They demanded a 20 percent fare increase for the island’s taxis and last night MPs approved a 15 percent hike, for the first time in ten years.

No reaction from the island’s taxi industry yet on the rate approved last night, which was just short of the 20 percent requested, or the fact that a pilot ridesharing programme has also been approved.

With the fare increase, the rate-one mileage initial charge will increase from $5.15 to $5.93. For each subsequent one-fifth of a mile or part thereof will increase from $0.55 to $0.64.

For rate two, the waiting time for the first five minutes before the start of journey will remain free, with each subsequent period of three minutes increasing from $1.60 to $1.84.

Transport Minister Wayne Furbert also announced a change in the hours that rate three, which kicks in at midnight through to 6am becomes applicable.

That rate will now be charged from 10pm to 6am.

The rate-three 50 percent surcharge for midnight and 6am rides on public holidays with five to seven passengers will now start at 10am.

On the rideshare programme, the Minister said a total of 150 rideshare permits have been authorised for a one-year pilot.

“Modernisation is necessary if we are to be a successful tourism jurisdiction and is pivotal for advancing transportation infrastructure and systems,” he added.

“By embracing modern technologies and practices, we can enhance efficiency, safety and sustainability across all modes of transportation.”

The 150 new rideshare permits “will come with a nominal fee of $1,000”, and “will be easily identifiable through a designated logo affixed to the vehicle’s windscreen, signifying compliance with established guidelines”.

“Moreover, as the purpose of this change is to ensure additional transportation capacity during peak times, a rideshare-permitted vehicle will be permitted to operate daily from April 1 through September 30,” said the Minister.

“During the rest of the year, rideshare vehicles will be permitted on weekends, starting Friday, and public holidays.”

But he said: “One crucial condition of the rideshare permit is that permit holders are only allowed to be dispatched through an online platform, ensuring a controlled and orderly ridesharing service.

“It is our intention to put this programme in place for a one-year pilot period so that adjustments can be made to ensure that we enhance the transportation.”

The initiative will be under the oversight of the Public Service Vehicles Licensing Board. And “legislation will be revised to recognise and regulate ridesharing as a legitimate mode of transportation, aligning it with existing regulations governing public service vehicles”.

Tour rates for sightseeing were also increased.

Fees for four-seater taxis carrying one to four passengers goes up from$50 to $60. For seven-seaters with one to four passengers will go up from $70 to $85.

No official response or reaction yet by the Bermuda Taxi Owners and Operators Association.