Taxi owners operating at a loss – says NTU president

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Taxi owners operating at a loss – says NTU president


Amid criticism regarding the National Taxi Union’s (NTU) move to get an increase in its fares, President Lucien Joseph said the union remains firm on its position, stating that taxi owners have been living “hand to mouth for too long.”

Joseph told St Lucia News Online (SNO) in an exclusive interview: “I believe the general public is not fair and that they do not know what they are talking about, and I think they know very well that we have had to absorb about 20 increases in regards of fuel and every other thing.”

The NTU president also noted that while taxis have been working with one rate since 1999, hotels have given increases to travel agents, every year all over the world.

“So if now we are saying the time has come for us to look for an increase in income, I don’t understand why the general public is saying what they are saying,” Joseph told SNO.

He explained that the union has not pushed for an increase before because of the concessions taxi operators received from government.

“We believed that it was in our benefit, so that we will hold the rates down, but we were barely breaking even in 2001 and now it is costing 70 percent more to run a taxi. Now we are running the business at a loss,” Joseph added.

Many commuters however have questioned the move, asking why there is a need for increases in fares when the taxi drivers are at liberty to negotiate the prices with tourists.

One concerned citizen said on a local radio programme that he believes that the union is fighting the wrong fight. He believes that the matter should be sorted out between the taxi driver and the resorts that are primarily responsible for the boarding and lodging of the tourists, and not engaging in selling the tourism itself and doing the transfers.

Persons close to the industry said despite the ability to negotiate with tourists, they still believe that the increases should be made official, so that a rate sheet can be issued. This, they said, will ensure that both tourists and taxi owners are satisfied and that no one walks away feeling underpaid or ripped off.

Joseph said the union will be meeting with the government on Friday, August 29 to deal with issues relating to taxes and will also use that forum to discuss the possible increase.

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38 COMMENTS

  1. Lucien has learned from the politicians (Guy Joseph), make a lot of noise even if you are not any making sense, the people will reelect you. Make it look like you care, even if you actions say otherwise. According to Lucien they were barely breaking even in 2001, and it costs 70% more to run a taxi now. Am I to believe that they are running a Taxi at 60-70% loss? Really!!

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  2. Take a good look at the average taxi driver. They all own decent homes and have enough spare cash to gamble. They don't deserve a penny raise. They are aiming to run off the very tourist they depend on.

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  3. Gassa I do not like that Lucien feller. Can't even talk properly but think he is all that! Dislike just like I dislike Kenny!

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  4. Compass Needle,
    You have expressed my feelings. These drivers are trapped in a one-track frame of mind. They have not explored the concept of changing their business model. In no way they can compete against the public buses, however, they can lower the prices a bit to gain a second look. I have seen over and over again tourists taking the local buses. The local population do not even bother with the taxis unless it's like a baby delivery or something near an emergency. Whose fault it it is? The customer?

    I myself do not take taxis when I am home because the price does not meet reality. Maybe the association needs to come together and talk about the issue seriously. Encourage the idea of volume, where you make more trips for the same pay. Avoid sitting all day waiting for one big score...sometimes it never happens. This is a case of adapt or die.

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  5. Let me just say this, Lucien is a joker, he is only for himself. Kenny fix him up in all way. The only taxi driver who make the least amount of monies is Southern Taxi Association. one trip to Castries on a bus is less the $300.OO some hotels about 330.00 about DOLARS EC. A car is about $180-$190ec. Fuel bill for the month is over $1200.00.A monthly average income for a taxi driver from VF at the Airport is $3500 with a bus and a car m$2500. off seasons it lower. The Upgraded cars you see is forced on STA because Sandals, and now SLUREP, and now JADE MOUNTAINS, Ladera, Sugar beach, all using other outside persons to come to the airport in the name on high end clients, although some of the cards used are nowhere close. Lucien Knows because he is part and parcel of the behind the seen work. some members are struggling to pay their depts. and maintain their family's, Some time they don't even work for 3-4 day out of the week. they also resort to competing with their own because all the work at the airport goes to private persons, like chevy, and others while STA members are left to bleach, There are more desk at the arrival area now than ever before. The hotel TAXIS and Cruise Ship taxis make the money. and some of these guys when the drop off guest at the airport the undercut prices with sandals and the reps to bring trips back up. The STA members don't have that opportunity. Lucien is a failure for the TAXI driver on the island more so STA members, he used to get a cash trip form VF HIA any time he drops guest, he was accommodated by his friend on STA executive at the expense of the members.

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  6. Everybody want raise but public servants must take a pay cut. All these increases affecting public servants too you know. For those people like the bakers, minibus drivers, taxi drivers airlines, supermarkets, banks etc, they not selfish. It is justified. But public servants greedy. You think that's fair? Public servants not driving BMW and LEXUS.

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  7. My sentiments exactly. Where did that ignorant guy learn statistics. Prove the 70% you talking about. All you do is run your big Red mouth. Party Hack.

