St. Maarten taxi driver Arrindell has more to say

POSTED: 11/6/13 1:17 PM

“Everybody is doing what they want”

St. Maarten / By Jason Lista – Local taxi driver Ruffino Arrindell of taxi 35 is not a happy man right now with the way things are going. Since his last interview with Today he returned to point out a few more issues in the island’s taxi industry that he feels are unjust and downright illegal. He said that there are some cabs that are simultaneously using the same license plate numbers on different vehicles, adding that it means they’re not insured. “How can the police not see this?” he pleaded emphatically. “Right now everybody is doing what they want.”

He also pointed out that the taxi licenses are very specific about the maximum number of passengers a vehicle should hold. Many taxis on the road today are clearly too small and violate the ordinance regulating the industry, Arrindell declared.

What is happening too, he said, is the removal of the G and T class licenses on larger vehicles, like tour buses, and putting them on smaller cars and vans. Those plates have to be on vehicles with at least 23 seats. “And they are multiplying like ants right now,” Arrindell fumed.

The worst part of it, he added, “was that our kids, their lives are being put in jeopardy” because the G plates are being removed from some school buses and replaced with M plates. Insurance for M plates only covers 7 passengers down, he said. “And the receiver’s office, the police, everybody is driving behind them and they are not doing anything.”

He pointed to a video on his phone of a handicapped taxi driver, driving one of the T-50 plates, who only has the use of one arm, his left arm, which is against the law regarding public transportation. A driver of any publicly used vehicle must be in sound physical condition to ensure the safety of the passengers, who are the driver’s responsibility.

“We want to continue” with the story. “I want to get the full attention of the politicians, because it needs to stop,” Arrindell said of these kinds of practices in a market that he feels is not only oversaturated, but may even endanger the lives of tourists and the international image of St. Maarten. “It has to stop, someone has to speak out about it and I’m not afraid.”

“We are a young country. We are maturing,” he said. “People cannot continue to believe that St. Maarten people are running some banana republic.”

 

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