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Newly introduced luggage charge on ferries to STT ‘unfair’

- concerned residents allege being charged for empty luggage also
A new ferry fare structure on luggage that came into effect on April 15, 2015 has been blasted by some residents who alleged the charges are being imposed even on when their bags are empty. Photo: VINO/File
Although the Native Son Ferry office in the VI confirmed the charges were introduced by its ferry service, it could not say if the charges were to be applied for empty luggage as well. Photo: File
Although the Native Son Ferry office in the VI confirmed the charges were introduced by its ferry service, it could not say if the charges were to be applied for empty luggage as well. Photo: File
According to a notice to customers of Native Son ferry, 'Effective April 15, 2015 each piece of luggage will cost $3.00. All luggage must be checked in. Only one (1) small carry-on will be allowed per passenger.' Photo: Team of Reporters
According to a notice to customers of Native Son ferry, 'Effective April 15, 2015 each piece of luggage will cost $3.00. All luggage must be checked in. Only one (1) small carry-on will be allowed per passenger.' Photo: Team of Reporters
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- A newly introduced ferry fare structure on luggage that came into effect on April 15, 2015 has been blasted by some residents who allege the charges are being imposed even when their luggage is empty.

According to a notice to customers of Native Son Ferry, “Effective April 15, 2015 each piece of luggage will cost $3.00. All luggage must be checked in. Only one (1) small carry on will be allowed per passenger.”

Virgin Islands News Online was informed that the concern for residents was that the luggage fee should not be charged for empty luggage.

It is a fact that many persons, especially Virgin Islanders, travel to St Thomas on a regular basis to shop and this new charge for luggage, allegedly even empty ones, is seen as a strain on their pockets.

Calls to the other ferry services that ply the Virgin Islands to St Thomas, USVI route confirmed that the new charge was introduced by all of the ferries.

Although the Native Son Ferry office in the VI confirmed the charges were introduced by its ferry service, it could not say if the charges were to be applied for empty luggage as well. “That I cannot answer, I was going to ask that question too, so I will have to find out as I am not sure…,” said the person on the other line who also told us we could call the office in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas for such details.

A check at the Native Son Ferry Service office at West End revealed that the charges were for each piece of luggage "empty, halfway or full".

The office of Smith's Ferry Services in the VI was also contacted and it confirmed that the new charge has been implemented by its service also but could not say immediately if it should be applied for empty luggage.

The Road Town Fast Ferry office in the VI confirmed the new charges also and that it applied even for empty luggage.

44 Responses to “Newly introduced luggage charge on ferries to STT ‘unfair’”

  • SMH (17/04/2015, 14:09) Like (36) Dislike (3) Reply
    native son gone to the dogs
    • o please (18/04/2015, 08:24) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      I will travel with them any day 45 round trip and if they don't have a boat 5 I keys are transferred to another ferry
  • GEESH (17/04/2015, 14:37) Like (24) Dislike (1) Reply
  • me (17/04/2015, 14:52) Like (46) Dislike (0) Reply
    What next buddy? you have to travel naked soon to avoid any other charges?
  • .......... (17/04/2015, 14:56) Like (25) Dislike (24) Reply
    More taxes on the poor under ndp
    • What Piss you all does be posting (17/04/2015, 15:17) Like (4) Dislike (6) Reply

      How the f*** is a company's choice to raise their rates a tax by NDP??? You all really being silly now and half the asinine crap you all posting is what going result in those buggers getting back in.

