Taxi group wants EVs for drivers
Some taxi operators have expressed their willingness to embrace electric vehicles (EVs) for their services.
"It depends pon the cost or price range a di vehicle. It might cheap fi maintain with parts but it might nuh work out," said one Kingston-based operator stated.
"With the EV car, them good fi have as your personal car, but fi run taxi, you have to stop every minute to recharge. That take time, so you probably won't make as much trips as you want. Dem ago tell you say it last fi a period, but fi taxi it ago tek more charging," he said, adding that he needs to see someone else take the plunge before considering it.
In January, the Jamaica Transit Unit Company rolled out its first electric bus and added five additional buses in August. Questions sent to the entity's communications manager regarding the viability of using electric buses for public transportation and the cost-benefit analysis went unanswered.
Egerton Newman, president of the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services, said that the old fleet of public passenger vehicles (PPV) needs to be changed.
"I have been saying for some time now that we need to retrofit our fleet of taxis because Jamaican taxis are close to 16 or 17 years old at average. What happen is that we don't have the resources and being PPV we are unable to get the loans; we need to acquire newer vehicles. We would need some form of concession and that would be a strong call on the Government to assist us," he said. Newton noted that the Toyota Probox and Noah are the current models that need to be changed out, but lamented that taxi operators are being left out of the EV discussions.
"It's really a shame that we are in a position where the Government and the private sector companies who are promoting EVs don't recognise the public transport sector. We are the ones that need to use the EVs but right now the public transport sector knows nothing about EVs," Newman said.
Ever Go Jamaica Limited currently has the largest public charging network in Jamaica. Kevin Francis, general manager, said the company has "put the network out there and dealers have been able to bring the cars".
"A part of their contract is that they have to have a charging network, which is here now, so the cars can come because we have 58 chargers installed. We have more waiting for connection," he said. Ever Go and JPS have a combined 80 chargers islandwide.