,” added Minister Laporte.

He commended tour operators which have disciplined their drivers caught carrying out the practice and is calling on others to do the same because otherwise the outcome of this illicit practice will tarnish their reputation.

Minister Laporte noted that these are only but some of the issues related to the taxi operators’ concern. With regard to a proposition to step up surveillance measures to curtail the situation, Minister Laporte said the agencies concerned are working on propositions as to which form of surveillance system to come up with.

On the question of what is being done to ensure taxi drivers have access to funds to buy new vehicles when the need arise so that they too can compete for high class visitors, Minister Laporte said it is important to note that taxi drivers have benefited from a lot of concessions in the past and more recently a reduction in the levy on vehicles, an increase in the number of years they can keep a vehicle among others, but stressed that measures are being considered to ensure they do not lose out on their business.

He added that more help could be forthcoming in the future but a loan system is not appropriate as taxi drivers could always approach a bank for help.