Friday, January 19, 2018

‘Water taxis leaking $$’

THE Water Taxi Service continues to be a financial drain for the Government despite being beneficial to passengers.

Dr Carson Charles, president of the National Infrastructure Development Co Ltd (Nidco), the State agency responsible for the water taxi, said yesterday that, every year, there were complaints about the vessels’ financial loss.

He said: “The water taxi is heavily subsidised by the Government. It is a big loss. When you pay $15 for a fare, it actually costs over $100 for a ticket. Nobody wants to increase the fare but it is a huge financial drain. Four brand new vessels, it costs a tremendous amount of money, over $400 million.”

He said: “The water taxi service tries everything they can to mitigate against this very big loss because every year when the accounts go up, people comment about the water taxi loss.”

To ease the financial burden, a parking fee of $250 a month was introduced. Charles said that amount was a small price compared to other parking areas. However, commuters have been complaining that if one wanted to park their vehicle just for the day they were not allowed. Only monthly parking packages are  available.

Many have been parking their vehicles on the roadside near the terminal as a result.

At the San Fernando Terminal, King’s Wharf, there are 250 parking spaces. 

An official with the water taxi service said work was being done on an  electronic ticketing system. Until that system is functioning, then different types of parking passes will be issued. However, the official could not say when the system would be in place.

In 2012, then transport minister Devant Maharaj  said the heavily subsidised fare was one of the reasons why the service was under review and the planned expansion service to Point Fortin shelved.