If you’re tired of the scrum for a taxi at the St. Thomas airport, help may be on the way.
Legislation signed by the Governor provides that the Port Authority set aside lanes for use by hotels’ and resorts’ for their guests. The provision was inserted after hotel and tourism groups complained about the current taxi service. Visitors complain, their ride from the airport may involves several stops before they get to their hotel or the Red Hook ferry; more ‘local’ than ‘express.’ (Honk if this has never happened to you!)
The legislation also awarded exclusive franchises to associations of taxi drivers, over objections from the Chamber of Commerce, tourism groups, and independent taxi drivers. (After all, who doesn't like competition … except the Taxi associations?)
There may yet be more controversey at the airport affecting tourists.
The bill exempts “limousines” from the oversight of the VI Taxicab Commission. To some taxi drivers, this means limo drivers could pick up passengers even where associations have been given the franchise.
A limousine is defined as ‘any large, luxurious sedan. driven by a chauffeur and for which the principal terms of service are contractually arranged and settled in advance. The vice president of the East End Taxi Association is worried. Al Martin told the Virgin Islands Daily News limos should not be exempt from the rules, “or else we’ll end up with a free-for-all, and that’s not good.” The folks in the middle of the tug of war, of course, will be tourists.
Lots of food for thought here, though, isn't there? For instance, could villa rental companies hire a driver and 'limo' to pick up guests, avoiding the stress and hassle of the airport taxi scrum? Just sayin'.