  • question (17/04/2015, 15:04) Like (52) Dislike (2) Reply
    So if any damages or rough handling of my bag or its content is done by their staff will I be compensated? I am already spending roughly $85 roundtrip to travel and now you want to add $3 for what? This is a big deterrent from travelling to the VI.
    • RedStorm (19/04/2015, 06:25) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      I agree with "question" I was suprise yesterday when I was told that $3 per bag. I had no problem , until I sat and see the lowsy way my bag was handle. If you are going to charge , give me good service for my money. This I demand! and please don't let my bag get wet! I will be calling your insurance. Next the service is terrible, let me explain, those young boys must be trained, they stand up they with them hand in them pocket, not helping the customer into the boat, and behold me when I arrive to get off the boat , I saw the step turn side ways for people to get off. I just had one chuckle of laughter within. Please boat people get your service together.
  • One Mark (17/04/2015, 15:21) Like (25) Dislike (5) Reply
    Once again. More licks for the small man.
  • jtv (17/04/2015, 15:33) Like (26) Dislike (20) Reply
    If we had proper representation from the ndp they would have fight for the little man....cant wait for the vip to save we
  • a bvislander (17/04/2015, 15:42) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    many people cannot afford to go to St. Thomas at all, let alone to go shopping..what are you saving?
  • me (17/04/2015, 15:48) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Wha-deh-hell I seeing here! No man!
  • i from here (17/04/2015, 16:29) Like (6) Dislike (27) Reply
    Your brokes stay Tola! Who have money will travel !! See you all at the Races !!
  • PM (17/04/2015, 16:39) Like (22) Dislike (8) Reply
    I think that what they are doing is good. The workers need to get paid, some of these shopper never think about who has to lift these boxes up what they have to go through to take it off. If you ask how much a Celeste gets paid he might say $5 an hour or more but cost of living is going up and the only way to pay these workers is by charge a concentive. For every box they bring on the boat.
    • Hmmm (18/04/2015, 18:53) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      Do you really think that this will be passed directly to the workers? Greed is not charitable.
      • PM (20/04/2015, 18:08) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        If look at the infrastructure and what companies are doing with their money them look at the work load the workers have to do. If you think about it the owners are able to give these workers the pay raise of $3 dollars a hour. If you have people shopping yearly and bring boxes and bags all day yes the workers should get a pay raise. Having a unhappy worker causes a unhappy company. These different incentives can be good things in order to get a company back on track.
    • crew (18/04/2015, 22:11) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
      Them think these boat does run off of water and air and parts cost 1cent
  • just so (17/04/2015, 16:43) Like (21) Dislike (8) Reply
    Why is it ok to pay the airline minimum $25 a bag, but it's unfair to pay the ferry $3.00 per bag. So it's fair for the people to load their suitcases with floor tiles, cases of soda, rolls of electrical wire, cases of milk, dive tanks, just to name a few.... And pay NOTHING
    • D (17/04/2015, 17:15) Like (24) Dislike (2) Reply
      At least when you pay the airline fee your luggage is insured against damage etc.
  • about time (17/04/2015, 17:15) Like (10) Dislike (9) Reply

    They are ferries not cargo boats. We pay AA $25.00 per bag and can't pay $3.00 per bag to the ferries? More weight = more fuel burned = more money spent, while the ticket price remains the same. WE are a set of idiots around here when it comes to business, I'm sorry. Either pay the d@mn money or stay your @$$ home. $3.00 is what people really balling about? The taxi man charges more than that per bag for the 3 minute ride from downtown to STT Airport.

  • poor man (17/04/2015, 17:28) Like (3) Dislike (4) Reply
    3 buck's is not bad for the size and weight of bags some of us travel with if help improve the pay of the staff or help with The company provide insurance for it staff . But other see it different lee. but if the big company like the airlines can do y not the small one ....but just me
  • JACK BE STILL (17/04/2015, 19:10) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Gree going kill some
  • wize up (17/04/2015, 22:27) Like (7) Dislike (7) Reply
    some of us just want everything in life for free
  • ndp (17/04/2015, 22:52) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Progress??? Them only chasing the tourists away and killing the small man.
  • Anne (17/04/2015, 23:27) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    So visitors have to pay $25 per bag, $10 departure tax (STT), expensive ferry to west end, but the boat doesn't stop in west end and goes directly to Road Town. so you have to take a $40 taxi back to west end to pick up the rental car, but you missed the rental car because it closed. you have to pay to get to the house and walk back the next day for the car. then $15 departure tax. No wonder some of my friends stopped coming. It is too complicated and nickle and dimy.
  • in the news (18/04/2015, 01:30) Like (2) Dislike (9) Reply
    Under the ndp the qulity of life gone down!
  • Home Shop (18/04/2015, 03:17) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    We need to band together and stimulate our economy by shopping at home so we don't have to go St. Thomas often. We could see what the needs are in our territory as businesses are concerned and improve on our products and services.
  • ..... (18/04/2015, 05:34) Like (11) Dislike (12) Reply
    You can spend $1000 shopping in STT but bitching about $3, $6, $9, $12 to get your stuff transported. What a set of losers. Just stay home then.
    • pat (18/04/2015, 23:31) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      It is not just shopping, it is visitors coming to and from. And who gets the money? The handlers? They should be on salary anyway. this is their job. Gas for the boats? That should be factored into the original charges. Padding the owners' investments? possibly.
  • Guest (18/04/2015, 06:14) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Try put the smaller bags in the larger one and make it one bag that's if they're empty
  • who cares (18/04/2015, 07:02) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    OK, so from now on (if we use the ferry) we will take the biggest suitcases we have and pack all our groceries in them. No biggie. What may have been 5 or 6 bags will now be one. Heavier perhaps, but less expensive in the long run.

