Please allow me a space in your column to express my views on the issue of increasing taxi fares in Honiara stated in your paper issue on Monday 17th January 2010.

It is unbelievable to learn that the Honiara Taxi Association has resorted in its response to current rise in fuel prices to increase Taxi fares. This ridiculous, as it will only rip off people who are not experiencing increase in salaries but increasing taxes from their employers.

The Honiara Taxi Association instead of coming up with solutions as to how they can save fuel, efficient use of limited resources, in this case fuel to get a maximum benefit, opted to rip off the public through its increase in fares.

There are other options you can take Honiara Taxi Association. First and foremost is how best taxis can use little fuel they have to earn money. I think you should negotiate with relevant Authorities to have taxi stands along the main roads of Honiara or the hotspots in the capital, be it Auki, Gizo or wherever taxis are operating.

One of those hot spots in town includes, Henderson Airport, at the Wharf, Central Market, China Town, and Point Cruz, just to name a few. By doing this, you can save a lot of fuel you have been using to roam the streets without passengers. I believe so much of taxis' fuels have been wasted on driving here and there searching for passengers. This can be prevented using taxi stands along the main city, so that fuel can only be used as and when you have a passenger.

Secondly, assuming each taxi earns SBD$300.00 to SBD$700.00 per day. From this basic calculation, we say 30% to the driver. Hence the driver receives SBD$90.00 to SBD$210.00 per day. Fuel may be 20%. So spending on fuel per day would be around SBD$60.00 to SBD$140.00 per day. In total each taxi would spend about SBD$150.00 to SBD $350.00 per day, half of the day's earnings goes to the owner, which will be used to pay other expenses and I believe more than 30% remains as the profit per day. This is a huge earning compared to those you are going to charge your fares. Some of these people, their net pay per fortnight is your daily earning. The fare you are proposing will really rip them off. Please do not think that only you are facing difficulties, we are all making decisions based on limited or scarce resources we have. So any decision you make should consider scarcity of resources is not your own problem but we all face it. Think of how best you can sustainably utilize those available resources for your maximum benefit, rather than ripping people off from your poor management.

Lastly but not the least, I think the proposed taxi fares are excessive; it is about 43% increase for normal daily rates. I think 10-20% is reasonable if you really want to increase the fares.

However, proper management is what lacking in the Honiara Taxi Association. Fuel has been wasted on running here and there and this is what the Association should address rather the turning to customers. Please look within before you turn to your clients. They are the ones who keep you rolling.