The four water taxi vessels being used to transport passengers from San Fernando to Port of Spain and back are underutilised and plans are in place to construct water taxi terminals in Point Fortin and Waterloo.
Speaking at the launch of the S76D model aircraft into Trinidad and Tobago which was held at the National Helicopter Services Limited’s (NHSL) hangar at Camden Road in Couva yesterday, Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz said,”The water taxis were designed to transport up to 4,000 passengers a day, but it is now transporting 1,500 passengers a day. The vessels are underutilised. We have to look at maybe changing the schedule and a park and ride facility to encourage commuters to use the water taxi. We will be visiting Point Fortin and Waterloo next week. Reports were done some time ago, but we want to make sure that what was done in those reports are still current.”
He said construction of water taxi terminals at Point Fortin and Waterloo is expected to begin soon.
And the Trinidad and Tobago inter-island ferry service was also being examined. Cadiz said the existing ferries may have to be phased out to introduce vessels which are operated by liquified natural gas (LNG).
He said an estimated $100 million is spent on diesel fuel annually to operate the inter-island ferries, while the LNG would cost approximately $10 million a year.
“The new ferries for LNG would be powered by gas turbines rather than diesel engines. It makes economic sense that if you can save $90 million to $95 million a year by using gas that is the way to go,” he said.
The newest addition to the NHSL fleet would service Repsol ENP Trinidad and Tobago Limited, by transporting employees to its offshore platforms at Teak, Samaan and Pouis. The S76D helicopter was leased for a five-year period.