The inability of The Bahamas to get Uber-type transportation moving in the country is stifling a huge opportunity for growth, businessman and real estate veteran Mario Carey said in a statement yesterday.
Carey said that transportation is critical to economic prosperity and contended that the Bahamian public should not be “dictated” to about the liberalization of public transportation when it comes to technology-driven innovations like rideshare companies.
“The need to open our minds to advances in transportation goes beyond the personal comfort of being chauffeured,” Carey said.
“Historically, economic development has been tied to the movement of people, industry and goods, which in turn has been influenced by transportation.
“Good transportation is critical to economic prosperity. Where transportation is insufficient or inefficient, economies stagnate. When transportation is priced right and convenient, cities flourish. Rideshare as private transport with a public purpose could drive business.
“Decisions about what happens on the roads – remember these are roads which we own, all 400,000 of us – should not be dictated by the few, but based on quality of life and practical issues.”
Carey contends a rideshare option could cause traffic to diminish on New Providence and make the quality of life better.
“Imagine if Bay Street, Shirley Street, Baillou Hill Road and Carmichael Road were not congested,” he said.
“Click an app on your smart phone and a ride pulls up almost instantly and whisks you off to your destination. Imagine what rideshare would do for restaurants, non-mall shopping, even easing medical appointments, turning reluctance to face clogged roads and parking struggles into an easy, stress-free means to enjoy restaurants, shopping and more.
“So what are the benefits of a rideshare platform, perhaps one that the taxi union can operate or co-own in partnership with others?”
According to Carey, some other benefits of rideshare platforms for New Providence are that Nassau would become a more desirable place to live, shop, dine and explore; jobs would be created; revenue would increase for the government in the form of fees and taxes; there could be a revival of east of East Street; auto financing by banks and other sources could receive a boost; job productivity increases could occur if parents no longer have to worry about school pick-up; millennials who are already burdened by student loan debt would not immediately need to purchase a car, or could earn additional income as a driver; and a lessening in air pollution and the carbon footprint, among others.
Carey also said ridesharing could enhance the already booming Airbnb market and decrease the risks of having impaired drivers on the road.