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Bermuda gives green light to tourists renting minicars

Thursday, April 20, 2017 | 6:27 PM    

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HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC) — Bermuda’s Transport Minister Michael Fahy says regulations for two-seater minicars came into effect on Thursday, allowing a “viable and safe” rental alternative for visitors.

In the past tourists have only been able to rent mopeds to get around this 21-square-mile British Overseas Territory — or go by taxi, bus or ferry.

Fay said a “new era in Bermuda’s transportation history” had come, describing minicars as an “additional attractive feature” for tourists to the island.

“While I don’t doubt rental cycles will continue to have great appeal, particularly for younger visitors, the minicar broadens our transport offerings and modernises our travel experience.”

Announced last July, the legislation proved a difficult sell, with taxi drivers protesting that the move would introduce competition for their industry.

Fahy said that a “long period of consideration and consultation” had led to the regulations, which cover the establishment, licensing and running of minicar liveries, to become law.

The 2016 Bill prompted a weekend work stoppage, as well as a demonstration outside parliament by about 30 taxi operators, followed by a series of meetings before the regulations were agreed on last November, with the Motor Car Act 1951 subsequently amended.

The Senate ultimately approved it on December 12, 2016.

The two-seater, covered vehicles can be no more than 60 inches wide and no more than 115 inches in length.

While many visitors rent vehicles, Fahy said not all were comfortable taking to the roads on a moped.

“While having regular motor cars available for rent is a difficult option in Bermuda, the minicar presented itself as a viable and safe alternative,” he said.

Similar to rental cycles, minicar license plates will bear red lettering on a white background, at both the front and back of the car, with stickers warning drivers to drive on the left.

Safety instructions will include the basic rules of Bermuda’s roads, the speed limit of 35 kilometres per hour (21 miles per hour), and the strong penalties for impaired driving.

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