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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, August 12, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesBORNN CALLS FOR TAXI DRIVER TRAINING

BORNN CALLS FOR TAXI DRIVER TRAINING

Nothing better illustrates Tourism Commissioner-designate Michael Bornn’s emphasis that local taxi operators make or break visitors’ impressions of St. Croix than an example he gave Thursday evening.
While a convention organizer was scouting St. Croix as a site to host a group of 400 influential political and business people a couple of months ago, a taxi driver’s inadvertent slip of the tongue about the quality of the island’s medical care almost cost the event.
Although the Department of Tourism was able to salvage the Carib News Conference, set for Oct. 14-17 at the Carambola Beach Resort, and its guest list of 15 Caribbean prime ministers and 25 members of Congress, Bornn said the moral of the story is that every visitor is important.
"Each individual person is valuable to us," Bornn told a group of about 15 taxi operators at a meeting at the Hotel Caravelle Thursday evening. "Treat them like they have a million dollars, because they might."
Bornn strongly emphasized that training and service go hand-in-hand. He said the reluctance by some of the island’s 400 taxi drivers to partake in customer service and tourism training will only hold the tourism product back.
And many of those drivers are also the "bad apples" who leave visitors with a negative impression of the island, he said.
"The folks that are here tonight, I would venture to say, aren’t the problem," he said. "The litmus test is one thing and one thing only — service. I can’t pass legislation that the cruise ships have to hire rude drivers."
Bornn, who is also a member of the V.I. Port Authority board of directors, promised to study the conflict between taxi drivers and Abramson Enterprises. Abramson has a deal with Carnival Cruise Lines to use large buses to pick up passengers on the Port Authority dock in Frederiksted. Taxis must wait outside the dock area, which is unfair, contend drivers, headed by Kelvin Dennie of the St. Croix Taxi Federation.
The Abramson issue is "the biggest concern of the little man driving a taxi," said Lloyd Daly.
Daly encouraged Gov. Charles Turnbull to revive the government-run Taxi Commission.The commission, which is supposed to enforce industry rules and regulations, is not funded and has no director or enforcement officers. Because of those problems, taxi drivers who break rules and regulations continue to do business.
While Bornn agreed the commission is in "total disarray," he said taxi drivers shouldn’t rely on the government to fix every problem facing the industry.
One way for taxi operators to help themselves, Bornn said, is for them to unite and travel to Puerto Rico in October for the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association’s trade meeting. By working together, Bornn said drivers can lobby the cruise lines and offer bulk tours for visitors instead of individual drivers who can’t fulfill the cruise line’s needs.

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Nothing better illustrates Tourism Commissioner-designate Michael Bornn’s emphasis that local taxi operators make or break visitors’ impressions of St. Croix than an example he gave Thursday evening.
While a convention organizer was scouting St. Croix as a site to host a group of 400 influential political and business people a couple of months ago, a taxi driver’s inadvertent slip of the tongue about the quality of the island’s medical care almost cost the event.
Although the Department of Tourism was able to salvage the Carib News Conference, set for Oct. 14-17 at the Carambola Beach Resort, and its guest list of 15 Caribbean prime ministers and 25 members of Congress, Bornn said the moral of the story is that every visitor is important.
"Each individual person is valuable to us," Bornn told a group of about 15 taxi operators at a meeting at the Hotel Caravelle Thursday evening. "Treat them like they have a million dollars, because they might."
Bornn strongly emphasized that training and service go hand-in-hand. He said the reluctance by some of the island’s 400 taxi drivers to partake in customer service and tourism training will only hold the tourism product back.
And many of those drivers are also the "bad apples" who leave visitors with a negative impression of the island, he said.
"The folks that are here tonight, I would venture to say, aren’t the problem," he said. "The litmus test is one thing and one thing only -- service. I can’t pass legislation that the cruise ships have to hire rude drivers."
Bornn, who is also a member of the V.I. Port Authority board of directors, promised to study the conflict between taxi drivers and Abramson Enterprises. Abramson has a deal with Carnival Cruise Lines to use large buses to pick up passengers on the Port Authority dock in Frederiksted. Taxis must wait outside the dock area, which is unfair, contend drivers, headed by Kelvin Dennie of the St. Croix Taxi Federation.
The Abramson issue is "the biggest concern of the little man driving a taxi," said Lloyd Daly.
Daly encouraged Gov. Charles Turnbull to revive the government-run Taxi Commission.The commission, which is supposed to enforce industry rules and regulations, is not funded and has no director or enforcement officers. Because of those problems, taxi drivers who break rules and regulations continue to do business.
While Bornn agreed the commission is in "total disarray," he said taxi drivers shouldn’t rely on the government to fix every problem facing the industry.
One way for taxi operators to help themselves, Bornn said, is for them to unite and travel to Puerto Rico in October for the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association’s trade meeting. By working together, Bornn said drivers can lobby the cruise lines and offer bulk tours for visitors instead of individual drivers who can’t fulfill the cruise line’s needs.