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SCAA calls on enforcement agencies to intervene in taxi conundrum |13 September 2022

SCAA calls on enforcement agencies to intervene in taxi conundrum

A taxi queue at the Seychelles International Airport (Photo credit: Daniel)

The Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) is urging enforcement agencies, namely, the Seychelles Licensing Authority (SLA) and police force to help address the issues relating to unacceptable behaviours by certain taxi operators at the Seychelles International Airport.

The call follows that of the Seychelles Taxi Operators Association (STOA) chairman Frank Kilindo, who last week issued a voice message to members to not remain at the airport overnight, and for members to refrain from misusing public-use facilities at the airport, during their wait for clients and trips.

While the majority of taxi operators have a good relationship with the SCAA, a small group are engaged in anti-social behaviours at what is the point of entry for the 700 to 1000 visitors arriving in the country daily, confirmed SCAA’s chief executive Garry Albert.

“SCAA is but the facilitator, we give you the space from which to run your business or provide a service to clients, but there is a limit. At SCAA, as the one bearing responsibility for the airport, we lack the power for enforcement,” Mr Albert said.

“We have informed the police and the SLA. Taxis are regulated and issued their licenses by SLA, so as regulators, they also need to move and come to assess the situation. There are many complaints. The Taxi Association has also informed the SLA regarding some of their members misbehaving, and we are yet to see anything happening. We lack the legal power to make arrests, or to cancel taxi licenses. We all need to work together. The police need to work with us and SLA need to work with us, to help us educate the taxi drivers,” Mr Albert relayed to the media.

Taxi drivers, similarly to visitors and other airport users, are free to use the available facilities, but it is imperative that they are properly utilised, especially as the SCAA and stakeholders strive to maintain a high-standard, and to gradually move towards five-star status, ahead of the new terminal.

If the situation persists, SCAA will have no option but to take action, Mr Albert asserted.

Despite engaging in much dialogue with the association and accommodating their demands for more designated taxi spaces at the airport, SCAA’s pleas for the misbehaving taxi operators to maintain order has fallen on deaf ears in many instances.

The authority has received numerous complaints from housekeeping staff of taxi operators misusing the public bathrooms to take sink baths, shaving and to tend to other personal hygiene needs, all in the view of visitors. It is important to note that there is a shower facility available, which is accessible to them.

Furthermore, others are in the habit of sleeping in their parked vehicles for the night, proceeding to bathe themselves in the parking area in the morning hours. Otherwise, another concern expressed by the many taxi drivers who have also approached SCAA to express their disappointment with the abuses is the habit of leaving vehicles parked in the taxi queue overnight, only for clients seeking the service to realise that the vehicles are unattended, and often obstructing other drivers who are eagerly awaiting a trip. Mr Albert advised against leaving the vehicles parked at the airport overnight, for security reasons.

“We want that these facilities are maintained to a high-standard, so that when our visitors use the airport, they can appreciate the cleanliness. We tried our best to provide them with the necessary support to provide the service to clients. But in return, let us have a good relationship,” he further stated.

As SCAA observes African Airports Safety Week 2022, the authority is calling on all airport stakeholders to come together, to work together to promote safety, and promote the airport. Other operators making use of the airport, including car hire operators and the various restaurants are also being urged to comply with and conform to the rules and regulations in place, and to deliver the standard of service expected by SCAA and airport users.

“Let us start today, let us use our facilities well, so we can get where we want to, so the airport remains clean, and the facility remains one of standards. Seychelles is a five-star destination and we want our airport to be a five-star facility as well,” Mr Albert concluded.


Laura Pillay

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