Cabbies shun rugged roads ... Only one taxi in nearly 10 years in Mount Vernon
Cabbies shun rugged roads
... Only one taxi in nearly 10 years in Mount Vernon
As taxi drivers in Seaforth, St Thomas enter a third day of protest over poor road conditions, members of three communities in the eastern parish are hoping that their sole taxi driver does not follow his colleagues' actions.
Livingston McLaughin has been the only taxi driver to brave the rugged roads of the districts of Mount Vernon, Moffat, and Jones since 2007.
According to shopkeeper Virginia Grant, bad road conditions led to many taxi operators withdrawing from the route, leaving McLaughin as their only taxi driver.
"The roads are really, really bad so the taxi dem stop because the roads are more like dirt patches than roads," she explained.
When THE STAR visited the area last week, McLaughin was seen in Mount Vernon transporting five persons in his motor vehicle. He said he makes an average of four trips daily.
A peek at Google Map could easily mislead an unsuspecting person about how long it would take for drivers like McLaughin to make the four kilometre trek to the main town of Trinityville. Google Map has suggested it can be done in 20 minutes, without traffic, but does not take the road surface into consideration.
"Because of how bad the road is, it takes one hour to carry them from here to Trinityville and another hour to get back," he explained.
hefty repairing costs
According to the taxi driver of over 22 years, the state of the roads results in hefty repairing costs monthly. He said most of the $5,000 which he makes daily is used at the garage to constantly maintain his vehicle.
"I fix the front-end of the car twice a month which costs $60,000 each month," he said.
McLaughin said he also has to change the tyres on his vehicle every two months because of the damage the roads do to them.
Although he faces multiple repair costs because of the poor state of the roads in the communities, the St Thomas native does not plan to withdraw his services any time soon.
"I continue doing this because I am the only one and the people dem rely pon me," he said.
According to McLaughin, whenever other taxi operators brave the road and venture into Mount Vernon, Moffat and Jones, they charge customers between $1,000 and $1,500, this compared to the $350 which he charges.
The taxi driver pleaded with the relevant authorities to begin the process of fixing the road because the Transport Authority is concerned about the state of his station wagon.
"Examiner a come down hard on me 'bout the state of the vehicle because the road a mash up the vehicle so often so them a say it no safe fi me carry people," he explained.
Alicia Bloomfield, a 20-year-old farmer, who has lived in the Mount Vernon community all her life, told THE STAR that she has never seen good roads in the community.
"From me a pickney a so the road stay. Rainfall make it worst and worst and that's why people haffi rate Pablo because nobody else nah carry we go market or we pickney dem go school," she said.