These calls were heightened last evening November 20, 2021, after some 20 water taxies were forced to head to the Road Town Ferry Jetty to clear international passengers who arrived at the West End dock.
One taxi operator citing frustration at the situation said the West End Ferry Dock is closed to international boats and passengers at 4:30 pm while the Health Department responsible for conducting COVID-19 testing closes a half-hour earlier at 4:00 pm.
He said the situation has created a logistics nightmare at the West End Dock where arriving passengers are unable to access the COVID-19 testing services if they arrive close to the 4:00 pm hour or after.
Sources told our News Centre that the setback has created congestion and has resulted in many passengers experiencing hours of delays and frequent flight cancellations among other issues.
"Extend the hours at West End, everyone benefits with that, the same staff who were crying out that they were getting limited hours of work [will] get the opportunity to make up now,” an operator related.
Meanwhile, the operators have related that in the COVID-19 era, water taxis are providing much-needed relief to the big ferries that have to limit their passenger numbers as a result of COVID-19 public health protocols.
Operators, therefore, called for equal treatment at ports in comparison with ferries, where a ‘first come, first serve' system should be implemented to ensure passengers get processed in an orderly manner based on who arrives at the port first.