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new rental car rules?  

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Exit Zero
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April 18, 2012 5:31 am  

Http://no-see-um.blogspot.com/ I saw this post today --- This seems to be a shift in enforcement level that will certainly have economic ramifications on both STT and STJ. Was this VI Code always in effect and just ignored? Why would they start now and what was the impetus for change?


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OldTart
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April 18, 2012 10:02 am  

Via a lot of jerry-rigged magnification I managed to read the letter but it doesn't seem to make any sense if the "islands" referred to are the US Virgin islands. To the best of my knowledge, cars registered on St Thomas, St John and St Croix are registered with the USVI not with the specific island and not with plates differing from each other. Unless a rental agency is shipping cars by barge to PR or the BVI or any other island outside the USVI for rental purposes (:D) this yelps of a late April Fool's hoax!


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OldTart
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April 18, 2012 11:53 am  

I just read a more legible version of the letter on another forum which does indeed indicate that a rental vehicle registered on any of the US Virgin islands can only be used on that island and not transported to another island. If the registration and the plates don't already designate which island the cars are from it seems they will be in future. Obviously this is just plain daft and ONLY affects rental vehicles going from STT to STJ. STJ rental agencies don't allow their vehicles to be transported to STT and who even thinks of transporting rental vehicles between STT/STJ and STX.

I'm guessing that this revived law will be squashed before it's had a chance to breathe fresh air. What's next - drivers going between STT and STJ on the barge will be prohibited from taking their personal vehicles back and forth? The rental agencies should be able to make their own decisions and this is something the government has no need to meddle in.


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STXBob
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April 18, 2012 1:01 pm  

If the registration and the plates don't already designate which island the cars are from it seems they will be in future.

This is already in place. See photographic evidence at https://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/read.php?4,163872


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OldTart
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April 18, 2012 1:04 pm  

If the registration and the plates don't already designate which island the cars are from it seems they will be in future.

This is already in place. See photographic evidence at https://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/read.php?4,163872

OK. Hadn't had more than one cup of coffee before thinking it through! But that's good and one less thing the government will have to spend money on ...


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OldTart
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April 18, 2012 4:04 pm  

For those who would like to express their opinions on this directive, contact:

Mr. Jerris T, Browne
Director
Government of the Virgin Islands
Bureau of Motor Vehicles

email: jerris.browne@bmv.vi.gov


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Exit Zero
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April 18, 2012 4:24 pm  

I did not know how to reproduce the letter - it has been reproduced in a much more legible form on the virgin-islands-on-line.com STJ forum. I think the law has been on the books - STJ never allowed their cars over to STT - but never enforced - at least since the barge service expanded.


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OldTart
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April 18, 2012 4:33 pm  

I sent this to Mr. Browne today with a copy to the Governor:

"I am writing to express my extreme concern over this "new" directive regarding transportation of rental vehicles from one island to another. Since nobody ships a rental vehicle from St John to St Thomas (STJ agencies don't allow it) and nobody ships a rental vehicle from St Thomas to either St Croix or to Water Island, the only people this directive impacts are the St Thomas rental car agencies. The other major population it impacts are our tourists, our lifeblood in case anyone has forgotten. Many visitors whose destination is St John rent on St Thomas because they have a lot of provisioning to do and (like St Johnians who make regular trips over here for the same purpose) stock up on the major bulk basics which cost considerably more on St John. Visitors staying on St Thomas likewise enjoy the ease of taking their rental vehicles over to St John on the car barge to enjoy days of relaxed sightseeing. Not only that but in season the rental car agencies on St John run out of vehicles!

I understand that this law has been on the books for a long time but has never been enforced. I have to wonder whose brilliant idea it was to suddenly bring it to the forefront - and, more importantly, who exactly is going to benefit from it? The visitors? No. The St Thomas rental agencies? No. The St John agencies? I can't see how. So who?

The travel forums are buzzing with the news and our visitors are not at all happy about this. I strongly suggest that implementation of this directive be postponed indefinitely until the public has had a chance to weigh in on this law and decide whether or not it should remain on the books."


