Service station closures begin to hit taxi drivers

Friday, December 6, 2019 - 10:30

The closure of the Unipet gas station in Princes Town has triggered hardship for taxi drivers plying the Princes Town to Rio Claro route.

During an interview with Guardian Media taxi driver, Roland Sookoo said since the gas station closed he has been unable to make his trips because of the chaos at gas stations.

"Every day I have to wait for more than an hour to get into the gas station at New Grant. It is crazy because lots of time is being wasted and I have to fill up the tank every day, " he added.

Sookoo said the traffic usually backs up from School Trace, Junction.

Another taxi driver Paul Browne said the government should revisit its arrangement with Unipet.

"This is causing a lot of inconvenience to people. We have to make up the money to spend Christmas. Lots of people depend on this taxi work now that they get laid off. Now, this gas shortage is making things even worse for families, " Browne said.

When Guardian Media visited the C&F Quan Young service station, there were over 50 cars waiting to get gas.

Pump attendant Sookdeo Deosaran said since the Unipet closure, the gas station lineup has been continuous.

"It's real pace here. From the moment we open at 6 am to night time, it is busy. People have no other gas station to go to and they depend on us for gas," Deosaran said.

On Wednesday, Finance Minister and acting Energy Minister Colm Imbert said Unipet owes State-owned Paria Fuel Trading Company more than $100 million.

Imbert said he plans to intervene in the impasse to bring “some relief.”

Unipet later issued a statement saying it was looking forward to reopening it's service stations. The fuel retailer said it was engaging in meaningful and amicable discussions with Paria.

 - by Radhica De Silva. Photos by Innis Francis