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Still fuming after taxi from airport situation.  

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AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
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January 5, 2016 4:24 pm  

Is it even worth me complaining to the Taxi Association?

We flew in a few days ago from the states. Our flight was two hours late so a midnight arrival. Our friends were going to pick us up but they work really early I just told them we'd cab it home. We live Fsted - mapped it is 5.8 miles to my house.

It started off BAD cabbies looked confused and not organized.. frantic even. We asked right when we got off if they had a cab to Fsetd. They said yes so we told them it would be a few minutes to wait for our luggage. I brought back 6 large IKEA frames for artwork - approximately 24"x36"x8" and another box that was the same size - not heavy at all just kinda bulky but not oversize by airline standards - two backpacks and our rolling carry on. So 5 bags total. We collected our checked luggage and told the guy in the taxi stand box that we were ready. He was rude (not surprised) and was on his cell phone and literally only looked up to look at how much luggage we had. I asked him the cost and he REFUSED to give me a price. He said the cab drivers make the prices. I thought that was off. Then I noticed the pricing behind him. Says $6 to Fsted town pp - So I round up to $10 as were a little further up - and $2.00 per bag. OK so I'm looking at $30.

Then the taxi guy we originally asked comes over. He is a total A hole - he seems stressed out, looking at us and our luggage and trying to coordinate other cabbies and other passengers. He is complaining about our baggage, about the fact that he can't collect more people to go with us, about how late it is, about EVERYTHING. I wanted to punch him! I had been traveling for 13 hours.

So I ask him the price. He wont give me the effing price! He keeps skirting the issue. Finally he started compiling about the fact that we didn't grab a cart to load our baggage. We never checked bags before in STX - didn't even know where baggage claim was. So my fiance goes and gets a cart and my fiance loads the baggage onto the cart. Taxi guys walks us to his van. He is complaining the entire way to the van and grilling me on where we live and if its paved. I tell him yes but its on a bad road. He isn't happy about this and knows the road. Not my problem - I'd LOVE for them to fix Mahogany rd. but it ain't gonna happen. Now he is complaining about how much he hates when people haggle price. I haven't haggled - I don't even know the price yet. Finally I make him tell me before we load our baggage. He says that baggage is "at least" $5 per person and wouldn't tell me the total. I ask again. HOW MUCH MONEY? He mumbles $45 but then promptly says - "maybe more". This is where I should have said nope or forced a price from him - but he was the last cab driver there - while he was mumbling complaints all the other cabbies left. I ran to the rental car window just before they closed up I begged for a car. Anything to NOT have this jerk take us home. No cars.

So I have no choice. I ask him please to NOT load our luggage - that my fiancé would load it all as I don't want the frames busted up and this guy was in a mood already. He grabs my frames and before I can scream no - he slams it down in the back. I'm almost in tears at this point. I'm sick with a cold, tired of 13 hours of flying - and its now pushing 1:00am. This entire time he is STILL Complaining about how late it is, and how he hates hagglers and how the other cabbies don't want to come help at the airport that late. Then he says we have to wait for another lady going to Fsted. Ok fine. I'll just relax in the van - in the back - in silence. 10 minutes later he comes back and says she has to file a claim - airlines lost her bag. I ask how long and he says "a long time". WHAT? That is exactly what he said. Now I am seeing red. I tell him NO I will not wait for her. I want to go home and if he wont take me I will find a way myself. He is huffing and puffing walking around his van looking super frazzled. It was unnatural as it wasn't really a stressful situation - he was making it that way. I am like DUDE you're the worst cabbie ever. A TukTuk in India has it more together than this guy. Finally he begrudgingly agrees to take us home without the lady but makes damn sure we know he did us a real favor by not making us have to wait.

So my fiancé loads the rest of baggage. I'm pretty pissed off by now, and finally stop the cabbie - look him right in his eyes and say: I'm not haggling with you, you haven't even given me a total. I live here and have for a while. I'm not a tourist, I know how this works. You need relax, you are stressing me out and you are being really unprofessional - you're going to make like $65 for a 10 min drive so please stop freaking out and complaining about everything". I just threw out that number because he still hasn't given us the damn price. That shut him up... for like 3 minutes. The entire way home he continued to complain.

