The free shuttle service that since June has ferried residents through Road Town streets has been expanded to two sister islands, government announced Monday.
Starting Monday, Virgin Gorda residents can hop aboard taxis travelling two different routes: route A, which departs from the Spanish Town Jetty and stops at Handsome Bay, The Baths, and South Valley, before returning to the jetty; and route B, which begins at Buck’s Food Market in South Valley and passes through The Baths, Handsome Bay and The Valley before looping back around, according to a press release from the Ministry for Transportation, Works and Utilities.
And on Jost Van Dyke, residents can hop aboard taxis on route A, which goes from Little Harbour Hill to Great Harbour and back, or on route B, which goes from White Bay to Great Harbour and back.
The press release also noted that a similar service is expected to be launched in Anegada by the end of the month and stated that TWU Minister Kye Rymer and Taxi and Livery Commission Director Jevaughn Parsons recently met with taxi drivers on the island to “ensure that all taxi operators in the territory are given an opportunity to utilise the stimulus being offered to them by the government.”
Road Town’s park-and-ride service launched in late June as part of government’s efforts to ease congestion on the business district’s streets.
Like on VG and JVD, taxi operators traverse two routes through town: the green line, which begins at the Festival Village Grounds and makes stops at Bobby’s Supermarket, Pusser’s parking lot, and Elmore Stoutt High School, among others; and the yellow line, which begins across the street from the Dr. Orlando Smith Hospital and stops at locations including the One Mart parking lot and The Moorings.
Two months after its launch, the shuttle service has attracted some regular passengers, said government information officer Giovanni Herbert.
“I’ve done it a few time and seen people confidently come on it … and tell me advice,” Mr. Herbert said, though he declined to comment on whether the additional sister island services were a response to an uptick in ridership.
The cadre of drivers has grown as well, as at least 100 taxi operators have now registered for the service, Mr. Herbert said, though he did not say how many across the territory are actively driving at a given time.
After recent meetings on Anegada, Mr. Herbert expects there will be “something in motion” for taxi operators on the island by the end of the month, he said.
But once the borders reopen, the fate of the service is unclear, he added.
Drivers are paid by the government as part of an economic relief package, and should the service continue when tourists are welcomed back to the territory, it remains to be seen whether the drivers would rather collect tourist dollars or a government paycheque, Mr. Herbert said.
“We would probably have to go back to the drawing board and see how we would … prepare for that,” he said.