More complaints over inappropriate behaviour of some airport taxi drivers |21 April 2021
Following a post on social media about the inappropriate behaviour of some taxi drivers based at the Seychelles International Airport who sleep in their vehicles and serve clients not properly dressed, hair disheveled and dirty, a number of people who are familiar with the situation have asked Seychelles NATION newspaper to look a little further into the matter.
One of the complainants who talked to this newspaper went further to state that this is a very old problem which had for countless times been brought to the attention of the concerned authorities past and present at the airport but nothing much has been done.
“To tell you the truth I know that the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) is against this practice but I just don’t understand why the authority has not been able to deal with the problem head on,” the complainant said.
He went on to state that during many meetings with the airport, tourism, police and other concerned authorities the problem had been put on the table but unfortunate it is still there and getting worse.
“It is really deplorable and not a pretty nor hygienic sight for visitors to see taxi drivers brushing their teeth and taking a quick bath early in the morning in the wash basin in the airport public toilets while leaving a lot of mess behind with no consideration for other users of the facilities as well as the cleaning ladies who have to clean after them everyday,” he stated, noting that they too have complained countless times to their superiors but to no avail.
“When Covid-19 was at its worst mid last year, I personally alerted Dr Jude Gedeon on the matter pointing out to him that with the pandemic it was not hygienic for taxi drivers to sleep in their cars and even more so very risky when it comes to Covid-19 transmission as soon after waking up they take clients onboard without having properly disinfect their vehicles. I recalled he said this was unacceptable and he promised to have public health officials look into the matter but unfortunately up to now nobody has come to look into the matter,” he pointed out.
A couple of months ago he said the matter was also brought to the attention of the now Designated Minister who also promised to have the matter properly investigated but until now again nothing has been done.
He added that more recently some of those drivers have started to argue with any drivers who have come to pick up a relative or friend at the airport making sometimes ugly public scenes in front of visitors. They argue that these drivers are depriving them of their livelihood when in fact friends and relatives have always come to pick one of their own on arrival from abroad. He said the matter was brought to the attention of the airport police.
The police spokesperson has meanwhile said that no reports on the said complaints have been brought to the central police command by the airport police.
Another complainant has called on the police to look into the matter because there is a curfew every night starting at 11pm and if these people are not at home by then but are roaming around the airport area, they are then breaching the curfew law and should be dealt with.
He argued that taxis should be better organised whereby they should be called as and when there are trips and that people are really confused and do not understand the bullying attitude that some of them publicly display.
While it is not very clear as to why the 20 or so taxis drivers are behaving in such a bullying manner, I went on to put the question to the current chairperson of the taxi association Frank Kilindo.
“There are taxi drivers who remain in their vehicles at the airport to provide an early morning and evening service especially to clients who fail their Covid-PCR tests and need to return to an hotel. But all these other issues that are being raised are not true,” Mr Kilindo stated.
Angrily and grudgingly, he brushed aside and refused to answer direct questions relating to the issue at hand that taxi drivers are taking early morning baths in the airport public toilets and bullying other drivers.
He said if it was a problem for me that the drivers freshen up in the washroom they are not the only ones but a lot of mostly Asian nationals also use the airport washrooms to freshen up and even bathe in the wash basins before their late flights and they too are responsible for making a lot of mess.
He added that the airport has only four public toilets which serve the needs of an increasing number of visitors from different flights and that the SCAA needs them to provide the service at anytime.
Meanwhile a spokesperson at the SCAA has admitted that the authority is aware of the problem and the present management has put in place the pay parking system to try and bring some order around the airport compound but she refrained from talking about the current situation only admitting that the problem is getting more serious particularly after the recent arguments involving some taxi drivers and some private vehicle drivers.
In the meantime everyone is hoping that the SCAA, the transport ministry, the Public Health Authority and all concerned parties come together to address and deal with the situation before it further degenerates and end up again on social media with more serious consequences.