Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 30th 2015 Contents A7
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In a bid to reduce the petroleum sub-
sidy on fuel, the Association of Maxi
Taxis of T&T has embarked on a plan
to introduce Compressed Natural Gas
(CNG) powered maxi taxis.
Executive member of the association
Brent Munroe said in addition to it being
a more environmentally friendly fuel,
replacing diesel-powered vehicles with
CNG vehicles would serve the purpose
of reducing the $4 billion fuel subsidy.
Munroe was among four members
of the association who visited China in
June on a fact-finding mission to source
suitable CNG powered maxi taxis for
T&T s market.
"We were very satisfied with the vehi-
cles we saw there and we have to put
Power maxis with CNG
Maxi Association: Shelve rapid rail plan...
a waste of taxpayers money that is going to be a heavy
burden on the Treasury for a long time to come. We
think there are cheaper alternatives that are available
to us right now but which the Government doesn t
want to implement because of their own objectives."
Munroe recalled that the feasibility study undertaken
by the former People s National Movement (PNM)
administration in 2009, which Prime Minister Dr
Keith Rowley s administration is using as the basis to
go foward with the plan, had never been made pub-
"We want to see the numbers. We want to know
how much it is costing. We want to understand all
that there is about this project. A lot of us may say
we want train but at what cost? Are citizens willing
to pay higher taxes and passengers more money every
day just for the sake of travelling on a train?" he added.
He said prior to losing the 2010 general election
the PNM had placed the cost of travel by train at a
subsidised $10 fare when maxi taxis were charging $5
for the same route.
"We are the largest stakeholders in the transportation
industry and before any decision to introduce rapid
rail is made we must be consulted. Government cannot
put more burden on taxpayers to subsidise a rapid rail
form of transportation. They are already subsidising
the water taxi to the tune of $41 million annually. If
the Government want to bring the train, do so at the
true cost, not subsidise it."
He said Government must level the playing field
because maxi taxis were 100 per cent privately owned
and were not benefiting from government subsidies.
Works Minister Fitzgerald Hinds has said he believed
the rapid rail was the best way to go to deal with the
traffic problem in the country.
steps in place to introduce those in the market as soon
"Replacing diesel-powered maxi-taxis with the
CNG powered vehicles is going to have a drastic reduc-
tion in the fuel subsidy and we think that is a step
in the right direction in keeping with Government s
policy of eradicating the fuel subsidy," Munroe said
in an interview.
Responding to concerns about insufficient CNG re-
fueling stations, Munroe said only 20 per cent of the
stations currently in place were being used.
A recent graduate of the National Gas Company
(NGC) and National Energy Skills Centre (NESC) First
Cohort of the CNG Engine Maintenance Fundamentals,
Munroe spoke of the strategic plan put forward by
NGC to have between 18-24 new CNG stations come
on stream shortly.
He assured that the new CNG powered maxi taxis
should not impact on the current fares.
To this end, he said, the association was against
Government s decision to pursue the rapid rail trans-
portation system which could destroy the livelihood
of maxi taxi drivers.
"We do not support the rapid rail. We think it is
Brent Munroe, president of the Route 5 (Brown
Band) Maxi Taxi Association, during his visit to the
T&T Guardian South office earlier this week.
PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
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