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  8. i have been around these taxi guys for some time now, i am a taxi pirate not ashamed to say it, (nutting eh running in de country) and let me tell you these taxi guys make money, esp when these cruiseship season is open or we have major events like the jazz festival. you make 200-300 us a day and you call that a loss some people take an entire month to make that money. and after these taxi guys have several pegs, plus most of them have minibuses on the road they still complain. the with these guys is that they are too greedy and want to live a very lavish and foolish lifestyle, most of them make bom and love to gamble

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  9. Mr.Joseph What stats you have to support your claim that taxi drivers operate at 70% loss? Thats unbelievable.Bring the stats in the open.

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  10. Man the whole country except for govt ministers operating at a loss and what can we do or say but just struggle smh. So that thing u talkin about there just keep it to yourself. Cuz the raise u an all the other ppl want to raise only makin it harder

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  11. bus driver complaining about operating at a loss,but they should ask themselves: 1.How many public buses are in saint Lucia?
    2.how many new drivers are employed every year plus the ones that are a
    lready there.
    3.The amount of hours spent on the road
    4.Saint Lucia population .
    5.Picture themselves dividing profits among those drivers.

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  12. I wonder if the owners of backhoes, trucks, goods vehicles deserve an increase too. the way it is now is that Joseph is complaining that taxi drivers have to foot huge bills to acquire new vehicles because they no longer receive concessions. Don't the ordinary St. Lucian have to pay the same price for a vehicle to do their work?

    When a taxi makes a trip to Vieux Fort and makes US$200- US$300, my god most people don't even make that in a month. You gotta be kidding me. The way this government and their stooges go about bleeding this country its like theres no tomorrow.

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    • no taxi makes a trip to vf and makes that amount of money in us dollars you said there it is 200 to 300 ec depending on which part of the island you coming from if it is from the direct north it will be maybe close to the three hundred ec not us dollars 200 to 300 us dollars is alot in our currency lol

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      • I could not believe what I was hearing $300 us dollars to Castries. It was cheaper for me to rent a car, so I did, and dropped it off at Gros islet. I've heard that from other St. lucians here also. That might not be all the drivers, but it is not helping their overall situation.

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        • that is not true no one charges 300 us dollars to drop any one to castries right now the rate from castries to vf airport is abt 75 to 90 us dollars depending on how far castries

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          • So you are telling that if I had given the $300 us that he asked for , he would not have taken it. Bullshit!!!

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  13. After them forkers getting concessions on new vehicles, they not paying tax they still operating at a loss? Gosh man...These men are just greedy. Some of yall instead of running woman and having children all about the place. Im sure if you treat what you do as a "business" you will be better off!!!

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  14. Lucien Joseph right to ask for more. Look bus drivers getting so what happen taxi drivers cannot get too. Workers you'll need to join Lucien and not ask but demand an increase from your employers. Ununionized workers get your act together join.the union movement so you have strength in numbers and have these employers pay you'll more.
    Employers are making a killing despite the vat. I know so I can tell you that. I know of one that has come up with ways to reduce the amount vat they are paying to government. And its almost I
    Possible for vat office auditors to detect. I know so I can tell you.

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  15. This Joseph guy publicly accused Chastanet of trying to. Kill local taxi operators by with the Blue Bus Idea, but see it could happen even without Blue Bus. I'm really happy that HACKS like him are feeling the financial pressure that gov't workers would feel if their salaries are cut. May be he will see things with clear glasses and not Red or yellow.

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  16. 1. There are too many taxis chasing a fixed amount of business. About twice as many per visitor as anywhere else
    2. The regional associations (better called cartels) seek to prevent non-local taxis from picking up in their "area". Worst of all of course at the airports. Result many taxis are forced to drive one leg of their journey empty so doubling their costs with no extra income.
    3. Neither taxi nor minibus drivers have any idea on fuel efficient driving. "Pedal to the Metal" should be across all of their windscreens.
    4. If taxis are really operating at a loss how comes they are still in business?????

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  17. I'm sure mr Lucien have traveled more than me, to see how taxi operates especially in New York. ...there are dollar cabbies, yellow cabs each has their own rates...so why don't they try what compass needle saying. .think out of the box Norbie

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  18. Visit www.stluciaairportshuttle.com - Try requesting a taxi quote and you will realise that their taxi rates are at least 45% less than the regulated rates in St Lucia to both visitors and locals alike. These guys are members of the taxi association and can afford to be competitive despite all 20 increases he is talking about. He is too blind to realize that the problem exist withing the his organisation and members.

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    • You can't blame the competition. The associations need to step up their game and optimise their website to get online business. Janus is a personal friend and was a very smart kid at school. I'm not surprise that he makes millions from his many websites while Southern Taxi and NTU cry fowl. They need to make technology work for them .

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  19. if taxi drivrs use more fuel efficient, less expensive vehicles, that would help with the situation wouldn't you say Mr.joseph. Also compass needle's idea willo help you along the way. you guys already are getting great incentives...remember you guys don't pay tax, unlike the rest of us...

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