Uber, the high-tech transportation company based in the United States, launched its long-awaited service in Trinidad & Tobago but not without the usual controversy that follows the company and service.
The T&T Ministry of Works and Transport in a statement issued this week, said it was looking into the legality of Uber’s operations, as under the country’s Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act, private vehicles are not allowed to operate as taxis.
T&T is the first country in the English-speaking Caribbean where the innovative service is available. The Dominican Republic is the only other Caribbean country among the 66 countries in which Uber operates.
The Uber app was activated in Port of Spain and San Fernando this week, three months after the company announced it was heading to Trinidad.
The app allows consumers to submit a request for a driver in the Uber network, via their smartphones. The nearest Uber driver is alerted and sent to the location and the information about the vehicle is sent to the customer. The service typically bills a customer’s credit card through the app but last year Uber opened up a cash option, and both options are available in Trinidad.
The Ministry of Works and Transport is looking into the legality of Uber’s operations, raising issues of insurance, stressing that using a vehicle particularly private vehicles for hire contrary to its registration may have far-reaching implications for the driver and passengers.
The ministry’s statement said. “When you travel with an authorized taxi, you are ensuring the relevant checks and balances have taken place. Further, the use of a private vehicle for hire is contrary to its registration. The public is advised that no private vehicle should be used for hire. In light of the above, the public is asked to exercise caution and due diligence,” the ministry said.