Saint Kitts
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Ride Services In Trouble With The Law

Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 25, 2023 (ZIZ Newsroom): Ride services in St. Kitts and Nevis are now finding out that the endeavours are actually against the law.

Ride-hailing businesses such as Uber and Lyft have grown in popularity over the past few years and in St. Kitts and Nevis, similar services are being offered by certain businesses and individuals.

However those providers may soon find themselves in trouble with the lawyer as it was revealed at a recent consultation between the Tourism Ministry and taxi drivers that using a private vehicle to transport people for a fee is against the law.

Taxi drivers have complained that these ride services are undercutting their business while operating illegally. Consumers have said that the ride services are a more practical choice since they are more affordable.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Cromwell Henry told ZIZ News that there is no legal designation for these types of ride services.

If you’re carrying persons for passengers for pay, then you must have to be appropriate registration and designation on your vehicle,” he said. “Of course, if you’re not carrying the appropriate designation, then you will be committing an offense. So if you’re carrying a P license plate, then you should not be carrying passengers for hire or reward. You must be carrying a public service registration in order to do that.”

He said at this time cracking down on these services would be impractical.

“If I see you carrying someone in your vehicle, I’m not going to stop you and ask you if the person is paying you or if that is your friend or if you are carrying him for free,” he said. “There must be some complaint that something would have to happen for the police to intervene or else he would mean that we would have to go around and stop every private vehicle and ask the passenger if they are paying and of course, most of them would say ‘no’.”

He said aside from operating illegally, ride services could also find themselves in a difficult situation when claiming from insurance companies.

“If there is an accident, and it is discovered that they were providing this type of service, then the insurance company might just decline to honor any claim,” he said. And so the passengers, if they are injured, will not be able to claim from the insurance. And the operator of the vehicle, if he damages someone else’s vehicle, or even his own vehicle, he will not get any compensation from the insurance. And so he would find himself in some legal jeopardy having to foot all the bills on his own.”

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Deputy Commissioner Henry said one solution would be the creation of a new designation for these ride services, similar to the way in which passenger buses have an “H” designation and taxies have a “T’ designation. However in order for that to happen the relevant ministries would have to make a submission to cabinet which would then, if approved, have to go before parliament and be passed into law.

In the meantime, Commissioner Henry is urging persons who offer these transportation services and their passengers to realize that they are taking a risk with each ride.