The Future of Taxis in Jersey

Image of JerseyThe head of the taxi drivers association has said that new plans to overhaul Jersey’s taxi service “could throw the industry in chaos”.

His comments came after transport minister Deputy Kevin Lewis said that Jersey could soon face a single type of taxi service meaning that current taxi services would have to adapt in the near future. Currently, each firm that is owned individually can be operated differently and have varying fare prices, which is why Mike Tostevin, president of the Taxi Drivers Association, has said that the plans have not been properly thought through.

He added: “This raises far more questions than it actually answers.

“This report has not action plan whatsoever, it is just throwing the industry up in the air and saying ‘you sort it out’.”

In a recently issued white paper, Kevin Lewis outlined his plans for restructuring the taxi services in Jersey which he says will improve services and increase the amount of drivers.  He added: “We have problems at the airport where cab drivers can’t pick up unless there are no taxi’s there.

“There have been instances in the past where people have come out to get a cab and you have two drivers, a cab and taxi driver, remonstrating with each other and demanding the other leaves.” Lewis believes that his new plans will create a better system and improve the industry for around 380 people that work in Jersey.

In a survey conducted in 2012 by the Transport and Technical Services department it revealed there were very few who understood the two tiered system that is currently in place. The survey also revealed that the service wasn’t clear when it came to prices and that there were gaps in accessibility for disabled users.

However, Mike Tostevin said: “The taxi service in Jersey is very reasonable and I think the minister is taking the easy route here.

“What the minister should be doing is looking at the parts of the industry that need tweaking and easing.”

In his white paper Mr Lewis also outlined other measures he believed should be put in place for drivers’ fitness and the care of their customers.

In other news, the head of the Bromsgrove Taxi Association is hopeful for a decision to be reached for a new longer rank in Worcester Road.

In May of this year plans were proposed to increase the size of the taxi rank in Worcester Road from holding three cars to eight, however these were thrown out by the Bromsgrove District Councils Licensing Committee. One of the reasons why the association wished to increase the size of the taxi rank situated on Worcester Road was that the town’s nightspots are situated there and therefore it can often become overly busy.

The proposal had originally been rejected because several local businesses put in objections along with the West Mercia Police and the senior traffic managers at Worcestershire County Council. The main reason behind the objection was visibility issues and obstruction concerns as well as the loss of parking spaces, pedestrian safety and the potential increase of flooding which is caused when any road is widened.

Mr Eacock spoke about the plans when they were thrown out back in May and has now said: “Although the initial proposal was rejected, the licensing committee has put forward an alternative proposal that would be acceptable to Bromsgrove Taxi Association and to council members.

“This new proposal will now have to go through the normal procedures and then back out to public consultation before any decision is made.

“I am hopeful that this will be a compromising solution to resolve the issue.”

Having a bigger taxi rank in this area will increase business as potential customers won’t have to look elsewhere when there are no vehicles available. It would also create more jobs and mean more money for drivers who have to pay their fuel and taxi insurance premiums. Another meeting to discuss the plans will be held in March 2014.

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