Guests joke about it on TripAdvisor calling the illegal jitneys operating as legitimate public transportation, the TCI’s version of ‘Uber’… saying we had Uber before Uber was ever launched in the US as a regulated form of transportation, which allows private people to use their personal vehicles as public taxi cabs.
But now it is reaching a head and the Ministry of Tourism today speaks up because apparently, more and more tourists are taking jitneys as taxi cabs.
“The Ministry of Tourism does not support this action and would like to encourage all visitors to refrain from using jitney services. The Ministry is further soliciting assistance from hoteliers and the general public alike, to ensure that visitors are aware of the same.”
What is awkward here is that thousands of residents have no choice but to use this form of transportation in the absence of a public bus system and with no way to get a taxi even if they wanted to. But there is no talk of residents’ safety; Government in the release is focused strictly on the guests.
Since February 2013, there had been a promise by the PNP Administration to run a survey to assess how the country could and would institute proper public transportation.
This problem of jitneys has been allowed to fester for at least the last decade despite reports of robberies, rapes, smelly, hot vehicles, horrific driving and overcrowded cars loaded with strangers.
Many have spoken up on it including the Leader of the Opposition PDM and Chairman of Cabinet, Governor Peter Beckingham who has urged the Government to create a transportation policy.
The Ministry was adamant today with, “Jitney service operations are not regulated in the Turks and Caicos Islands and are illegal. The Ministry of Tourism is keen on ensuring the safety of all visitors to these Islands and as such, strongly advise against this act.”
Magnetic Media has already sent query to the Ministry of Tourism about why they are not as keen on ensuring the safety of residents who are forced to use this mode of transportation, often with their children in tow, every single day.