What’s happening with car rentals!

This story was on the backburner for a long time. I have never had an issue with a car rental company, so I did not pay much attention to circulating stories.

But my column about the scarcity of taxi rides, brought an avalanche of private messages around the topic of car rentals.

But first more about taxi crisis.

From a reader: During the reign of Otmar Oduber as the minister, the number of people a taxicab may transport was reduced from 7 to 5, to secure more work for the taxistas. Today, many cabbies own vans capable of accommodating more passengers, but it would be against the law to load up. Maybe it’s time to reverse this law to its original format?

Also, the license comes with restrictions: A cabby gets 45 days of vacation, in which he can ask a friend to sub for him. Otherwise, each vehicle can only have one driver, which means that older cabbies work a few hours, and their cab is parked idle the rest of time. If they are sick, they can ask a friend to sub for them, for the duration of their illness. This must be reversed too to allow the cabs a second shift with another driver, as a sublet!

FACT: After 3pm the Watty Vos Boulevard is jammed, so that it takes much longer to shuttle visitors to their hotels and get back to the airport. At night, restaurants, and hotels, get stuck with long lines of guests waiting for rides, while cabs are stuck in traffic. When there are too many people on the island the quality of service is out of whack. Remember, taxi drivers are like pilots, they can only drive a few hours a day, not more, so it would make sense to loosen the restrictions and allow second drivers.

And then regarding car rentals

From a Reader: I can tell you all about car rentals. Aruba is free for all. The previous minister of transportation made a business of “giving” out V plates. People operating vacation rentals, rent out their A plate wheels. All kinds of small companies, friends of the former minister, popped up like mushrooms after the rain. The current minister is trying to clean up this mess. There are so many V plates out there that people “own” and try to do business with. The taxes on these plates have not been paid, so they are stuck at SIAD because SIAD will not release them, unless….. It’s the typical rotzooi, mess, the one you regularly see on Aruba. You have the large car rentals who adhere to the law, and then you have these cowboys destroying the rental car business. We need laws to control a lot of businesses, but we all know it will never happen. And speaking of regulation-absence: Vacation rentals are unregulated, they aren’t taxed, while the resorts are up to their eyeballs in taxes. It’s just a wild west. The illegal taxis flourish, with people who have a few hours to spare, or others who rent out their own cars. I can rant forever, but I will stop here.

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March 20, 2024
Rona Coster