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Truck with "safari" in the back

 
FL Barrier Islander
(@FL_Barrier_Islander)
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If you had a personal vehicle - a truck - that is not used as a taxi but rather is used as personal transportation and you wanted to drive around St. Thomas with your guests/people in the back in the "Safari", would there be any traffic violations involved in this scenario? Also, would there be any animosity from the Dollar cabs/"Safari" drivers that may be directed at the owners of this personal vehicle while out and about St. Thomas. I realize this last question is somewhat subjective but I am wondering if anyone has this type of situation and/or any experience with this type of situation. But, my main question (objectively) is what are the USVI rules regarding "passengers" in the back of a personal vehicle/truck.

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Topic starter Posted : July 16, 2012 3:37 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

Not sure exactly what you mean but if the truck is properly equipped for passengers and not just an open truck with no seating - in other words pretty identical to the safari taxis - then I don't see that that would be a problem but you might want to check with DMV or VIPD to see what regulations are in force.

If you're talking about just transporting your group in an open truck then I think you'd have a problem. First (and even though it's done all the time here with particularly local contractors picking up day laborers to take to the job site) it's actually illegal now. Of more importance is that it's very dangerous. Take a tight turn too fast, hit a pothole and someone could easily get thrown out of the back. Not something I would even think of risking!

Hope that helps.

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Posted : July 16, 2012 3:59 pm
piaa
 piaa
(@piaa)
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Old Tart - I thought they did away with the law re: people in the back of trucks - I know it was passed after a child was killed but (on STJ anyway) there was such a stink made they (I believe) rescinded it - not that I am saying it is a great idea.

Pia

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Posted : July 16, 2012 4:17 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Have your guests rent a car that will hold the amount of people visiting. If it's a large group, you can rent a van.
Safer that way for everyone and will greatly improve your sanity since all your guests won't be 100% dependant on you to take them everywhere they want and they can come and go, as they please, when they please.

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Posted : July 16, 2012 4:26 pm
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Trusted Member

I have to agree with Tart. VERY dangerous, even with the reguation safari-set-up. Just last year a college student fell from safari taxi after it hit a speed bump, hit her head and died. Don't do it. No medical expertise on island to deal with TBIs. I suspect the taxi drivers will display thier customary level of "animosity "....

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Posted : July 16, 2012 4:30 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
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Old Tart - I thought they did away with the law re: people in the back of trucks - I know it was passed after a child was killed but (on STJ anyway) there was such a stink made they (I believe) rescinded it - not that I am saying it is a great idea.

Pia

Don't remember, Pia. That's why I suggested checking with DMV and VIPD before looking into any kind of truck modifications. I wish they'd make it a firm rule and stick to it as I cringe every time I see either kids or adults in the back of an open truck and steer well clear of them. I'd forgotten about the one which blu4u brought up but even one accident of this kind is one too many when they could so easily be avoided.

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Posted : July 16, 2012 4:46 pm
FL Barrier Islander
(@FL_Barrier_Islander)
Trusted Member

We are on Water Island. We have a larger home and we frequently have company and, from time to time, they want to go to town. To do this, I either have to escort a "herd" of people (any number of people over 2 or 3 max to me is a "herd") on the ferry and then either rent a van, taxi or dollar cab for the day. For convenience and cost, we've been considering taking the truck (and our people) over on the barge. We have a truck with a crew cab so we can accomodate up to 5 people inside the cab. The back of the truck has two bench seats that span 'vertically' versus 'horizontally' like in dollar taxi you may see on the roads on STT. The "safari" also has a metal "frame" which holds a "roof" over the seating. This where the overflow rides. Now.....riding around Water Island, there's no issue. I realize we would drive somewhat faster on STT so would have to take care about the health and safety of the passengers in the "safari" - just as we do on Water Island. We do not have seatbelts in the safari for our passengers.

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Topic starter Posted : July 16, 2012 5:02 pm
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

A few of the safaris on either STT or STJ have that set-up, and I'm pretty sure I've ridden in at least one for some excursion (I think some of the Westin taxis are like that). As long as you're not charging passengers for a ride, you should be able to transport as many as you would like in your vehicle since I don't think you'd be considered a vehicle for hire. There's a good chance that some taxi driver may question your legality, but I don't think they can charge you with having passengers in the back when they don't charge anybody else.

Let us know how it works out if you decide to do it.

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Posted : July 16, 2012 6:27 pm
FL Barrier Islander
(@FL_Barrier_Islander)
Trusted Member

I appreciate everyone's input. I am always concerned about the health and safety of people about riding in the back of a pickup truck. Even in a "safari" type set-up with seating, a roof, and a frame surrounding, I still am very conscious that accidents can and do happen. From my experience both in our truck as well as the dollar taxis, every movement (bump, breaking, turning, getting too close to vegetation on the side of the road, uphill/downhill, etc.) is magnified by 100% when riding in the back. Maybe our trip will be limited to the CUL, Home Depot and 20 other places we have to go to town for and we let the inanimate overflow ride back there on STT. Friends and family will likely continue to ride the ferry and renting a car/van. Now I just have to figure out how to make them go by themselves. 😎 I'm still mulling it over but your input was helpful.

