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Cruz Bay
Tuesday, July 5, 2022


To solve some of the problems residents have with local taxi service, Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole wants to establish a special class of taxis to operate at supermarkets, malls and other shopping centers.
Cole has drafted a bill creating a second class of taxis to transport residents and others to and from these commercial areas.
"I am glad to see the licensing commission, the administration and enforcement officers are starting to crack down on gypsy cabs," Cole said Wednesday. "That's great, but now it must go beyond that."
Last week, the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs began a crackdown on unlicenced gypsy taxi cabs. A task force comprising DLCA Enforcement Officers, the V.I. Police Department and the V.I. Taxi Cab Commission was formed to carry out the gypsy sting operation, which had been under way all this week.
"We will be concentrating our efforts mainly on the dollar buses and vehicles that are illegally modified," DLCA Commissioner-designate Andrew Rutnik said in a statement last week.
Passengers riding on an unlicenced taxi detained by the task force will be forced to disembark and find another means of transportation.
To help carry out enforcement and improve taxi service, a panel should now be formed among the various taxi associations, Cole said.
"The problem I have with gypsy cabs is people are being picked up and being convenienced, but they don't know if the taxi is licensed to operate or if it is insured," Cole said. "We live in a litigious society and if there's an accident, a person could sue the government for allowing such a business to operate."
Responding to residents' complaints that licensed taxis refuse certain fares, Cole said people have the power to lodge complaints against picky drivers.
"If a driver has his lights on and is parked in a taxi zone and refuses to take someone somewhere, residents can take down his number and report it to the Taxi Commission and they are supposed to call the taxi in," Cole said.
Cole's supermarket taxi bill also appropriates $50,000 from the Taxi License Fund to the V.I. Taxicab Commission to implement the new taxi class.
Neither Rutnik nor V.I. Taxi Association President Kenneth Hermann returned phone messages left Wednesday.

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