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Taxi in St. Thomas Dec 07

St. Thomas, USVI, is one of the nicest place in the Caribbean. They use the dollar, and everyone speaks English. But you should be aware of a few things.
They drive on the wrong side of the road. Traffic is about as crowded as in New York City, if quieter, and everybody there is more used to dealing with it than you are. Unless you intend to scoot directly out of town and feel comfortable seeing vehicles coming at you from the right, don’t drive yourself.
St. Thomas is a safe place to visit, though—you don’t have to worry about crooks and muggers, or disease, or beggars. Cruises offer safe havens in their shore excursions, but St. Thomas is comfortable enough that you can save a little money by striking out on your own. Downtown is even walking distance from the pier, and you’ll find a lot of places to shop and visit, if that’s your thing.
However, you might want a taxi for the trip back to your ship, since you might be tired or laden with purchases. Or in a hurry. Do Not Miss Your Ship.
The first thing you see when you disembark is a taxi staging area. You go to the little building, and a nice person with a walkie=talkie directs your party to a suitable taxi. Taxis in St. Thomas are mainly minivans and open-air jitneys.

taxisTourism is about the only industry on the island, and you might find yourself traveling with total strangers if your group doesn’t fill the vehicle. However, a nice shopping center is right across the street, and if you walk there, you’ll find another taxi area at the far end of that series of shops. This taxi stand is much more informal. You can deal with anyone you want, and fares are negotiable. In advance. Taxis are similarly grouped in open areas all over town, and you can pick up a taxi pretty much wherever you want. These drivers all know each other, and they will likely have similar rates, but if you ask, you generally get a discount.
Because they compete for your business, the drivers are big on personality. They will tell you the sites as they go along, and engage in cheerful banter. One driver, who said she was a waitress by trade (specializing in rum and coke) said if I returned to the island she would put me up and do my laundry and cooking until I got tired of her.
Besides being personable, the drivers are agressive seeking your business. If you look the least bit lost, someone will offer to take you where you need to go. Looking lost includes sitting on a bench in the flea market while your womenfolk shop in the little stalls. Looking lost includes waiting at the curb looking for a break in the traffic so you can get across the street. You are wisest to tell everyone that you don’t want to decide—until you atually get ready to head out. Beware of telling more than one person that you’ll do business with them later. They remember you if you promise to ride with them, and when you get ready to leave you’ll have everyone you promised looking at you expectantly for your business. Besides, you don’t want to be a jerk, do you? When someone approaches you, smile, thank them for the offer, but you’re not ready to think about a taxi yet. No promises.
When you get to your destination, tipping is very acceptable.

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Category: General  | Tags: , ,
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