“Seeing is believing! First impression counts! Look at our brand! We are extremely happy to be the innovator with the introduction of the 18-seater OEM CNG maxi taxi”, Eon Hewitt, President of AMTTT and Chairman of Routes Auto Ltd (the wholly-owned commercial arm of AMTTT).
On Wednesday 21st September 2016, AMTTT in collaboration with NGC CNG launched the first two CNG-powered Maxi Taxis at the Port of Spain Transit Center (City Gate). The feature speaker was Mr. Clint Ramcharan, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Works & Transport, who spoke in the absence of line Minister Fitzgerald Hinds. Also addressing the gathering was the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Mr. Andre Leveau. Other dignitaries in attendance included NGC Chairman Mr. Gerry Brooks, NGC Director Sham Mahabir, P.T.S.C Chairman Mr. Terrance Beepath, Transport Commissioner Mr. Wayne Richards, Assistant Transport Commissioner Mr. Jivan Supersad and UNIPET CEO Mr. Dexter Riley among others.
Mr. Hewitt further stated that “today is a historic one not only for the maxi taxi industry, but, also for our country. Today marks the beginning of the transformation process from diesel to an alternative fuel, CNG, in the maxi taxi industry. Appropriately, AMTTT and by extension Routes Auto Ltd is the driving force. We are extremely proud to be a key reformer of such a change process”.
“For the first time in our industry we have a maxi taxi being offered to our members already equipped, by the manufacturer, with the necessary statutory requirements as outlined by the Licensing Department. Routes Auto has raised the bar and will continue develop its brand in order to satisfy the needs of our industry. Hats off to Mr. Lucien Hernandez-Maxwell and Mr. Godfrey Flemming for breaking the status quo. They are now the proud owners of the first two OEM CNG maxi taxis in our industry, HDN 1751 & HDN 1752 respectively,” Hewitt added.
Hewitt pointed out that AMTTT members visited China last year and selected the Jiangsu Joylong Automobile brand. The vehicles were purchased through Routes Auto Ltd. Hewitt added that the company has as its main driving force improving the quality of products and services offered to members and enhancement of the competitiveness of the industry.
The owners each took possession of their Joylong A6 18-Seater Bi-Fuel (Petrol/CNG) Maxi Taxi after handing in their old vehicles and witnessing their reduction to scrap metal. According to the President, NGC CNG Co. Ltd, Mr. Curtis Mohammed, the company is offering a grant for maxi owners of old vehicles to dispose of their diesel-powered maxis and switch to CNG and there is nothing to prevent owners from purchasing a CNG Maxi Taxi outside of the grant or even from another supplier, as there are at least two other companies which will soon be providing OEM CNG Maxi Taxis.
He further implied that “the grant to Maxi Taxi owners is open to the first 1200 registered maxi owners who apply before the expiration date of May 2018. The first two recipients of the grant, Lucien Hernandez-Maxwell and Godfrey…will go on into the history books as the first two owners of commercial OEM CNG Maxi Taxis in this country. Further, these two vehicles have actually been supplied by the commercial arm of the Association, Routes Auto Limited. So today is indeed historic for the Association and for these owners, as well adding to the success of our mandate to accelerate the use of CNG”.
The new CNG vehicles are imported by Routes Auto from the Jiangsu Joylong Automobile Company, China. These CNG Joylong vehicles are 18 seaters which is new to the T&T market which has traditionally been served by 15 seaters and 25 seaters.
Following the vehicle handover ceremony, the two CNG-powered maxi taxis made its first journey with the dignitaries and media representatives attending.