We’re calling for help regarding the UTV/ATV situation.

One of my friends writes: I have a hunch that the UTV/ATV operations found a weakness in terms of the law because in the existing legislation UTV/ATVs fall in a category of cars. That is why they can get license plates and can even get V -plates and can be rented out to individuals.

Recently we noticed a new UTV/ATV business in the neighborhood of Salina Cerca, and a new tour company in Pos Abao.

All other companies augmented their fleets considerably.

Can we fault the local distributor for the tour operator’s cheap and easy market-entry, and the tour operators for the irresponsible manner in which these vehicles are used??

With daily accidents, it has become clear that we need strong legislation to curb the use of these vehicles, last year a girl lost a limb and everybody was horrified for a couple of days and then nothing changed. This week we heard the sirens again, a quad racer overturned behind the lighthouse, and you can see on social media the eternal question pops up: Are these vehicles ever inspected??

Finally, last month we heard from DTI, they are trying, they are talking, they want to see, KPA needs to help. Basically, going nowhere.

The only positive move so far was the closure of the Shete park entrance. But it DOUBLED the pressure on the San Fuego neighborhood. A neighbor writes: I live in San Fuego and after closing the Shete entrance to Parke Arikok we have to deal with 200-300 buggies and quads, on a daily basis. And we are confronted with several people from the government with all different stories and changing promises. Can you publish about this huge problem? People have health problems, we have to keep doors and windows closed till 7 pm. Meanwhile they asphalted all, even dead-end roads at Marawiel. It does not make sense at all. Is it all about who you know?

Dear neighbor, it’s economic. There is a lot of money in this business.

These vehicles rent for $150 – $180 per vehicle, running 2 tours a day. During peak season some tours have 12 vehicles per tour, 2 tours a day. Taking an average price of $165×24 = that’s $3,960 a day.  They work 6 days a week, that amounts to $23,760 a week, this sums up to Awg 41.580 a week. Even if they run only 8 weeks out of the year at full capacity that will gross them Awg 332.640. And that is a lot of money. I do NOT think their expenses are very high. Even if they lease these vehicles from the distributor, pay 2 guides, buy a couple of water bottles, there is still a lot left over.

And operators are not committed to the Aruba product and environment.

Neither are legislators.

So far nothing is happening.

We must start a conversation, to encourage more self-regulation, and hopefully a long term solution will follow with sensible regulation that keeps offering a fun product demanded by visitors, and makes money for locals, respecting traffic laws, public roads, and the environment, at the same time.

ALL EQUALLY IMPORTANT. You cannot sacrifice one for the other.

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May 17, 2019
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