Senate to consider bills to grant taxi associations exclusive franchises
Published: October 2, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - The Senate will consider four bills Wednesday to give exclusive franchise agreements to four taxi associations operating at four of the territory's ports.
The four franchise agreements proposed are for:
- V.I. Taxi Association at King Airport;
- St. Croix Taxicab Association at Rohlsen Airport;
- East End Taxi Association at Fredericks Marine Terminal in Red Hook;
- St. Thomas Taxi Association at Monsanto Marine Terminal in Crown Bay.
All four bills are sponsored by Sen. Celestino White Sr.
White said the taxi associations have had franchise agreements for the two airports and the Red Hook ferry terminal for decades, but they have since expired.
"These entities have been operating at these locations for well over 40 years," White said. "I want it to continue."
He said he wants to ensure that the taxi associations have some stability before he leaves office in January.
"They were all granted through legislation long before I was in the Senate," White said. "They are all expired, and I know that I'm leaving, and I want to put it back in place."
He said it is his way of protecting the industry.
The franchise agreements are exclusive, shutting out the independent taxi drivers from operating at some of the territory's busiest ports.
White said the franchise agreements allow for independent taxis to drop off passengers and even pick them up - if the passengers have arranged it - and paid for it - in advance. The drivers must show the dispatcher proof that the pick up was prearranged, he said.
All four franchise agreements are for a 10-year period with an option to renew for another 10 years.
According to the legislation, the taxi associations will pay the V.I. Port Authority an annual franchise fee to be negotiated within 60 days of enactment.
The bills will be heard in the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Energy and Veterans' Affairs at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Lawaetz Conference Room on St. Croix.
- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email email@example.com.