Taxi drivers says they feel cheated

by: Ashley Penn, News Reporter

Taxi Drivers posted at the Grand Bahama International Airport on Saturday afternoon said they are simply seeking a fair share of transportation jobs for passengers coming on to the island.

The discouraged cab drivers expressed utter disappointment as thousands of visitors have begun their descent on Grand Bahama with the scheduled opening of the Memories Grand Bahama Resort, but have yet to see their benefit in the major undertaking.

Sidney "Mr. Abaco"  McIntosh shared his feelings on the afternoon's events as he said he believes the jobs should have been evenly dispersed.

" We're not happy with this flight coming in because we're not getting anything.

" They gave everything to H. Forbes Charter. The taxi drivers sat down and watched a flight with 180 people and all goes to Forbes Charter.

" We understand it's what some people might have wanted, but it should have been split between the Taxi Union and Forbes Charter.

" If the Taxi Union gets it then they would be able to pay a couple of guys from the flight,"  he said.

McIntosh went on to say, "I don't think the way they advertised this flight between the Ministry of Tourism, The Government of The Bahamas and the hotel, we thought we would have gotten something from this flight.

Grand Bahama being in such a downturn for so long, people are going to the hotel, but we are not benefiting." 

Also speaking out was fellow cabby, Kirk Culmer who said taxi drivers should receive some means of compensation from the visitors.

" I'm a cab driver and I'm not happy to be sitting here watching everybody get onto the bus, we should get some piece of the pie somehow.

" I feel like if you are going to be taking people on the bus, then we should be compensated somehow, whether it's a ride around or something, not just sit here and watch everybody get on the bus. I think itâ s totally unfair,"  he said.

However, Ministry of Tourism Director General, David Johnson said Sunwing never intended for any particular group to be the lone inheritor of transportation jobs.

" It was never Sunwing's intentions that 100 percent of the business goes to any one source. I noted that the Taxi Union bus is participating in the movement but I donâ t know the arrangements that they've made.

" But, we certainly see the many operators contracting with many persons and many passengers who will not be taking bus travel as passengers coming forward,"  he said.

Johnson went on to say, "It was never and it won't ever be the right thing for the Ministry of Tourism to be a part of a program that would dislocate such a large segment of the community in the transportation business.

" Our team, led by Betty Bethel and Terrence Roberts will be cooperating and collaborating with the Taxi Union leaders and the taxi drivers themselves to see how they can benefit much more than they did today going forward as the numbers increase." 

(Published January 20, 2014)

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