> He wont stop at stoplights or stop signs because "men see us and jump out when we stop to rob us". Its late so ok.
> He hates working so late and the flight are always late - his family misses him
> He can't go through Fsted because the village is going on (the way we went was faster anyways)
> None of his fellow cabbies will work late when called into the airport so he always has to do it
> He is worried the entire time about the roads being bad. He is complaining about my road - which is one of the worst roads on island - Mahogany rd.
> How he will have to drive all the way home to C-sted
> He says he was out until 3am at the village the night before.

We aren't responding to anything he says - totally have our mouths shut hoping and praying he will shut up and stop complaining. Nope. The entire way home he bitched. He pulls up to the gate and I get out and put in the code - then he goes up the hill and starts freaking out because its not paved. Its flat and graded but not paved. Its like 100 feet of not paved area on a corner. The rest is paved.

Finally we get home - I can't deal anymore so I go to the house with the bags I could take, then he slaps a $65 charge on my fiancé. I am assuming he heard me throw out that number and decided it sounded good. Kind of my fault I guess but I couldn't get a price from him. So after all this its three days later and I am still pissed. Not sure why lol but it was just so insane. Is it even worth me complaining to the taxi association? Should I just get over it? I can only imagine if this happens to tourists. I wouldn't come back if that was the initial contact I had on STX. I've taken plenty of cabs and safaris on STT and never had anything like this happen.


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LiquidFluoride
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January 5, 2016 4:29 pm  

Sounds like a challenging return; next time call us 😛


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AandA2VI
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January 5, 2016 4:34 pm  

DUDE! I should have and I did think about it but it was so late.... and we would have ended up at Lost Dog lol! 🙂


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islandjoan
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January 5, 2016 4:35 pm  

Man that sucks!!!

I would totally report it. They need to know how the taxi drivers are treating people AND they need to have standardized pricing.

I hope you got his name.

Good luck!!!!


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AandA2VI
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January 5, 2016 4:37 pm  

I did insist on a receipt - it has his signature. My fiancé forgot the lic number. SMH.


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monogram
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January 5, 2016 4:42 pm  

$65 for a cab ride on STX?


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AandA2VI
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January 5, 2016 4:46 pm  

HAHAHAHHAHHA! Thanks monogram! Too funny.


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OldTart
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January 5, 2016 4:46 pm  

Disastrous but there is a surcharge after midnight and a surcharge for oversized luggage. Next time around check the rates so you know exactly what the charge should be:

http://www.vinow.com/stcroix/getting_around_stx/taxis-rates/


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LiquidFluoride
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January 5, 2016 4:56 pm  

DUDE! I should have and I did think about it but it was so late.... and we would have ended up at Lost Dog lol! 🙂

no such thing as too late for us 😉

but yeah... the dog IS between the airport and mahogany... (sorta...)


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AandA2VI
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January 5, 2016 5:15 pm  

OT I love you girl, but sometimes you always act like you're the ONLY one that lives here that knows anything lol. I do know the fares they were right there on the wall.... although they don't match the prices on VInow.. This is why I was confused at the rate of $65 when it should have been $15 for the fare and $8 for both large bags and $6 for the three small bags. The problem is that the taxi driver kept eluding to the fact that there was additional charges and the guy on the booth said that the cab driver makes the prices. $29 total is what it should have been... hence why I posted this here - to see if I have any options or if its pointless. Plus what do you do? Argue with the driver at your house after midnight? I'll see what can be done but I wont hold my breath on a resolution.


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ms411
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January 5, 2016 5:20 pm  

Now that you've vented to your forum friends, forget about it and go to the beach. We always tell people to bring lots of money, and this is just one example of why! If you're not going to a destination on the rate sheet, and it's after hours, and you've got several bags, be prepared to pay $$.

Both you and the taxi driver had had a long day, and were both cranky. I don't blame you for being so, but that's the nature of traveling these days especially on the holidays. Just be glad you were able to get home safely.


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OldTart
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January 5, 2016 5:32 pm  

OT I love you girl, but sometimes you always act like you're the ONLY one that lives here that knows anything lol.

