Not the dream vendors, taxi operators wanted this weekend

August 07, 2018
Denver McLaren, a bike taxi operator, with Daydreams patrons Michi Mullings (centre) and Crystal Hughes (right) on the strip in Negril, Westmoreland on Saturday.
'Tek A Set' , a street vendor who makes his own ital patties (ackee, Callaloo) on the Negril strip in Westmoreland.
Andrew Quarrie, a route taxi driver.
Kenya Davis from Queens, New York, enjoys coconut on the Negril strip.
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The five-day-long Dream Weekend is a big business, but it appears that not everyone has been able to count loads of cash following its 10th staging. Some vendors say they have made smaller profits as party-goers change their buying habits at the event, which ended in Negril, Westmoreland, yesterday.

Among those hardest hit by the changing consumption patterns of Dream Weekenders are pan chicken vendors and transport operators.

"Most of the jerk pans were being fired up as early as 11 a.m.," said one passer-by. "Vendors are out earlier to try and catch the visitors seeking breakfast, but not that many persons have been walking the strip at that time," she said.

"If anything, the majority of persons here for the parties drive to the fast-food restaurants or charter taxis."

Andrew Quarrie, a taxi operator who usually plies the route Lucea to Negril, said the taxis are also suffering from lack of business. He said that he has to change his strategy in order to cash in on the Dream Weekend crowd.

"This year is not good at all. I have not made any money like I did in previous years," said Quarrie.

He told the WEEKEND STAR that in order to capitalise on the number of tourists visiting for Dream Weekend, he decided to offer a chartered taxi service.

"I just park, put up my charter sign, and the people seeking a more official service to pick them up and drop them off will call," he said. "It look like less people in Negril this year, but I am still going to live because of the charter."

Bike taxi operators like Denver McLaren, who has been running the routes in and around the town for at least three years, said that people are hardly using that mode of transportation.

"Bike taxis have done really well at Dream Weekend in the past, but now, it is slow. The money we used to making, we not able to make it. Some of us not even get $5,000 in one night," he said.

Henry 'Tek A Set' Brown, whose operation is among a main row of food stalls from which he sells an assortment of foods such as jerked chicken, ital patties (ackee and callaloo) and coconut water, estimated a 50 per cent drop in sales when compared with previous few years.

"I am not making the same, but I think I pass a margin where I can take care of myself. Last year, it was double what I am seeing now, but it's OK," said Henry, whose main customers are tourists who visit the nearby Time Square Shopping Mall.

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