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Crackdown: No operation if taxis don’t have fire extinguisher, not maintained

Director of the Taxi & Livery Commission Dameon Percival at the scene of Tuesday’s tour bus fire.

The Taxi and Livery Commission said it will be cracking down on taxi operators as it relates to vehicle safety; this after a tour bus burst into flames while carrying tourists around the island of Tortola on Tuesday.

“What we’re going to have to do now is make sure that every bus has their fire extinguisher and persons who don’t have it can’t operate. It’s that simple,” said Commission director, Dameon Percival, adding that a proposal will be made to the minister responsible for transportation.

National Democratic Party legislator Mark Vanterpool currently handles that portfolio.

“I know it’s close to election but I’m going to even speak to the minister, whether incoming or outgoing, to put that in law to make it mandatory,”

More vigilance, vehicles working hard because of volume of cruise calls

The taxi commission director is also considering partnering with companies that maintain local tour buses to, perhaps, provide visible stickers that would show that vehicles are up-to-date as it relates to maintenance.

Percival also said Tuesday’s accident highlights the need for increased vehicle maintenance training for taxi operators.

“What we’re looking at is that fact that the vehicles have been working kind of hard because of the amount of ships coming in. So, we know there is a lot of wear and tear on the vehicles.”

“Fire suppression training also has to be an annual thing,” the taxi commision boss inserted. “We did one in the past but we haven’t done one last year. But, we do take measures to prevent these kinds of things. We at the Commission are trying our best with everything but one or two might slip through the cracks.”

He continued: “We will be a bit more vigilant now. We’ll look out for more things now, look at how we can help them (tour operators) with the heavy workload to try and prevent things like this (the fire) from happening.”

Investigation

Police have launched an investigation into the fire that destroyed the tour bus in question. Preliminary indications are that the vehicle caught fire because of ‘mechanical difficulty’. Percival told BVI News that fire officers indicated at the scene that the bus had a broken power-steering fuel line.

No one was injured in the incident, which happened while the bus was heading up the Joes Hill Public Road on Tortola.

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17 Comments

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  1. Me. Again says:

    For clarification Power steering FLUID not fuel
    Same as garbage BIN and not bim

    Jus my 2 cents not sense

    • Anonymous says:

      Once again smoke and mirrors. License and inspect these vehicles on a regular basis. These vehicles should have seat belts as well as fire extinguishers. This operation is presently “third world” and it reflects badly for the Territory. The taxi companies are making a fortune riding tourists around. They need to spend some of that money and maintain their equipment. This is just common sense. Failure to do this will reflect in loss of tourism which at this point in the future of the Territory is vitally needed.

    • Rubber Duck says:

      The taxis are a national disgrace and need vast overhaul.

      But we also need a proper bus service. We need to be able to get ordinary people to work without relying on hitch hiking.

      The whole transportation policy is third world.

  2. Janus says:

    “Taxi & Liver Commission..”
    What has it got to do with his liver?

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  3. any bets? says:

    THE SAME POLITICIANS WILL ALLOW TAXI MEN TO DRIVE OLD DILAPIDATED BUSES JUST FOR VOTES

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  4. My Opinion says:

    Have taxis and public transport vehicles insured for only six months at a time or twice a year.

    In order for the vehicle to be insured and licensed, proof of maintenance (serviced, engine, chassis inspection etc not just lights, windshield and tyres) must be shown whether it is by receipts or inspection forms.

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    • Concerned says:

      Totally in agreement with your post. In addition, there should be a biannual inspection of these taxi vehicles. Even the insurance coverage must be substantially adequate should there be any form of injuries.

      A reputable maintenance policy must in place to guarantee compliance. I am sure many vehicles used as taxis were damaged during the storms. It is only prudent that decisive action is proactively taken to safeguard against any issues future potential incidents.

  5. Mr Sensible says:

    implement a UK style MOT certificate for all Vehicles. PERIOD. vehicle safety on BVI is rubbish. last year I drove several hire vehicles with defective steering, brakes and tyres and nobody cared. Service vehicle, commercial vehicles and public transport vehicles have a higher benchmark to meet in any test. taxi should display a licence, insurance and vehicle road worthiness certificate and this should be enforced by the police with vehicle impounded for none compliance and heavy fines.

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  6. LoveMyBVI says:

    Those Taxi Buses need to undergo a complete overhaul and inspection by a licensed mechanic before they are allow to to operate and traverse over these hills. Extra due care needs to be taken when transporting tourists and school children.

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  7. Diaspora says:

    Public health and safety should come first. The issue includes more than fire extinguishers. The territory is a hilly terrain and many of these safari buses…..etc are design to operate on a lower/flatter terrain. Additionally, frequent and aggressive maintenance are needed. Further, the road design features should be another arrea of concern. As is done in other hilly terrain locales, the roads should be designed/constructed in a circular manner. Surprise that there are not more incidents. Protecting passengers health and safety is both the responsibility of government and taxi operators. Tourism is 1/2 of the BVI twin pillars and must be protected. Swift and urgent action is needed to protect the health and safety of passengers.

  8. thoughts says:

    The Condition of the roads on those hillsides are equally dangerous for both tourist and drivers…. taxi operators have to earn a living but not at the risk of their lives and tourist.

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  9. Soiled Son says:

    Get rid of the taxis altogether and bring back donkey’s. Only a locally sourced donkey can adeptly navigate the roads here. As an additional bonus, when was the last time you saw a donkey spontaneously explode?

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    • Shrek says:

      Most sensible comment ever from you homie – @ son I’d the soil!!!!

      How much you charging for a ride as you’re the best local donkey around and are highly intelligent compared to other donkeys! Saddle or bareback? Whooooiiiiiiiieeeeee…..

    • Too late says:

      Good idea. Only problem is all the donkeys starting their election campaigns.

  10. All says:

    All vehicles should have a fire extinguisher and be inspected also not just taxi. They all use the roads with passengers. I often say we are not proactive. We only wait until something happen to address issues. All of a sudden it’s a big issue because some thing happen. One can have a new vehicle and something to this nature happen. Thanks to all those persons who assisted the driver and the tourust. It could have been worst and could have happened to any driver.

  11. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Every motor vehicle owner should maintain it to improve its useful life, for its safe operation, to protect the public…….etc. However, taxi operators are entrusted with the health and safety of others, ie, students, tourists, domestic passengers…..etc and have the morale responsibility to maintain and operate their vehicles in a safe and healthful working order. Failure to do so could result in legal jeopardy. Accidents do happen and investigation(s) do result from accidents. During investigations must be able to show that they were safely and appropriately following the rules of the road, ie, operating vehicles consistently with weather, road conditions……….etc at the time. Additionally, they should maintain written maintainence and repair records on their vehicles.

    Moreover, road design, construction and maintenance are another issue for discussion. In this blog, though, I will wax briefly about road design. Too many BVI roads are design with steep inclines. Typically, roads in hilly terrains are designed in a winding manner (another blogger used the term circular). There is an engineering reason for this. It takes more power to climb a short and steep incline road than is needed on a longer and flatter incline road——-winding. Further, there are more accidents on steep incline roads than on winding roads. BVI road alignments followed old foot, donkey, mule or horse paths. These alignments are not adequate for motor vehicles. Another item to add to the road network.

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