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Friday, December 9, 2022
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To Taxi or Not to Taxi

Dear Source:
As a St. Thomas resident, I have come to realize that catching a taxi home from Red Hook brings its own set of difficulties. Despite living on a small island you quickly learn that just because you see several taxi drivers and hounded as you depart the ferry does not mean your assured of a ride. If you need a ride and you say you live on the north side you could just as well say you need a ride to mars. Cheeky bastards are highly selective as to whom they accept as a fare.
Only when your left standing at the dock at 10:30pm at Red Hook, not able to get home due to a licensed taxi ignoring your efforts to hire a ride do you starting think that a change of taxi etiquette is required. I think that it's reasonable to expect hire a ride no matter of the destination or the time of day.
For the most part all Virgin Island drivers cater to the taxi drivers. Knowing that most safaris are often carrying tourists we expect that they will stop in the middle of the road allowing everyone to enjoy the views, iguanas sunning on the road, or other island interesting points. We assume in their case the "rules of the road" does not apply, so we expect the unusual.
Forget about calling the Taxi Association to discuss these issues. Trying most of the morning results in the phone just ringing. Not even courtesy of an answering machine. Interested to see if any regulations for taxis exist and if so what are they and how do they get enforced.
Recently on a visit to Puerto Rico in the city of Ponce I was pleasantly surprised with the city trolley service around the city's plaza district. It's free! Less traffic and frequent trolleys making it easy to get around.
I believe sometime back Senator Louis Hill proposed changing the waterfront into a plaza or boardwalk area. I applaud his efforts to improve our city and its accessibility for tourists. The elimination of taxis on the waterfront and Main Street and the addition of trolley services would be a dramatic improvement for tourism and the city appearance. Easier for tourists to get to more shops, less traffic, reduction of accidents would bring a more enjoyable experience to St. Thomas.
How to get this done? Double whatever fees are charged to taxi licenses and invest it into an improved waterfront and business district. Stand behind forward thinking people like Senator Louis Hill. Maybe a change like this would make a quick run to the north side for $20 appear more favorable.
Larry Boecker
St. Thomas

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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