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Topic starter Posted : July 16, 2012 6:49 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

OT's suggestion of checking with VIPD or DMV is a good one.
At least then you know whether it is legal to drive passengers in the back of your truck with your set-up and can figure out what you wish to do from there. Maybe renting a van on this side is easier than being tied to barge schedules and RT costs as well as having something available for guests if they want to venture forth to STT in evening for entertainment/dinner and be their own driver which would free your time up.

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Posted : July 16, 2012 7:05 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

Getting them to go by themselves? That's easy and options range from just telling them to go by themselves to conspiring devilish scenarios such as:

1, Get a cheap little tape recorder and fill it with various horrible grinding and screeching noises. As they're packed into the vehicle and as you turn the key to start the engine, enable the recorder. The worse the noises (even a little strategically placed smoke canister could be employed to add to the scene) and they'll be outta there in a jiffy. "Oops, got a problem, sorry!"

2. Either separately or in conjunction with the above, pick up some stink bombs from a stateside/online gag supplier. They're very small and, once the truck is loaded, crush one underfoot. The odor is totally repulsive, won't stick to the truck but will last long enough for you to make various "Ugh, I must have hit an iguana and it's rotting underneath", etc, noises of disgust and hasten their disembarkation.

Of course it's much easier just to ask them to make their own arrangements (after you've fulfilled your host duties once or twice) but these are merely suggestions and, given some more time (and a few glasses of wine which I would later regret) I could indubitably come up with more. 😀

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Posted : July 16, 2012 7:11 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
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Cute, OT!

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Posted : July 16, 2012 7:14 pm
FL Barrier Islander
(@FL_Barrier_Islander)
Trusted Member

LOL. Even if family/friends have visited me before, and been on "the tour", whenever I suggest I drive them to Phillips Landing/WI ferry landing and they can call me when they're ready to be picked up, they look at me with wild what-are-you-crazy?? eyes. I always respond first with "oh good grief! You've been over there with me....HOW MANY TIMES?" Of course, the spousal unit is no help as he NEVER has to be the tour guide but is always the first one to say "you're being a TERRIBLE host! GO with them!" I think I need to work on standing my ground. In this case, standing on Water Island wishing them a fun day and waving at them as the ferry pushes off.

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Topic starter Posted : July 16, 2012 9:36 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

I love family and friends visiting but have a standing rule that they must have a rental car to be able to come and go, on their own.
As mentioned to FLBI, it keeps my sanity and helps with the exhaustion factor.
Living on the Northside of STT, we have absolutely NO public transportation and to get a taxi to take guests to go out to dinner and back (or anywhere, for that matter) is just about impossible and cost prohibitive. I simply do not have the time to run people, back and forth, every day or evenings, so am always happy that my guests take it in good stride and are happy to venture forth on their own.
They are on vacation, here to have fun and see the sights.
I still have to work and be accommodating to their needs as much as I can but after the 5th night in a row of being on the go, day and night, when they ask where are we going tonight? My answer is: I don't know about you but I am going to bed!
I try to do as much as I can with them and love the opportunity to play guide and tourist but I am not on vacation and some guests are like the energizer bunnies! They want to go, go go and I am ready to drop.
We are all glad to have our friends and families visit and spend time with us.
We are also happy to wave good-bye and anticipate their next visit.

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Posted : July 17, 2012 11:14 am
Jamison
(@Jamison)
Trusted Member

I've talked to the guys with the Safaris on STX and those types of conversions are now illegal.

I see people in the backs of trucks all the time and everywhere and in all types of situations here.

So, yes they can ride in the back on STX, as long as you make no effort to make it safer. 😀

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Posted : July 17, 2012 11:58 am
Ronnie
(@ronnie)
Trusted Member

As long as you have seats in the back of the truck it is legal. Several hotels and guest houses on St Thomas and St John has them as well as some private folks. Not sure where the law ended up about people driving in the back of trucks with no seats. They were trying to make it illegal and it was at the same time that man lost his grandchild in an accident but I think they still tabled it. To think of how many times people are ticketed for no seat belts but go can go to the beach with 15 kids in the back of a pick up truck and it's okay. Sheer nonsense.

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Posted : July 17, 2012 12:30 pm
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Trusted Member

To think of how many times people are ticketed for no seat belts but go can go to the beach with 15 kids in the back of a pick up truck and it's okay. Sheer nonsense.

I know! Adults in the cab. Kids in the bed. Crazy!

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Posted : July 17, 2012 1:10 pm
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