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Linda J
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April 18, 2012 5:21 pm  

STX license plate numbers begin with the letter C, STJ with J and STT with T.


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Lucy
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April 18, 2012 5:41 pm  

I sent this to Mr. Browne today with a copy to the Governor:

"I am writing to express my extreme concern over this "new" directive regarding transportation of rental vehicles from one island to another. Since nobody ships a rental vehicle from St John to St Thomas (STJ agencies don't allow it) and nobody ships a rental vehicle from St Thomas to either St Croix or to Water Island, the only people this directive impacts are the St Thomas rental car agencies. The other major population it impacts are our tourists, our lifeblood in case anyone has forgotten. Many visitors whose destination is St John rent on St Thomas because they have a lot of provisioning to do and (like St Johnians who make regular trips over here for the same purpose) stock up on the major bulk basics which cost considerably more on St John. Visitors staying on St Thomas likewise enjoy the ease of taking their rental vehicles over to St John on the car barge to enjoy days of relaxed sightseeing. Not only that but in season the rental car agencies on St John run out of vehicles!

I understand that this law has been on the books for a long time but has never been enforced. I have to wonder whose brilliant idea it was to suddenly bring it to the forefront - and, more importantly, who exactly is going to benefit from it? The visitors? No. The St Thomas rental agencies? No. The St John agencies? I can't see how. So who?

The travel forums are buzzing with the news and our visitors are not at all happy about this. I strongly suggest that implementation of this directive be postponed indefinitely until the public has had a chance to weigh in on this law and decide whether or not it should remain on the books."

GOOD Job Tart !!! Note, they may want to do this so that taxis on STJ will get more business. But if enforced, this will also impact revenues to the car barge companies in a negative way.


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OldTart
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April 18, 2012 6:48 pm  

The directive has been postponed for a 60 day "grace period". Mr. Browne also advised me by email that it's not a new law but a revised law (I did say I recognized such in mine to him ...) and that the St John rental companies will be happy to accommodate my needs (I thanked him and assured him that I didn't need their services because I've been a resident for almost 30 years and have my own vehicle). I also advised that I'll be anxiously watching the progress of this law in the next 60 days and hope that my curiosity as to who it benefits will be satisfied. Time to get going on some senators now!


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RockyDock
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April 18, 2012 7:02 pm  

"...nobody ships a rental vehicle from St Thomas to either St Croix or to Water Island..."

@STTres - perhaps you should get your facts straight in regards to Water Island.

Rocky Dock
Water Island


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OldTart
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April 18, 2012 7:57 pm  

"...nobody ships a rental vehicle from St Thomas to either St Croix or to Water Island..."

@STTres - perhaps you should get your facts straight in regards to Water Island.

Rocky Dock
Water Island

So educate me rather than making a veiled comment. I wasn't aware that rental vehicles from STT were barged over to WI and welcome being corrected on that score.


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Exit Zero
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April 18, 2012 8:00 pm  

Since I can't tell which vehicle is a rental vehicle - they don't put any advertising on them anymore it seems - who will be the enforcement agency at the car barge to check the registration of every vehicle? - maybe the STT agencies will have to mark all their vehicles in some blatant manner? - maybe they can do some legal manuver like a short term lease instead of being considered a 'rental car'? Title each car to a personal individual instead of a company? Become an auto retailer and have all the cars be considered for sale and being take on a test drive?
The person charged with deciding who has a rental car at the barge is going to be an interesting job for sure.


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Alana33
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April 18, 2012 8:28 pm  

If this is true it is absolutely ridiculous and the bill/ legislation for this needs to be fought, tooth and nail.
What about people that go back and forth for business, visiting family, shopping, spending a day at the beach and tourists staying on STT that wish to visit STJ and SPEND their money in STJ without being forced to rent another more expensive vehicle over there or wait, forever, to be taken from point A to point B by expensive taxi vans that stop at all destinations before getting you to yours, that's " if " they will take you where you want or need to go.

It's bad enough that your ferry and barge tickets expire. Why is that? Your MONEY that you pay for those tickets doesn't!


