A Brief History of Taxi Cab Operators for Hire in the Virgin Islands
The Taxi industry of the Virgin Islands has evolved for the pre-transfer days of single horse drawn carriages to 2018 where there are 1,300 permitted taxi operators on St. Thomas, 500 on St. Croix and 200 on St. John. The roughly 2,000 territorial taxi operators constitute a leading category of single business operators in the territory.
With the early beginning of the Virgin Islands as a travel destination in the 1940s came the first car operators for hire. Taxi operators are considered front liners in promoting the Virgin Islands. In many instances, they are the first and last persons encountered by visitors to the Territory.
Since then, the Virgin Islands Legislature has passed various laws intended to professionalize and standardize taxi operations across the Territory. Numerous courses and sessions have been conducted to familiarize taxi operators with the culture and history of the territory, as well as customer service trainings.
In recent years, numerous legislative measures have been passed to require the registration of taxi medallions, license plates and licenses for taxi operators. During the 1980's, a taxi commission was established to monitor and regulate the taxi industry. During the height of a bus shortage in the 1990's, the law was amended to allow for the operation of safaris "dollar rides" as an additional mode of public transportation. Safaris working the bus routes are now an established mode of transportation in the Territory.