Tourists speak to a shuttle driver near the Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex in Road Town. (Photo: Freeman Rogers)

Ongoing reforms to streamline and improve the taxi-permitting process will include capping new permits at 23 per year, according to Communications and Works Minister Kye Rymer.

Speaking to the House of Assembly last week, Mr. Rymer said his ministry has worked with the Taxi and Livery Commission to “develop a criteria for issuing taxi permits that will engender transparency, fairness, efficiency and quality in the taxicab industry in the Virgin Islands.”

The Road Traffic (Taxi-Cab) Regulations, he explained, empower him to limit taxi permits granted in the territory.

“There are currently 708 active taxi licences in the Virgin Islands,” he said during the Feb. 20 HOA meeting. “To prevent oversaturation of the industry, it is necessary to set a reasonable cap on the number of taxi permits issued while safeguarding an open, transparent process for obtaining them.”

The planned regime, he said, will spread the 23 new permits across the territory, allowing for two per year to be granted in each of districts One through Eight and five to be granted in District Nine (three on Virgin Gorda and two on Anegada).

The reforms, he said, also include streamlining the process for acquiring a taxi permit.

“The criteria for approving taxi permit applications will establish a standardised, efficient procedure that outlines precise requirements and reduces the waiting period for a response to an application,” he said.

The qualification criteria will require knowledge of local roads and driver competency, which will be assessed with background checks and driving record evaluations, according to the minister.

Proof of medical fitness will also be required, he said.

“These checks will provide our citizens and visitors with safer, more secure taxi services,” he
said. Such requirements are included in newly developed criteria that will be submitted to Cabinet soon for review and approval, according to the minister.


He also stressed the importance of a “responsive” regulatory body that “handles complaints, investigates reports of misconduct, and takes appropriate action against drivers” who break the rules.