You're absolutely entitled to your opinion but my intent was simply to relay information. Few know there are surcharges as not everyone reads the small print. If there's a discrepancy between what you've seen posted and what's to hand on this site then maybe you could let Islander know. To the best of my knowledge the rates have remained the same for years but if there's been a change it's not off the wall to think that maybe these were never properly publicized.


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AandA2VI
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January 5, 2016 5:39 pm  

Good idea Ms, its been pouring rain all day so no beach but its so nice out!!! I'll just watch some really pointless TV and zone out 😉

I will say DAMN I am so freaking glad to be back!!! Its harder to leave here every time I go back to the states. So "over it" there - just too much and too many people. Finally experienced what a few long time residents have... too many options. I felt anxiety when my sister took me shopping, was odd. I ended up with nothing other than a few household things. Plus now that I found the Ale House and have Zion Modern Kitchen - no need to go back to the states lol. I also get sick every single time I go to AZ their air is horrific. You can smell the pollution. When we landed here - even though I could barely breathe from my nose I could smell the ocean. HOME.

I never get sick on international flights or even other states - just AZ. My body rejects it lol.


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Alana33
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January 5, 2016 5:46 pm  

It would have been an unpleasant experience for anyone.
Imagine a tourist having to deal with that as a first impression arriving
late and having to deal with the BS attitude and excessive charges.

I'd report it.
I'd also report it to the Dept. of Tourism so they're aware of the type of service that taxis give/you got.
(Heck, if it were me, I'd write probably an op-ed piece and copy it to a few senators.)


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tedc
 tedc
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January 5, 2016 6:13 pm  

I disagree with the "suck it up" approach. I'm all for people earning their money, but giving tourists their first and last taste of the islands through bad taxi drivers is horrible.

The rates are set by the government, not the drivers, and they should be able to back up their math with the rate sheet they carry. The sheets have all the add-ons for luggage, delays, odd locations, and after-hours.

I have dropped my (properly-added) money on the ground after an irate driver tried to overcharge me, beyond both the posted rates and what he quoted earlier. (He also threatened that we should fight over it, and that he carries a machete in the van.) Since we were at the airport and I had the time, I offered to ask one of the dispatchers for their opinion on his pricing structure, the driver continued to scream but didn't pursue it further, I assume he eventually picked up the money and went off to the next scam.

Also had the excuse of "too steep" for taking me only 60% of the way late at night... have showed up to the last Cruz Bay ferry for villa pickups to find zero taxis on duty for arrival... been on a taxi alongside a family with young kids, where the driver had a very R-rated comedy playing loudly on all the TVs, and when asked to turn it down or off, turned it *up*... and gave a free ride to some people I met on a St. John beach who had been waiting in the taxi for more than half an hour for the driver to make the trip worthwhile.

They're not all jerks, but there's enough bad apples in the bunch to make the whole experience stink.

It doesn't have to be that way, though. Other tourist economies have figured it out. In the heavily tourist-populated areas of Puerto Rico, fares are agreed to by the dispatcher, not the driver, and they hand out an explanation cards with some easy info. I think the drivers are beaten into being "nice" but it still helps. Or, Barbados, I was in a taxi once with a bunch of tourists. On exiting, the driver upped his price. I refused, paid the agreed-to price and walked off. Moments later, a nicely-dressed rep from the tourist department stepped up, and asked me if the driver tried to rip us off, I said yes. She took down his tag number, a quick report, and noted that they take it seriously and he will be put on notice - which was great.

If not better management or policing, which I never expect the taxi associations to do on their own, I'd love to see Beverly at tourism push for improvements - maybe a "secret shopper" sort of arrangement where tourism identifies some frequent-travelers to pay their fares in exchange for reports on each taxi trip, whether good or bad.


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ms411
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January 5, 2016 6:18 pm  

Everybody knows how the taxis are so A&A should just let it go. She was the one who said he would make $65, and she was under no obligation to pay more than the posted rate. I don't know what can be done to change the drivers' behavior, but unless she's writing as a therapy exercise best to do something note worthwhile.


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OldTart
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January 5, 2016 6:43 pm  

I don't know what can be done to change the drivers' behavior ...

