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Inspectors coming; private drivers steal passengers from Anegada taxis

“We not getting any work because … people up there carrying people for free” — President of the Anegada Taxi Association, Kenny Francis.

By Esther Durand, BVI News Journalist

Authorities will be assigning inspectors on Anegada to put a stop to a reported long-standing issue in which private vehicle operators steal customers from taxi operators on the island.

President of the Anegada Taxi Association, Kenny Francis raised the issue yesterday (May 3) during a meeting with local taxi operators and Minister responsible for Transportation, Mark Vanterpool.

According to Francis, more than 10 taxi operators are based on Anegada and they are all experiencing unrest in relation to the issue.

“Sometimes you have at least 50 to 60 yachts in the harbour and we not getting any work because it has people up there carrying people for free,” he told BVI News after the meeting held at the Central Administration Complex in Road Town.

“So, if I come to you and I tell you I am going to take you someplace for free, why would I take a taxi? That is our biggest issue up there right now. It is a problem that needs to be fixed.”

He said the members of the association have written numerous letters to government begging for the issue to be addressed.

Francis said the most recent letter was sent about a month ago.

“We are tired of it and we need something done because the pot go’ soon boil over,” he said.

Law enforcement to intervene

Director of the Taxi and Livery Commission, Dameon Percival confirmed the issue has been long-standing and said the matter will be dealt with ‘soon’.

“We had a meeting a few weeks ago with the people who are posing the issues. We let them know that we have spoken with the police. But because we don’t have inspectors on the ground – who are the ones to go out and give people tickets and that kind of stuff – it is posing a problem with regulating.”

“It is a problem that we are working on from inside the ministry in terms of bringing inspectors on board. In general, we don’t have any so the plan is to bring on six,” Percival said.

He said these inspectors would be working to enforce the law on each of the major islands.

Director of the Taxi and Livery Commission, Dameon Percival.

Issue major

Percival said the matter is major and is “growing exponentially daily”.

“They (the culprits) don’t have the proper insurance or have the legislation backing them. So if you get into an accident, the insurance can say: we are not paying nobody as you are not legally supposed to be carrying anybody.”

In the meantime, Vanterpool urged Francis to take photos or videos of the culprits to help bring an end to the issue.

“We can do something through Department of Motor Vehicles; as it is not legal,” Vanterpool said.

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

49 Comments

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  1. Mmmkay says:

    There is nothing to do about it. Giving free rides is not illegal, deal with it. If the law intervenes in this case, then hitchhiking would ultimately be made illegal as well, which would never happen. I understand how the taxi drivers feel, but it is what it is.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who cares about the new ABC…it’s not Anegada family. It’s —– and his Dad from South Africa…so they make some waves and disrespect law… problems

    • Games says:

      It happens in Tortola too and the same giving a ride is what I heard. I therefore jumped into a bus with a private plate and jumped out at my destination. The bus driver asked for his money. I told him I though I was being given a ride, since I don’t see no taxi plate on your bus. He started to get upset, I told him he should call the police, since I refuse to pay him.

  2. true says:

    This is Anegada —- —- the free shuttle they offer to carry people to their resort, guests are one thing but they are taking people all over the island.

    • Lies says:

      Lies and propaganda!

      • In the Know says:

        This is true. Have been to Anegada and have seen the hotel shuttle with guests at the Flamingo Pond lookout giving a tour.

        • Lies says:

          It is not true and you know it! So stop your foolishness!

          • We need to be truthful says:

            Pleople need to follow the rules. The hotel or maybe their employees have not followed the rules. They have been spotted at the lookout and other locations. Their license is for shuttle to the hotel only and they need to stick to that or apply for a taxi and or tour license

        • . says:

          So, ABC can pick up their guests at the ferry, but they have to take them ONLY to the hotel? They can’t take them to the Flamingo Lookout? What kind of stupidness is that? They are their guests!

  3. Albion says:

    So what he is saying is that hotels and restaurants should be banned from having a pick-up service, and that all tourists should be forced to pay for taxis if they want to visit bars and restaurants.

    Will this just be on Anegada, or is this going to be a new rule for the entire BVI?

    Strupes. Taxi drivers drive me crazy. “Steal” customers, like you own the right to have someone pay you outrageous sums of money for short journeys?

  4. Reality says:

    You CANNOT stop someone from offering another person a free ride, you can only get involved if they’re not a licensed taxi/tour business and offering a ride for a fee. Why do people think the answer to everything is more Government involvement? They can’t even get the simple things sorted. Look at Palm Grove, Pier Park, Roads, Sewage, Trash, simple things that we cant deal with.

