Dear Source:
Last week I arrived at the airport in St. Thomas after a vacation in the states. I retrieved my luggage and took it to the taxi dispatcher and asked for a taxi to Red Hook. I was told to get into TP 0654. There were 11 passengers in the vehicle. Seven for Red Hook, two for Secret Harbor and two for Sapphire Beach Resort. The driver grumbled about so much luggage and asked some of the younger drivers for help. The luggage was piled into the back and inside the van in front of the sliding door.
We were driven on a circuitous route, by Market Square along Back Street, and sat in the heat in the van with its poor A/C for a long time before we were able to move in the traffic. The first stop was at Sapphire Beach Resort. Two women got out. Most of the luggage was taken out. The stop was about 10 minutes. We had our bags at 11:45 a.m. It was now 5 minutes to 1 p.m.
When the driver finally got back into the van, he drove dangerously fast and sped into the parking lot at Red Hook, blowing the horn. The alert Harbor Master held up his hand to the Varlack ferry captain, who was preparing to leave and he kindly waited for us. The luggage was unloaded from the back, except for mine. I wanted to make the ferry and removed my own luggage and gave it to the dock porter to put it on the boat. I handed the driver $12 ($9 for the ride, $2 for my luggage even though he had never touched my bags, and $1 extra). He came running after me as I walked to the ferry. He asked where my luggage was. I pointed to the bags. He counted the bags on the cart and said, "You are too damned cheap to pay me, after I rushed to get you to the ferry." I pointed to the money in his hand and showed that I had indeed paid him and I walked to the boat.
The porter asked for "whatever I could afford" and took my $1 per bag pleasantly.
What has happened to cabs directly going to the ferry and the "NICE" program? It seems to me that it needs to be started again.
There are alternatives for locals and tourists. Rent your car at the airport and take the car barge to St. John, have a friend drive you from the airport or drive yourself and park
S. Fredrickson
St. John

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