A Marshall Islands Development Bank program to assist Marshallese to own their own taxis in Majuro has been put on hold due to a variety of challenges that developed after it was launched in 2018.
The program was rolled out in 2018 and involved loans to help local drivers purchase their own vehicles. The aim that was partially accomplished was to reverse the trend of the past two decades that has seen ownership of taxi companies and individual vehicles shift from nearly 100 percent Marshallese-owned to ownership of the local transportation industry by naturalized RMI citizens of Asian origin.
But MIDB has halted lending to purchase taxis in 2021.
A combination of unluckiness and carelessness of some drivers prompted MIDB to put the program on hold. Among the challenges local drivers faced were meeting their weekly loan payments to the program. Some drivers found it difficult to pay their debts back to the ban, according to MIDB staff. Some drivers struggled when their cars broke down or they needed parts for repair.
In addition, at least two vehicles crashed, totaling the cars. Several of the MIDB-financed taxicabs put on are located outside MIDB and the taxi program managers are in discussion on further information if they could put the taxi back on the streets or sell them.
On the bright side, eight of our drivers paid off their loan to the MIDB, meaning they own the vehicles outright.