  5. Sam the man says:

    So when I was offered a free pick up to go to Anegada Beach Club I should have declined it and paid for a taxi ? what planet are you on! offer some Island tours or something to the tourists that arrive and stay there….free pick ups happen all over the world just accept it….

    • Hotelier says:

      If we are to be an up scale tourist economy we must be allowed to offer the kinds of service other islands offer. In St Barts if you want to pick guests up from the dock in your limo , you just do it. if you want a boat to take them out on rides you just do it. If you want to add a Spa to your hotel you just do it. Here you need a trade license and and who knows what other bureaucratic non sense to do it. If it involves a building alteration it has to go not only to Planning but to CABINET if its a NBLHL [ which most hotels are ] And if you decide that one of your staff who was a handyman can now be the driver of your new service ,you need to get him a new work permit.

      And it all takes months if not years.

      And they want a competitive high end tourist economy , dream on.

      • really says:

        The problem with upscale hotels run by people who don’t make a profit and have to pump nearly $80k every month to keep the business afloat because of the services it offers for free then its not a viable business plan, but a plaything for a rich kid who gets money from his family and a dr in the UK. This gives the hotel an unfair advantage and is a red herring in his portfolio that will never be sold or turn a profit. Now that is a fact, no lies or propaganda

    • hMMMM says:

      That’s what he’s trying to say. They shouldn’t be doing tours. But they do. Their license is to take persons from their point of entry to their hotel

      • Lies says:

        They do not do tours. Never have and never will!

        • Outsider says:

          They have. Now they been caught

        • true says:

          so you know this how? Did they not fire E————- for doing exactly this? Did they not just remove the other driver for doing exactly this? The answer is YES before you say no. Now the next driver is doing the exact same thing I know as I saw him at the Lookout point myself as I drove home.

  6. Greed says:

    Perhaps taxi drivers ought to reconsider the kinds of fees they charge amd the service they provide.

  7. 008 says:

    ….and taxi drivers ‘driving under the influence’ gets my goat

    • VG says:

      Hey,
      now that would be good use of the new inspectors. Lets start by doing Taxi Vehicle inspections and random Breath testing.

      • Rubber Duck says:

        What standards do these taxis adhere to? I thought they were holding a competition to see who could ram the most tourists into a dirty old Suzuki van and get away with charging the most per head.

  8. Thank you Anegada says:

    This article put a smile on my face, a really good laugh. You can’t bum a ride in Anegada now…soon to be illegal lol lol

  9. Stupppspps says:

    LOL……

  10. Rubber Duck says:

    You know who is going to win. The taxis drivers have a vote and generally speaking the hotel and restaurant owners do not. So the govt will not decide based on what is best for the economy and the country, they will decide based on who can vote for or against them. Even if it means that the economy gets worse and a national disgrace like the standard of BVI’s taxis, that is one of the most off putting things for tourists , is allowed to continue.

  11. driver says:

    Tell K—– he went where he went ; now come bask in the last shower and want to make noise . Tell he the white boy born here and the little black boy born here too ; dont mind he last name . Both of them are legally entitled to do what they are doing and offer services to Anegada that has increased tourist / visitors and created MORE jobs. Beside being n——- ; what has he done positive to contribute to the Anegada economy since he is back ?

    • Hornet's Nest says:

      The same when those same boys introduce a private ferry that runs every day from Trellis Bay and they angry. Government do nothing for Anegada and one two businessmen work hard to bring my business they are hated and made to be villains. They do a lot of good things for Anegada and this guy making so much noise. I wonder if he take that same daily ferry down to make so much problems?

      I also understand that same company helped many of people out after the hurricane and did a lot for the community.

      No good deed goes unpunished! Especially in the BVI.

      • true says:

        what did they do for the c community ? They kept closed till Feb when they could of reopened as early as November but choose to keep their staff unemployed till then. They have employed people on the island but how many BVIslander work for the company?

  12. Flash says:

    As usual I suspect only half of the story is told here. Poor taxi association are always the victims. 😉

  13. TGIF says:

    I’m getting the popcorn for this bout. This will be a good fight to watch!

  14. vg resident says:

    Why is everything in the BVI over-regulated? If I own a hotel and want to provide a free tour of the island, I should be able to do so. Too much regulation over non-belongers and too much taxation for everything. My workers are paying $1000 for a work permit. CRAZY!! Scotia Bank on Virgin Gorda requires so much BS just to open a savings account. Letters for this and more letters for that. INSANE!!

