Govt. holds off on taxi policy

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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MINISTER OF WORKS: Papali’i Niko Lee Hang and M.P.: Olo Fiti Va’ai.

MINISTER OF WORKS: Papali’i Niko Lee Hang and M.P.: Olo Fiti Va’ai.

There is good news for taxi drivers and taxi operators.

The Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) policy which sets to disregard all vehicles older than 2009 has been placed on hold. 

This was confirmed by the Minister for Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papaliitele Niko Lee-Hang and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, in Parliament.

They were responding to concerns raised by Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai, on the impact of the new policy on the taxi operators and taxi owners. 

“A total of two hundred taxis will be affected,” Olo said.

“A total of two hundred people will be out of jobs and a total of two hundred families will no longer receive financial assistance from taxis.”

Tuilaepa responded immediately saying the issue has already been addressed. 

“I have already informed the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure to look into it, given the importance of his role,” said Tuilaepa. 

Papali’itele confirmed that he too received the copy of the letter addressing this same issue. 

“The rationale we took into consideration was the fact that there were too many taxis on the road and most of the drivers have violated traffic laws. 

“However, the L.T.A. has been asked to resubmit a proposal to repeal this new policy.”

The new policy was due to be enforced on 1 March 2018. 

At the time of the announcement, Manager for Road Use Management, Tauiliili Sala Bartley, said these vehicles could be registered as private vehicles. 

“The decision has come about because of the complaints raised by the general public who are using such services daily,” Tauiliili said.  

“Some taxis do not have air condition or a customer hops inside the car and it is full of rubbish. The window and car handles are damaged. 

“Those are some of the things that concern the Land Transport Authority because we prioritise the safety of our people.” 

Tauiliili estimated that around a 100 taxis would be put out of service once the requirement comes into force.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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