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STXBob
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April 18, 2012 9:22 pm  

The ridiculous law apparently only applies to rental cars, not personally-owned cars.

If they have to enforce it, then barge operators could simply ask for the vehicle registration before boarding.


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OldTart
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April 19, 2012 9:19 am  

The crisis has been averted and the Governor has nixed the law indefinitely.

http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2012/04/18/governor-says-no-new-rental-car-rule


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A Davis
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April 20, 2012 11:55 am  

please forgive my cross posting, this is also in the visitor forum. if you wish to change this get involved. don't break the law.

the governor is not able to actually change the law itself, but he did offer a reprieve. here is the law, for the record, and i am sure that since it was enacted in the 1960's that it was an attempt to keep down traffic congestion by limiting rental car numbers on each us virgin island. so the same applies to st. croix.

i seek to reform and not rebuke here. search for car rentals in the vi code and you will see the law: [www.lexisnexis.com]

a review of this law would be good for all three islands... but what people have been doing instead is simply ignoring it, and putting guests in jeopardy. i don't agree with that. so finally the law is being enforced and people affected are up in arms. if you don't agree with a law you work to amend or repeal. you don't break the law. that's my two cents. one should show respect for the "law of the land" and work for change if that is what's warranted in one's opinion.

20 V.I.C. § 422

VIRGIN ISLANDS CODE ANNOTATED
Copyright © 2011 by THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR for THE GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

*** Statutes current through Act 7278 of the 2011 Regular Session ***
*** Excludes Acts 7264 ***

TITLE TWENTY Highways and Motor Vehicles
PART II. MOTOR VEHICLES
Chapter 38. Regulation of Car Rental Business

20 V.I.C. § 422 (2011)

§ 422. Numerical limitations

(a) The Director of Motor Vehicles shall establish maximum numerical limitations for each island on registration licenses and license plates (referred to as "licenses" in the remainder of this section) for drive-yourself cars (which phrase, as used in subsections (a) through (f) of this section, shall not include drive-yourself cars rented or exclusively available for rent to another person for a period in excess of one hundred and eighty (180) days). The Director of Motor Vehicles shall establish the initial numerical limitations under this section by April 15, 1968. Thereafter, the limitation for each island shall be reviewed and, if determined necessary, amended at least once each year, prior to April 15, beginning with 1969. The original numerical limitations and any annual review or amendment shall be preceded by public notice and hearings, and any such numerical limitations or any amendments thereto (referred to as "limitations" in the remainder of the section) shall be effective upon approval by the Governor. Every limitation under this section shall be based upon the determination by the Director of Motor Vehicles that such limitation is necessary to protect the public safety and welfare. In making the determination, the Director of Motor Vehicles shall consult with such departments and agencies of the Government of the United States Virgin Islands as he deems necessary, and he shall then consider such factors as traffic safety, traffic flow, and the numerical needs or demand for drive-yourself cars on the respective islands, and all such other factors as he may deem pertinent to the establishment of limitations hereunder.

(b) Each licensee is entitled to the number of licenses to which he was entitled at the time immediately preceding the effective date of the then current limitation. The number of licenses to which each licensee is entitled may be increased as provided in subsection (c) of this section, or may be decreased by forfeiture as provided in subsections (e) and (f) of this section.

(c) In addition to the number of licenses to which each licensee is entitled, each such licensee shall become entitled to additional new licenses as they may become available from time to time. Additional licenses may become available (1) by the termination of a licensee's business license, for valid cause, (2) by a licensee's forfeiture of the right to a license because of his failure to utilize a license as required by law, or (3) by a change in a limitation established by the Director of Motor Vehicles. When additional licenses become available, the Director of Motor Vehicles shall determine the number of such licenses available for distribution, and shall distribute such licenses consecutively in accordance with the list of priority established by subsection (d) of this section.