    • Watcher says:

      Of course the BVI govt. response will be to punish and fine the innovative company trying to make our tourism offer more attractive and support one of the lousiest, rip off taxi services in the world.

      And they still can’t work out why the economy is tanking.

  15. TurtleDove says:

    Did I miss the part where the businesses and the taxi drivers should sit down and talk? Both are needed tbey should come to an agreement……what the hell happen to us…

    • Tes says:

      There have been meetings with the taxi commission recently in Anegada. Some just think they are above the law. Get a damn taxi and tour license. Obey the law

  16. the smith says:

    Tortola have that problem too but the drivers us not doing it for free they collecting cash this needs to be addressed

  17. Enough says:

    Simple solution here is to dissolve the BVI taxi association and it’s nonsense, implement public transport that actually uplifts the entire community and tourism product. Taxis can still do as they wish of course but their days of pushing everyone around and exacting insane rates should be a thing of the past. You all see where protectionism has gotten the BVI already, enough is enough. At every turn the BVI is being given opportunity to rebuild and do so in a way that benefits the future but the powers that be still cling to old ideas and fear rather than stepping up and opening new doors.

    • Vg says:

      Public Transportation? For who to manage? Our incompetent government? You’ve got to be kidding me. This would have to be privatized

  18. JOE says:

    This is a ridiculous point these drivers are raising.Does it mean the inspectors will have no better job or duty that they will be detailed to be on the lookout for vehicles giving people rides when there are many criminal cases in the community to be tackled,such as robbery,indiscriminate gun shot cases and others. Many people are helpless in getting to their workplaces and returning back from work because of poor transportation system/problem which gives some drivers opportunity to be charging a lot of money to take people from point A TO B. If government has long bus that charge lil amount this problem will be solved. Giving people a ride is legal and should be seen as such.No chance for exploitation.

  19. Me from here says:

    This is pure nonsense! ONLY in the BVI. Have we not learned from the recent storms. They are doing a great service to Anegada, the taxi drivers charge $40 to get from the dock to anywhere. THat should be regulated. Imagine all the good the new resort is doing for the island! Chuppes! Is that really news?????

  20. Me from here says:

    Maybe you are not getting work because your bus is too dirty and spell like W**d! So some housekeeping instead of acting like everything should just come to you. Do you even come to the dock when the boats come in to see if anyone want a taxi?? Don’t think so! So stupid!

  21. Food for thought says:

    As a local and a frequent visitor to Anegada I was recently made aware of many situations affecting the local taxi drivers. One being the situation at hand involving the free shuttling of tourist. Now as this may not be against the law I think the bigger problem is that this business is sending someone out into the harbor to solicit the visitors and entice them with the free shuttle. In my opinion this is wrong. All business and taxi drivers on the island should be allowed an equal opportunity to interact and get business from these visitors.
    Now although the free shuttle is a big issue for the taxi drivers I think that the number of scooters on Anegada should be addressed. The taxi drivers need to realize that most of their business is going to the scooter rentals who by the way are also soliciting business in the harbor. I was also made aware that the tourist are allowed to rent these scooters with a regular drivers license and no experience whatsoever on riding a scooter or motorcycle. Is this even legal. If they are not properly licensed to ride a scooter or motorcycle can they be insured to do so. The taxi drivers need to see where most of their business is being diverted to and fight the fight that needs fighting. Food for thought.

  22. Hmmmm says:

    @Food for thought…..Many of the people that pass through Anegada are REPEAT customers… People who know what the island offers and what they want to do already.. Be it a Vehicle Rental, Scooter , Peddle Bikes or plain out Walking!!! Some even have their particular taxi drivers that they use for every visit..Half the taxi drivers have bad attitudes and talk to the people anyhow they want.. I would not use them, would you?? The free shuttle is something that has been going on for a while .. i know personally that they call a particular taxi person when their guests or people taken to their establishment would like to visit other beaches. The water is fair game hun!!!! Several complaints have been made to tourist board and there is nothing they can do about it.. SO tell Mr Francis and all the other taxi drivers to pull up their socks, get new attitudes and put on their big boy pants cause the season is slowing down, harbour will soon be empty ..

    Maybe Mr Francis should invest in a dinghy as well and go solicit business..

  23. ..... says:

    This is crap…what happen to when ALL taxi drivers decided that they are not taking any tourist to that side of the island claiming the roads are too bad… these new set of taxi drivers on Anegada is just greedy cant even hold one head… come on…..

  24. ..... says:

    Everywhere in the world you go hotels pick up their guest! Get with the program and stop the nonsense…..

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