loader image
Search
Close this search box.

SHARED TRANSPORT SERVICES IN ARUBA: IT HAS ITS ADVANTAGES

SHARED TRANSPORT SERVICES IN ARUBA: IT HAS ITS ADVANTAGES

Traditional taxi service has played a role for a long time in providing transportation to tourists in Aruba. For residents, using taxi service is not an everyday option. Except for emergencies, the cost and level of service discourage you from using taxis as public transportation. However, the digital age has introduced various innovative transportation options globally, especially through ride-sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft. The discussion remains, what are the advantages of shared transport services in Aruba.

Despite their international success, traditional taxis in Aruba strongly oppose these modern alternatives. This resistance overlooks the potential benefits of the sharing economy and the reality of many informal transportation services already operating in Aruba, sometimes called “pirate taxis” or “Uber.” It’s time to advocate for a more inclusive transportation framework that formalizes these services, ensuring they contribute to the economy while simultaneously improving the island’s transportation infrastructure.

GLOBAL SUCCESS

Uber, Lyft, and similar services have revolutionized transportation worldwide, offering users unparalleled convenience through smartphone apps. Users enjoy transparent pricing, simple payment methods, and the ability to choose from various vehicle options. For drivers, whether they are taxi drivers, students, or anyone looking to supplement their income, these platforms provide flexible work hours and the opportunity to earn according to their schedule. This mutual benefit has led to the widespread acceptance of Uber and Lyft worldwide, marking a significant shift in how people view and use public transportation.

TRADITIONAL TAXI OPPOSITION

Traditional taxi services in Aruba, like in other countries where ride-sharing has been introduced, express concerns about potential competition. In Aruba, current regulations require taxi permit holders to use this work as their primary source of income, preventing them from having other sources of income. This has been confirmed in a court decision in 2017. If we ask ourselves why a “regular Joe” wouldn’t be allowed to offer transportation services until it’s not his primary source of income? And if it were his primary source of income? What makes our taxis so unique? Taxis fear that the introduction of these platforms could saturate the market, reduce their market share, lower their earnings, or force them to provide better service to maintain their earnings. While somewhat understandable, this perspective overlooks the broader benefits of innovation and competition, including service quality improvement and accessibility for consumers, locals, and tourists alike.

CURRENT INFORMAL TRANSPORTATION IN ARUBA

Beyond formal taxi services, Aruba has many other formal and informal transportation options. It’s not hard to find local “Uber” WhatsApp numbers. Some informal services are coordinated via chat groups or offered by individual providers. However, their informal nature means they contribute little or nothing to taxes, missing the opportunity to support the island’s public finances. Additionally, taxis mainly operate on a cash basis and may generate minimal tax revenue. Furthermore, taxes are levied on their vehicles without paying import duties.

SAFETY OF TRANSPORT SERVICES

While filling the gap in transportation needs, these services operate without official supervision, raising concerns about safety, trust, and legality. A good point, but taxis pay the same car insurance, whether it’s All-Risk or third party, as the rest of us, except they are also required to carry some type of liability insurance for passengers, which I imagine only comes into effect after the car insurance coverage is exhausted. I reviewed the “National Passenger Transportation Decree” regulations, and I couldn’t help but shake my head in disbelief. AWG 1,000.– per passenger in case of death or injury! Seriously? Is that the incredible benefit and safety of riding in a taxi? Adding AWG 1000 per passenger in case of death or injury? I imagine that most people who want to participate in a ride-sharing program wouldn’t be worried about paying an additional liability insurance policy.

FORMALIZATION AND REGULATION CASE

Formalizing these informal services through established platforms provides a way to address these challenges. Uber requires and will comply with minimum insurance and other requirements. Standardization will ensure safety and trust through background checks and vehicle inspections, while mandatory compliance will include these operations in the legal framework, contributing to tax revenue. This change will improve the quality and safety of transportation options in Aruba and ensure a fair contribution to the economy from all service providers.

TAXIMETER AND FARE

Speaking of taxes, I noted that the regulations require taxis to install a meter in their taxis, which the public transportation ministry enforces. Operating or using a taxi without this meter is illegal. The legislature was right in implementing this requirement, with the exception of… here comes the drum roll… this requirement is not applied… ever! Never! Too burdensome to comply with and lack of transparency. Another excellent example of “good governance, bad politics.”

SHARED TRANSPORT SERVICES ADVANTAGES FOR ARUBA

The introduction of ride-sharing platforms in Aruba could significantly enhance the island’s appeal as a tourist destination, giving visitors easy and reliable transportation options. In addition to that, formalizing ride-sharing can stimulate job creation (part-time or secondary), offer residents more transportation options, and potentially generate environmental benefits by reducing traffic congestion and emissions through ride-sharing. This change will collectively contribute to a more sustainable and efficient transportation ecosystem.

ADDRESSING TAXI DRIVER CONCERNS ABOUT SHARED TRANSPORT SERVICES

A collaborative approach is essential to mitigate the impact on traditional taxi services. Strategies could include offering training for taxi drivers to adapt and thrive in the new digital landscape or developing a hybrid model that allows them to benefit from technological advancements. Examples from other countries show that traditional taxis and ride-sharing platforms can coexist, each serving a unique market segment and contributing to a diverse transportation network. Many of us have ridden in a taxi that functions as Uber or Lyft. They only display their taxi signs when doing so. This could also work in Aruba.

BALANCING INNOVATION OF SHARED TRANSPORT SERVICES AND TRADITION IN ARUBA’S TRANSPORTATION

In our exploration of the transportation landscape in Aruba, particularly the integration of ride-sharing platforms, it is essential to develop a multifaceted perspective that truly encapsulates the concerns, opportunities, and inherent solutions in this transition. Recognizing the legitimate concerns of traditional taxi services involves not only listening to their challenges but actively seeking ways to ensure their inclusion and adaptation in the changing market landscape.

To enrich the narrative and strengthen the argument in favor of ride-sharing, direct interaction with the spectrum of stakeholders (taxi drivers, government agencies, and potential ride-sharing users) through structured interviews or surveys can reveal detailed perspectives and encourage a more inclusive dialogue. 

This article has been translated for your reading convenience from the local news outlet 24Ora, who did an interview with a local lawyer regarding this subject.

Need to grab a taxi now? use the following links:

https://maps.app.goo.gl/yz51xB4Xv6UAmwbF8

https://www.arubataxiservice.com/

SHare

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subcribe

TRENDING ARTICLES