New Taxi Rules Expected To Help Curb Visitor Harassment

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(PRESS RELEASE)

Officials within the Ministry of Tourism & Investment, St John’s Development Corporation, the Antigua Pier Group and executives from the St. John’s Taxi Association were recently engaged in key discussions as the ministry seeks to further improve visitor impressions and satisfaction for the upcoming cruise tourism season.

During the engagement, the Minister of Tourism and Investment, Hon Charles Fernandez stated that new regulations will be implemented in an effort to curb the harassment of tourists by transportation agents in Heritage Quay and to ensure that members of the St John’s Taxi Association are protected.

The new changes will specifically target unauthorized taxi operators who continue to ply their trade within Heritage Quay and obstruct parking for those who are members of the taxi association and sanctioned to operate in the Quay.

The Ministry of Tourism and Investment will be partnering with cruise liners to have an infomercial aired on board their vessels upon arrival to Antigua and Barbuda; advising passengers that if they do not have a pre-arranged tour, the St. John’s Taxi Association should be their first choice, however if they wish to use an independent taxi it will be at their own risk.

In an effort to protect members of the St. John’s taxi Association, taxi operators who are not members of the association will no longer be able to operate within Heritage Quay, instead they will be allowed to operate from Thames Street and the areas surrounding Heritage Quay.

Taxi operators who are not members of the St. John’s Taxi Association will only be allowed to park above Market Street on cruise ship days while priority will be given to members of the association to park from Nevis Street to Church Street and from Thames Street to Market street.

Tourism Minister Charles Fernandez meets with members of the SJTA alongside Reps from The APG and the SJDC

In addition to the new taxi operation and parking zone, two new taxi dispatching booths will replace the ones currently in Heritage Quay. Taxi operators will not be allowed within the sterile area i.e. between Cariloha and the Beehive restaurant, except for four designated members of the St. John’s Taxi Association to make it easier for tourists to obtain transportation should they require one.

Heritage Quay will see increased policing to ensure the new rules and regulations are being followed in the ministry’s effort to continually improve the visitor experience of cruise passengers.  

President of the St John’s Taxi Association Mr. Patrick Burnette said the group welcomes the move by the ministry as the proposed changes would help the members overcome the challenges of parking and issues that have hindered the members from effectively plying their trade.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Long overdue but we WELCOME these new rules. Taxi drivers harassing tourists is the biggest complaint made by cruise ship visitors as well as the state and condition of St John’s. Good Job though. Let’s hope they can police this! Imagine your are asked by over 10 taxi drivers if you need a taxi in about 100 steps.

  2. Where do nontaxis park…. All one sees is a sea of orange shirts, ppl still work in town during tourist season you know #slavedazedun

  3. This is distasteful and very unfortunate. Airing such a message on cruise ships will only send a negative picture of the security here in Antigua. Also, I have seen the approach to tourist by members of the association and if I were a tourist I would opt for other forms of transportation if such was available.
    Additionally, the association limits the amount of persons it permits to join its organization. In my humble opinion, all Taxi drivers should have the right to ply their trade in the heritage quay area since in some cases it is not by choice that individuals are not a part of the association. “Everyone deserves the right to make his bread”.

    Tourism is everyone’s business, not just protecting it but also benefitting from it.

    Is division and a risky environment the message we really wish to portray about Antigua? I think this law or rule needs more reconsideration and thought for not just a few but for everyone.
    “Each endeavouring, all achieving”

Comments are closed.