Report it in writing to the VI Taxi Association and the Commissioner along with tag numbers. Yes, of course it's worth complaining. If more people took the time to do it there would likely be less of a problem with the "rogues". Never had to report a taxi driver but have twice followed through with VIPD officers - and very successfully. Lots of things you can let slide, others not so much and when there's a clear and wanton disregard for policy it's the least one can do.


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AandA2VI
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January 5, 2016 6:44 pm  

Agreed - I should have just paid the posted rate even though he wouldn't agree upon it. I was sarcastically making a point because he was complaining - as in "look you're getting $65 to go 6 miles". I will admit that I shouldn't have said that as he heard it and took advantage.

I will email a shortened version of this - is this the correct place? http://www.stcroixtaxi.com
I can't find a legit looking website other than the one for STT. It does mention the booth at the airport so maybe this is it? http://www.stcroixtaxi.com

Maybe I should design them a new website - post a price and then complain the entire time I design it and charge them 30% more at the end? HAHA.


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tedc
 tedc
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January 5, 2016 6:48 pm  

haha... NICE!


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FLLisa
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January 5, 2016 6:48 pm  

Wow, I'm glad I always rent a car when I'm there. This will make me avoid taxis at all costs!


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AandA2VI
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January 5, 2016 6:53 pm  

WOW. Someone messaged me the phone number for the STX taxi association. I just called to talk to someone and they were super RUDE and ended up saying well you have to hand deliver a letter to the president who may or may not be here - and hung up! I wonder if this is how tourists get treated here? Is it because I don't have a local accent? I spend most my income on travel and I can tell you I wouldn't come here if this is the way tourists get treated! Who has email for department of tourism for STX?


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stxsailor
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January 5, 2016 7:36 pm  

The STX Taxi association is like a little mafia. They don't care and won't change. When i worked at the airport (STT and STX), I saw and experienced the worst. i can't believe how some of them act, especially to our tourists who this is their first taste. There are some really good ones as well, but as well all know it only takes a few bad ones to make the reputation.


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OldTart
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January 5, 2016 7:46 pm  

WOW. Someone messaged me the phone number for the STX taxi association. I just called to talk to someone and they were super RUDE ...

You need to do this in writing not over the telephone. Government House (774-0001) will be able to give you the email address for the VI Taxicab Commissioner and you can write to him/her with a copy to STX Taxi Association (just call and ask them for their email address). You can send a copy to the Tourism Commissioner too - the Governor's office can give you her email address too).


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IslandHops
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January 5, 2016 7:50 pm  

United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism
Office of Film Promotion
P.O. Box 6400
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, 00804
Phone: (340) 774-8784 ext. 2243 or Direct (340) 775-1444
Fax: (340) 774-4390


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Matt T
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January 5, 2016 7:51 pm  

I'm sorry this may sound rude, but haven't you lived in the VI long enough to not be surprised at something like this? Haven't you lived here long enough to learn some tactics to deal with Virgin Islanders who are rude, grumble, etc.

If it was me, since he didn't tell you the price up front when you asked, I would have let him drive me home and said "ok if you won't tell me how much its going to be we can work out a price once we get there." On the ride, I would have listened to his complaining and sounded like I cared- actually I probably would have seeing as how late it was. I also would have tried to steer the conversation on a more positive note- ask how he's enjoying festival etc. Then when he dropped me off and said it was $65, asked him to explain how he reached that price. If he could tell me how he calculated the price and it seemed fair, then pay him. If not, then explain where his math was wrong and pay him accordingly. If he doesn't accept that, then pay him, get a receipt, his name, and tag number. Not that you could do much with this but at least it makes him second guess what he's trying to charge you.

You should know by now things are the way they are here and no amount of complaining or bitching on a forum or even in person to the taxi association is going to change it. Suck it up and move on. There's more important things to fret over.

It sounded like when the taxi drivers were not being friendly and telling you how much it would be, your energy became negative. I could be wrong on that. But negative energy will attract negative energy.

Are you healthy? If so then be happy. Good health is the greatest gift and we should all be thankful everyday for good health. Move on and stop bitching about St. Croix so much. You never have anything positive on here to say about it. If you don't like it here move back to Rock or somewhere else. St. Croix aint changing for you so best to adapt to yourself to the island.


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