(d) In order to establish a list of priority of distribution of new licenses under the provisions of this section, the Director of Motor Vehicles, immediately prior to April 15, 1968, shall cast lots on each island among persons who held valid car rental business licenses, under the provisions of chapter 9, Title 27 of this Code, on the respective islands on the effective date of this Act, and whose licenses are valid and effective at the time of the casting of lots. Written notice of the time when and the place at which the lots will be cast shall be served by the Director of Motor Vehicles to each car rental business at least three days before the casting of lots. Any person who obtains a car rental business license after the effective date of this Act shall be assigned to a position on the list of priority according to the time when he notifies the Director of Motor Vehicles that he has obtained a valid license. The Director of Motor Vehicles shall keep the list current, and shall delete the name of any person whose license to engage in the car rental business has terminated, for valid cause. He may not assign to the list the name of any person (1) whose name either already appears, or is affiliated with any partnership or corporation whose name already appears, or (2) who the Director of Motor Vehicles determines has obtained a business license in order to otherwise circumvent the purpose and intent of this subsection.

(e) At the time the Director of Motor Vehicles distributes the available licenses pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, he shall designate reasonable dates, based upon the needs and practices of the car rental industry as established at the public hearings required by subsection (a) of this section, by which dates either (1) every vehicle which is to utilize one of the new licenses must be validly registered, or (2) proof, satisfactory to the Director of Motor Vehicles, that a bona fide order has been placed for the purchase of such a vehicle is presented to the Director of Motor Vehicles. The date specified for registration may not be more than six months after the effective date of the distribution, and the date specified for the submission of proof of a bona fide order may not be more than three months after the date of such distribution. If the vehicle is not registered or if satisfactory proof of a bona fide order is not submitted within the respective time limitations, then the licensee's right to such new license shall be forfeited and the corresponding license shall be further distributed in accordance with the list of priority.

(f) Every licensee shall immediately notify the Director of Motor Vehicles after the transfer, by sale or otherwise, of a validly registered and licensed drive-yourself car. After the initial limitation has been established, such licensee may obtain a replacement license for a new drive-yourself car, which is intended to replace a drive-yourself car validly registered and licensed by such licensee; provided that--

(1) such licensee must return to the Director of Motor Vehicles the license plates from the car to be replaced and the Director of Motor Vehicles shall cancel the registration of the replaced car before he may register the new car;

(2) if a licensee does not utilize a replacement license available under this section, either by validly registering the new drive-yourself car within six months after the transfer of the car to be replaced or by submitting to the Director of Motor Vehicles proof, satisfactory to the Director of Motor Vehicles, that a bona fide order has been placed for the purchase of a replacement car within three months after such transfer, his right to such new license shall be forfeited, and the license shall be distributed in accordance with the list of priority.

(g) A person may transfer, by sale or otherwise, his car rental business, or any part thereof, together with all or any part of the number of licenses to which he is entitled under the then current limitation; except that this subsection does not authorize or entitle a person to transfer, by sale or otherwise, a car rental business license in contravention of the provisions of the last sentence of subsection (d), section 301, Title 27 of this Code.

(h) From January 3, 1968, each registration license for each drive-yourself car shall designate (1) whether the car is for rent for a period of on hundred and eighty (180) days or less, or for a period in excess of one hundred and eighty (180) days, and (2) the island for which it is issued. The registration license and corresponding license plates shall be valid for rent only for the period designated, and only on the island designated and may not be transferred to or used on any other island or any other motor vehicle, except that the Director of Motor Vehicles may assign a license plate number, previously used on a drive-yourself car, which has been replaced, to a motor vehicle which is being registered as a new drive-yourself car. All drive yourself cars shall be operated exclusively on the island for which the registration license and corresponding license plate(s) were issued and shall not be transported for use on any other island.

(i) Any person who violates the provisions of subsection (h) of this section shall be subject to a fine of not less than one thousand (1,000) dollars for each vehicle transported, or revocation of their business license for a period of not less than six (6) months or both.

