Tourists who determined to obtain bargains are driving down prices for transporting them around Saint Lucia when they come here on holiday, the President of Holiday Taxi Cooperative Society, Lucien Joseph, has lamented.
He disclosed that as a result, taxi drivers are making less money on visitors.
Nevertheless, the Holiday Taxi Cooperative President told the Times that the money can be made in terms of the volume of tourists transported.
By way of example, he noted that with eight or nine persons comfortably seated on a bus which has a capacity of fourteen passengers and each of the eight or nine passengers paying thirty-five dollars for a trip to Soufriere, it represents a good price for the taxi operator.
“In the same way you can get forty dollars for transporting one person to Soufriere, they can bring you down to thirty-five or twenty-five or even fifteen, especially the Puerto Ricans,” Joseph told the Times.
According to the Holiday Taxi Cooperative President, Puerto Ricans will not pay anything more than twenty or twenty-five dollars per person.
“That is why they move in groups and say to you ‘ I have forty-five persons and if you can give me a deal for twenty dollars we are going to Soufriere!'” Joseph said.
He explained that with the current economic problems facing the world, taxi drivers would jump at that proposal, reasoning that they can fill their vehicles and make some cash.
“With what is happening in the world today there is no way you can refuse to put some money in your pocket,” Joseph observed.
He noted that authorized taxi drivers also have to contend with ‘pirates’
The Holiday Taxi Cooperative President said despite the haggling over prices, there are cruise ship passengers who are willing to pay up to four hundred dollars to hire a taxi for the day just for just two people alone.
But he stressed that this does not happen often.
Joseph did not believe that the price of tours can be regulated.
He recalled meeting cruise ship executives in Miami last year and being told not to give cheaper taxi rates to visitors to the Islands because taxi operators would be at a loss.
Joseph said he agreed with the assertion.
Nevertheless he told the Times that competition was so fierce that taxi operators have no choice.