The Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) has rejected claims that there was not enough public notice on the implementation of their new policies on taxis.
The Chief Executive Officer, Ta'atialeoitiiti Agnes Tutuvanu-Schwalger, issued the rejection in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.
This week, Taxi operators expressed their frustration with the L.T.A. They claimed that L.T.A. has moved forward with their policy to disregard 2003 registered vehicles for commercial transport, without any public notice.
Fa’asavalu Soane is one of the many taxi operators whose vehicle is no longer allowed to service under the said policy.
However, Mrs. Tutuvanu-Schwalger said their public notice has been published on their Facebook page since last year.
“Since September 2017, L.T.A. has informed the public through public notices and on our website and Facebook page that effective March 2018, vehicles fifteen (15) years and older will no longer be accepted as taxis.
“The reason for this is to ensure the quality of public service vehicles in Samoa such as taxis are of a high standard and therefore safe, roadworthy and fit to use for public service.
“The position of L.T.A. was confirmed by the Prime Minister and Government by way of Cabinet Directive dated 28 February, 2018, which confirms the policies now enforced by the L.T.A,” said the C.E.O.
According to the C.E.O, taxis that range from the 2002 model and older are no longer acceptable as taxis and will be converted to private vehicles only.
“Taxis that are a 2003 model and newer are eligible for registration/re-registration as a taxi if and only the taxi satisfies all vehicle inspection requirements and technical specifications.
“Failure to comply with the inspection requirements will result in the taxi being rejected and converted to a private vehicle.”
As reported this week, Mr. Soane told the Samoa Observer all his life he has been a taxi driver and this is the only form of employment he knows. That is why this policy has taken a toll on their family affairs.
“I am the breadwinner of my family, now I don’t know where I can get some money to take care of my family.
“This is very frustrating.”
Mr. Soane said he was surprised when he went to register his taxi, only to be told that his vehicle can no longer operate as a taxi under the new policy.
“I don’t understand why L.T.A. has superseded what the Prime Minister said during Parliament that the government has rescinded the said decision.
“I came to register my taxi only to be told by the L.T.A. employees that my car is no longer allowed to be utilised for a taxi due to the year of registration.
“They said I needed to pay for a registration for a private vehicle and so I left.
“I was shocked,” said Mr. Soane.
Tutuvanu-Schwalger also urges members of the public to submit all feedback directly to their offices at Vaitele or Salelologa in Savaii by phone or via their Facebook page or through their email address: firstname.lastname@example.org for their staff to review and assess all cases before acceptable resolutions which benefit both the public and the L.T.A are provided.