Gypsy taxis could be operating at local shopping centers soon and legitimately if a plan between the Taxi Commission, Licensing and Consumer Affairs and Islander Taxi Association comes to fruition.
Under the proposed deal, more than 26 gypsy taxis could lease inactive taxi medallions and operate under the auspices of Islander Taxi Association and its blanket umbrella insurance.
The gypsy drivers would be expected to wear uniforms, display Islander signs on their vehicles and comply with all requirements of the association.
Andrew Rutnik, commissioner of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, said "this initiative is encouraging as we persist in our endeavor to rid the streets of illegal vehicles for hire."
Harold Baker, executive director of the Taxicab Commission, said, "The taxicab commission is currently in the process of reconciling dormant medallions and getting in contact with the owners so that they can be leased to individuals who would like to become legal taxis."
In July, Rutnik formed a task force to address the illegal taxis that operate primarily at shopping centers and grocery stores around the island to provide taxi service to residents.
Residents have complained that legal taxis refuse to pick them up, holding out instead for groups of tourists.
Rutnik said in July that taxis had to pick up all passengers when on duty, no matter the size of the fare or the distance, clearly post tariffs and have badges visible at all times.
Also in July, Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole drafted legislation to create a special class of taxis – supermarket taxis to solve some of the problems residents have with local taxi service.
Under the deal Rutnik and Baker are drafting, the former gypsies would operate only at Pueblo Long Bay, Sub Base and Four Winds Plaza and well as Kmart and Lockhart Mall.