Taxi association calls for dialogue on venture

Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the launch of taxi Eftpos machine. Picture: FT FILE/RAMA

THE Fiji Taxi Association (FTA) is questioning the new initiative that allows taxi drivers to install EFTPOS machines.

FTA general secretary Ashwin Lal said the association was not consulted or made aware of the new venture.

“It would be prudent to say that the opinion of all the taxi industry stakeholders should be taken before such ventures or any new products are introduced in the taxi industry,” Mr Lal said.

“The taxi industry welcomes any initiative that should be viable to accept and there should be transparency when such products are introduced.”

He said the association had questions about the new venture, which should have been addressed before its introduction.

“This venture, for instance, will have added cost to the taxi proprietor and we are sure there are a lot of conditions in fine print that will have added cost in such venture that can turn out very costly.

“Imagine a unit getting stolen, what is the cost for replacing one?

“Who bears the cost of replacing it? It would be true to say that the Government will only give grant once.

“What are the risk factors for the installation of such units in vehicles as majority of the taxis are now operating hybrid vehicles that can have serious consequences if wiring problems occur?

“The EFTPOS machine uses internet to connect and will the connection be available in all parts of the country as taxis are mobile and keep changing locations as per job requirements?

“What is the risk to the driver if the unit is stolen?

“Definitely, the owner will demand the driver to pay since the vehicle is in the drivers’ care and control.

“Some taxi operators have different drivers driving the same taxi in shift operations, which poses another headache of accounting for income at the change of each driver shift. So the list goes on and there should be some consultations done.”

Questions sent to the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Minister for Transport Jone Usamate last Monday have remained unanswered.

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