The Taxi Drivers’ Fake-Unions Negotiated Raises

Yesterday I noticed a tourist walking with shopping bags along the Bubali Bird Sanctuary to the high-rises. He was saving on taxi fares.

$22 dollars, that’s no joke.

That’s how much a roundtrip to Superfood is, from the Highrise area. $10 going, $12 coming, because the trunk is in use. The driver had to pop it open in order to accommodate groceries, $2, thank you.

Taxi fare increases just went into effect.

Why? Because they have been due for the past 9 years?!

Who negotiated the raises?

The taxi unions.

SURPRISE: In conversation with some taxi drivers I found out the so-called ‘unions,’ are fake-unions. These are just people who took it upon themselves to serve as dispatchers, they get a monthly fee from their drivers, but this is where the commercial relationship end, they have no power of attorney to do anything else, they are strictly go-betweens consumers and service providers, but they have no AUTHORITY to speak on behalf of the drivers.

So how come the MinTransTele calls them unions?

There are about five dispatcher businesses on the island, collecting fees ranging from $60 to $162 and the only function they fulfil is communication. Some of them don’t even provide two-way radios, the drivers have to buy them themselves.

Regulations? Five people maximum, they are not insured for more, even if they have space, they cannot transport more people in a taxi. Even if drivers invest in bigger cars, the number remains static courtesy of some past MinTrans who wanted to spread the wealth around.

We have 450 taxis on the island.

200 are independent, and work on their own, no dispatchers, no fake-unions.

They should be properly dressed – alas, some of them are slobs! Taxi riders on the other hand are subject to a $100 fine, if wet or careless with their drinks.

Last week I saw a familiar figure crossing the street in Oranjestad, leaving the Parliament building. Edison Briesen, the former MinTourTrans, I imagine he is now the Consigliere, the advisor. He looked good, black hair, dark suit, and briefcase. He’s back in business.  



Share on:

July 04, 2018
Rona Coster