    We have NHI to pay for, higher ferry rates and now bag costs to consider. Our disposable income is diminishing daily, making every dollar count. When will the stores here start to understand that even with renting a car, paying higher ferry rates and now adding bag costs; it is STILL cheaper to shop in St. Thomas than it is here! More than ever before, shopping in St. Thomas is becoming more and more important to those of us with limited financial resources.

    Since fuel rates have gone down, we've been taking our own small boat over on a weekly basis and all the family members chip in for the fuel, making our trips quite reasonable. This new cost for the bags will likely mean that we will use the ferry less often but when we do use the ferry (if there are too many of us for our little boat) then we will just have to do without a few small luxury items to make up the difference.
  • Black Beauty (18/04/2015, 07:34) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    Nothing wrong with that! Get real people. We pay the airlines their baggage fees without complaining so do the same now. A wise man once said to me you have a choice to do or not. So stop taking the ferry and fly to where you want to go! Nonsense.
  • Thinking (18/04/2015, 08:39) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    The last person hit it on the nail. Do you understand what would happen to the Bvi when we all start to shop local. The country develops better paying jobs and more choices so we bring STT items to our shores and more money stays here then and only then we can strt to see change. Don't complain about what you cannot change as its is only going to get worse we are in the last days.
  • foxy (18/04/2015, 20:15) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    They’re all for the rich only. ...WE NEED TO VOTE OUT THIS GANY
  • pelican (18/04/2015, 23:34) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    does that mean they are insured for damage? a charge is a contract. Unless they have you sign a waiver.
  • RedStorm (19/04/2015, 07:02) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I like Black Beauty and Thinking comment, Let's look at it from two side of the economic strata. One we will have to pull our socks up towards a world class service, and two shopping at home means the BVI will have its money circulating in the BVI more. Which means, people will have to get the prices that people can afford, one bottle of juice for seven dollars, compare to St. Thomas its two bottle for five dollars. While we may think that , people have to make money to off set their expense. They are making a lot , but keep most for themselves. The BVI have to define the process of " "money circulate" or "money goes around" then we can understand where each of us stand , to help build this country. Don't watch the expat and say "oh they don't shop local" they got a place to go when things get bad, we don't , we have to stay here and build our country. Lets start now.
  • Stop the nonsense (19/04/2015, 11:02) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Nothing in life is free and everything has a cost. The cost to the ferry companies to transport people and goods is high and continues to increase. On most trips from Tortola to STT or from STT to Tortola, the majority of the vessel is full of cargo. How can the ferry company afford to carry as much or more weight on their vessels in cargo than people? and continue not to charge for the cargo? We must be mindful that the ferry boats are not cargo boats. The taxi vans charge for bags; the airlines charge for bags - even some for carry-on luggage. Let's stop the nonsense! No one wants to work for free. And, no business should give away there services for free! The ferry company must cover their costs in order to pay their workers and maintain the vessels!
  • Windy (19/04/2015, 11:18) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    They're following the airlines lead. Squeezing the little guy
  • Cape Air Staff (19/04/2015, 11:54) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Fly Cape Air $170.00 round Trip medical fare, $140.00 if you buy a commuter book
  • Just saying (19/04/2015, 21:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I don't mind paying the $3.00 but when I am traveling beyond the USVI with my carry-on bag for the airline, I have items packed that I do not want damaged. That is why it is a carry-on. If the ferries are limiting us to just one small bag to carry on, I run the risk of my bag being damaged together with its contents.
  • DEA (20/04/2015, 11:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    But, Native Son don't charge $15 for each box when people shop for groceries? I thought I heard one of the handlers telling passengers at Red Hook dock, that they have to go inside and declare how many boxes they have and get stickers in order to put the boxes on the boat. I understand that it is $15 per box. Is this true? So, if suit cases are considered luggage, and people pack their groceries in their suit cases instead of boxes, it costs $3? I am confused. Can a ferry representative or any one who knows give some clarity?
  • justjud (20/04/2015, 18:14) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    when we returned April 15 we checked in 3 bags and had a very small cloth bag that carried our valuable stuff. The customs man told us we had to ship it because it wasnt a " handbag" or a backpack. So we checked it while others carried on huge "handbags" and huger backpacks. Hope they have resolved this
  • Akeem (21/04/2015, 19:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    are you serious people come on

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