If you're one of those people who rents a car at the St. Thomas airport, gets groceries at Tutu, and then takes the car barge across to Cruz Bay, read this.
The Bureau of Motor Vehicles has just reminded VI rental agencies and the barges it is illegal for a car rented on one island to be used on another.
A St. Thomas-registered car cannot go on the barge to St. John. So if you want to have a car, while staying on St. John, you have to rent from a STJ agency.
The notice (read it here, thanks to NoSeeUm's blog) says vehicles can legally be used "… only on the island … and may not be used on any other island … and shall not be transported for use on any other island." Violators could be fined a minimum of $1,000.
What's this mean to you? Well, if a St. Thomas rental company does rent you a car, and you take it to St. John, they risk having their business license revoked – and there are plenty of people who will be happy to turn them in. For instance, the car barge companies employees are likely to be reminded how to ID a St. Thomas car. (Not so subtle tipoff: the license plate begins with STT.) Second, folks who operate St. John car rental companies can be expected to be looking for STT cars on the island – and reporting them to Motor Vehicles.
There is no question that renting a car at the airport and then driving to Red Hook is easier than enduring 'taxi dispatch hell' at the airport and the annoyance of taking a cab but stopping at four hotels on your way to Red Hook where you may, or may not, catch the next ferry. Then again, there are those who question whether the convenience of tourists is a high priority for STT cab drivers.