Taxi permit concern

Taxis wait outside a supermarket to pick up passengers in Suva last night. Picture: JONA KONATACI

THE Lautoka Residents and Ratepayers Association claims that successful taxi permit applicants in the Western Division will have to fork out up to $6000 to get their businesses up and running. Association vice-president Narayan Reddy claimed this defeated the whole purpose of lifting the permit freeze and opening up opportunities for low income earners.

“We do not think this initiative was analysed thoroughly by the Land Transport Authority before being rolled out because the very people it is trying to help will find it quite difficult to come up with that sort of money,” Mr Reddy said.

“They will need quite a bit of money to obtain a vehicle if they don’t already own one and deposit could be anywhere up to $3000 or more. “Then they have to purchase a taxi meter for about $380, taxi sign $75, signage on front, back and inside of vehicle costs $50, first aid kit is $35, business licence $20, defensive driving $75, getting a Public Service Vehicle licence costs $200 and police clearance $19. “On top of all that, they will need to have about $800 cash in hand if they get past the hurdle of obtaining a bank loan.”

Mr Narayan made the comment in reference to the LTA’s announcement on May 26 on the first call for 1557 new permits for Lautoka and Nadi.

In response to the association’s claims, the LTA said that just like any other business, there were basic requirements that had to be met.

“Any start-up requires some level of expenses, and therefore the taxi permit can be used as a collateral to get loans from the bank to cater for the requirements as necessary for the operation of the taxi business in line with Land Transport Authority (LTA) Public Service Vehicle rules and regulations,” said LTA.