Last week the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Transport introduced a new mobile app that will help passengers get a quick quote for their taxi journey; however, at the same time Government also announced that taxi fares would be going up.
The mobile app is called CO:GO and is a digital taxi fare calculator that allows passengers to quote their journey in advance by dropping a pin or entering the pickup and drop-off location of an intended ride. Users then specify the number of passengers and how many pieces of luggage they will be transporting. The app will then calculate the fare in both CI and and US dollars. Users can also get a breakdown of the fare, edit the trip, split the fare or get directions as well.
Public Transport Board Chairperson and Director of Tourism, Rosa Harris, said the launch of CI:GO represented a modernisation of the public transport system and provided greater transparency on the national taxi fare schedule to residents and visitors alike.
“We encourage the public to use the taxi service and feel empowered to quote their journey in advance. Taxi fares are now in the palm of your hand,” she said.
Government also introduced a new national taxi fare schedule, which came into effect last week on Friday. Fares in the new schedule have increased, but there are also some benefits for passengers. The new schedule moves the average party size from three to four, which means an increase in the number of people riding a taxi at the same rate. In addition, the first two pieces of luggage are now free and after-hour fares are now scheduled, removing the need for a 25 per cent surcharge.
Deputy Premier and Minister of District Administration, Tourism and Transport, Moses Kirkconnell, said the new schedule balanced the need for taxi operators to make a reasonable living wage and for the public to have access to the public transport system at a fair rate.
“As the cost of living has increased, operators have unfortunately been left behind. The minimal increase in rates is an acknowledgement of the valuable service these operators provide to the general public, especially as tourism ambassadors for our stayover visitors,” he explained.
Deputy Premier Kirkconnell said the government had listened to feedback from the community on a variety of matters such as the need for regulated taxi fares and general concerns about the state of transportation overall.
“I am confident PTB’s strategic plan provides a blueprint for a strengthened public transport system; one that reinforces our commitment to providing safe transportation options that are well regulated and creates additional entrepreneurship within the Caymanian community,” he stated.