The Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum says, “This Bill seeks to amend to amend the Motor Car Act 1951 [the “principal Act”] to include provisions for a motor car livery scheme including the types of motor cars that are available as a rental, the specifications of and licence duty for those motor cars, the licence fee applicable for the operation of a motor car livery, and for connected purposes.”

Minister Michael Fahy’s press conference about the proposal:

The group said, “Greenrock was surprised to learn about the proposal to introduce car rentals through the Motor Car Amendment [No.2] Act 2016.

“We recognise that there are pros and cons to the introduction of rental cars in Bermuda, and feel it is important to give our initial thoughts on this matter from a sustainability perspective.

Focus on Public Transport

“It is our belief that an efficient public transportation system should be the focus of transportation policy in Bermuda.

“We believe this is the best approach for the island to:

  • 1] Reduce the potential for traffic congestion overall;
  • 2] Reduce the public health hazards associated with fossil-fuel based transport;
  • 3] Reduce Bermuda’s greenhouse gas emissions relating to transportation;

“We also note that Bermuda needs an updated National Transportation Management Plan.

“It is our understanding that the last such plan dates from 2002. Such a plan should consider what the carrying capacity for vehicles in Bermuda is, as well as facilitate the transition to zero or low emission vehicles.

Traffic Emissions

“Traffic emissions are the most concerning source of air pollution in Bermuda.

“If car rentals are to be introduced, they should be restricted to zero emission vehicles only, such as electric vehicles.

“While electric vehicles still rely on energy production – such as fossil fuels from power plants – they greatly reduce the rate of air pollution and are a more efficient use of energy production.

“While we understand it is the intent of this legislation to be restricted to electric vehicles, we do not believe this is made as explicit in the Act as it should be.

Sustainability Impact Assessment

“It is our belief also that all policies of the Government should be subject to Sustainability Impact Assessments – and where necessary, such as regards transport in this case, an Environmental Impact Assessment.

“It should be noted here that the 2006 Sustainable Development Action Plan [SDAP] explicitly called for all policies to be subject to Sustainability Impact Assessments.

“It is not clear whether such an assessment has been undertaken with regard to this proposed policy – we believe this is a critical step that needs to be undertaken before proceeding with this legislation.

Public Consultation

“Finally, public consultation is important for identifying potential problems with proposed legislation and ensuring community/stakeholder buy-in.

“Institutionalising public consultation in the policy process and embedding good consultation practice is important to ensure an inclusive and sustainable Bermuda where decisions are fully informed.

“In this regards, the public consultations surrounding Public Access To Information [PATI] and the more recent Personal Information Privacy Act [PIPA] set the standard that should be aspired to.

“We would support legislation – such as this proposed amendment – being subject to a more pro-active public consultation approach.”

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