The first two Compressed Natural Gas-powered Maxi Taxis have been handed over in Trinidad and Tobago as part of the country’s drive for improved air quality and lower-cost fuel. The owners each took possession of a Joylong A6 18-Seater Bi-Fuel (Petrol/CNG) Maxi Taxi after handing in their old vehicles and witnessing their reduction to scrap metal.
“Today is indeed historic for the AMTTT and for the first two recipients of the grant, Lucien Hernandez-Maxwell and Godfrey Flemming, as well as adding to the success of our mandate to accelerate the use of CNG. The grant to Maxi Taxi owners is open to the first 1200 registered maxi owners who apply before the expiration date of May 2018,” said Mr. Curtis Mohammed, President, NGC CNC Co. Ltd at the vehicle handover attended by Ministry of Energy officials and other dignitaries.
Mohammed explained that while NGC CNG offers a grant for maxi owners of old vehicles to dispose of their diesel-powered maxis and switch to CNG, 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.
“NGC CNC is also in the final stages of rolling out an incentive for conversion of Maxis less than four years old. Those vehicles will then become Diesel Dual-Fuel vehicles which means that they will consume natural gas and diesel simultaneously.”
In his speech, Mohammed drew attention to the recent introduction of a Heavy Duty CNG Freightliner truck to the local market, the first of its kind exported from North America. “Let me say, on the OEM vehicle side of the market, we are extremely pleased with the rapid developments taking place. Our target for OEM sales to the end of August 2016 was 265 vehicles – we are now pleased to announce that as much as 346 OEM CNG vehicles have been sold to the end of August 2016.”
Although OEM CNG vehicle sales are growing, most of NGC CNG’s demand is planned to come from the existing pool of over 800 thousand vehicles after key market segments convert to CNG. Currently there is one licensed CNG converter, with two others in the final stages of their licensing process and two more likely to obtain their final licences before the end of 2016, sufficient to kick-start the conversion market.
NGC CNG is also working with the Private School Transport Association and the PTSC to have them purchase OEM CNG vehicles as well as convert existing diesel vehicles.
Furthermore, state enterprises (NP, Petrotrin, MTS, WASA to name a few) have also started transitioning their fleets to CNG. NGC CNG will shortly sign an MOU with Vehicle Management Corporation of Trinidad & Tobago (VMCOTT), so that both companies can work together to offer conversion to Government vehicles.
The gathering was also addressed by Eon Hewitt, President of AMTTT and Chairman of Routes Auto Ltd (the wholly-owned commercial arm of AMTTT).
“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 (Association of Maxi Taxi Trinidad & Tobago) and by extension Routes Auto Ltd is the driving force. We are extremely proud to be a key reformer of such a change process,” said Hewitt.
“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,” Hewitt added.
“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.”
(Source: NGC CNG)