HISTORY: --Added Jan. 3, 1968, No. 2092, § 1, Sess. L. 1967, p. 554; amended Feb. 2, 1968, No. 2094, § 1d-f, Sess. L. 1968, Pt. I, p. 5; Aug. 30, 1995, No. 6077, §§ 2(A), (B), Sess. L. 1995, p. 201; May 19, 2006, No. 6839, § 50, Sess. L. 2006, p. 81.

best to you,
anita.
"do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind."
--- scott nearing


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OldTart
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April 20, 2012 12:37 pm  

Anita, simply another demonstration of the indisputable fact that one should never seek to correlate logic with reality, and particularly not in an election year. I remain curious about the identity of the individual or group which prompted Mr. Browne's resurrection and re-establishment of a 1960's law that was outdated many years ago. In the space of just a few hours the word was out all over the country and visitors were scrambling to change their vehicle reservations while some were even debating canceling their trip and going elsewhere. Dumber than dumb.


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STXBob
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April 20, 2012 12:55 pm  

It seems like the taxi drivers are the main group that would have gained from enforcing this law.


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Exit Zero
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April 20, 2012 1:23 pm  

During the time period this law seems to originate from I think there was only one barge operating between STT and STJ - the venerable Petit Bleu - there were few rental villas in St John and even the passenger ferries stopped at dusk - there may even be laws on the books that regulate 'horseless carriages' that predate this one - some laws just need to be reviewed or rescinded as times change - who would have ever guessed back in the Sixties we would now need a law regulating using telephones while driving a car - lax or ineffective enforcement of outmoded laws is not uncommon across many different circumstances everywhere and they are not often removed from the Code books.
I too remain curious about the impetus for Mr. Browne's motives - it doesn't seem that the AG instigated the issuing of the directive, which would have been a logical source, since the Governor has asked them to review it.

It did give a good many people from afar a perfect glimpse into the daily pascalam of VI life and a chance to participate via the internet in a good old rugudoo and may give new meaning and enlightenment to the forum popysho!


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A Davis
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April 21, 2012 11:14 am  

the law was not just resurrected, it has been there for many years and nothing was done about it.

the enforcement of the law simply has not taken place to the point where many consider the situation normal.

like i said, if people don't like the law they should move to change it and not to break it.

when one is in a place, one should respect the laws of that place or act to change them. if you break the law, you are a criminal in the eyes of the law.

* begin pique-laden statement *
examine any lawbooks in any territory under the u.s. flag, and you will likely find laws that deserve a serious review in keeping with modern times. last i heard the door to the usvi swung both ways by the way.
* end pique-laden statement *

i don't appreciate people making us (yes, i said us because i am a law-abiding citizen and resident of "here") out to be knuckleheads because a law does not further their own economic benefit. and as for our guests, they suffer the most because of all the anxiety caused by people who should not have been both breaking the law and encouraging them to break the law for so many years.

let us concentrate on the solution and release our collective "eureka" as though some scourge has "just" been discovered. the law dates back to the 60's but has been totally ignored. there are people who have known about it for quite some time and now that the party was declared officially over, they act surprised.

best to you,
anita.
"do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind."
--- scott nearing


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East Ender
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April 21, 2012 1:17 pm  

Anita: I think the lack of enforcement of laws is the reason for many of our problems. It creates apathy and lawlessness. And it gives law enforcement too much power. It is illegal, for example, for motorcycles to drive down the center of the road. No one gets ticketed, so they continue to do it. They see cops doing it, so they think it is fine. Then they go find some other law to bend. Tinted windows, jay walking, parking in "No parking zones", etc. What is the one law that is enforced in these Virgin Islands? The seat belt law. And people tend to follow that one....


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A Davis
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April 22, 2012 3:20 am  

i agree east ender. enforcement is key!

but honestly, those car rental companies that knew about the law but chose to ignore it contribute to this situation as well. it all started with the lack of enforcement though, you're right.

best to you,
anita.
"do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind."
--- scott nearing


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East Ender
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April 22, 2012 12:23 pm  

Anita: People ignore laws because there is an environment of non-enforcement. The new non-smoking rules in restaurants are slowly being eroded. There are some places where people openly smoke, I am sure because no one comes by and busts them. I see more dogs in restaurants, again, I believe because they aren't being visited by the po-po.


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