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Taxi services picking up, says owner

Business for taxi service owners is getting back to normal, following a challenging six weeks for taxi operators brought on by a state of emergency (S.O.E.)-connected lockdown.

Fesola'i Tia'i, who owns the Lepele Taxi Stand at Vaitele Uta, told Samoa Observer that they faced a lot of challenges when the S.O.E. began with taxis getting minimal to no passengers.

But with the relaxing of the S.O.E. orders in recent weeks, he said business has started to pick up for taxi service operators.

"Things haven't gone entirely back to normal but now it is getting better, not like how it was at first," he said.

Prior to the relaxing of the S.O.E. orders, Mr Tia'i said his taxi drivers would make about T$20 a day, but their takings has increased by 150 to 200 per cent with a driver now collecting between T$50 to T$60 a day.

He added that the increase in their daily takings is close to what each taxi driver would make in their suburb, as on a normal day before the declaration of the S.O.E., a taxi would make about T$80 a day.

A peak period for Lepele Taxi Stand taxis would depend on the area where they are stationed in the community. Using the Vaitele area as an example, Mr Tia'i said the peak period for most of the taxis in his stand is early in the morning, when members of the public need transport to go to work.

The demand for taxi services then drops off during the day and picks up again in the evening when people finish work and need to go home.

Mr Tia'i revealed that the recent Mother’s Day long weekend proved to be a busy one for his drivers with each taxi collecting around $100. 

And if last weekend’s demand is any indication, the businessman is confident that things are now going back to normal after the lockdown.

The Lepele Taxi Stand at Vaitele Uta currently has three taxis one of which is driven by Mr Tia'i. There are also additional taxis owned by other people stationed at the same taxi stand. 

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