Costly parking on St. Thomas

Old May 8th, 2007, 06:04 PM
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Costly parking on St. Thomas

Recently, while on a great vacation on St. Thomas, my family and I parked in Red Hook Plaza which had in it, a restaurant that had been recommended by travel books. Once there we realized that the restaurant did not take credit cards, so we walked across the street to another restaurant. We were gone from the car approximately 90 minutes. When we returned to our car, we found the a handwritten note on the windshield saying that our rental car had been “booted”. Asking around, we found the woman who had booted the car, sitting in a car a few spaces away. She told us that if we paid $150 cash, she would remove it. She allowed us to talk to a person on her phone who said that he wouldn’t be able to come to talk with us in person for an hour and a half. We realized that they were in control and the likelihood of him taking the boot off after hearing our argument was nil.

There was a sign on our parking spot that said that there was a three-hour limit for people utilizing the shopping center. We did not realize that crossing the street to give our business to a neighboring business would cost us so much. It was also convenient, that there was an ATM at the shopping center.

This event put a cloud on the remainder of our vacation. We do not understand the necessity of targeting well-meaning tourists, who support the major industry of St Thomas,tourism. We certainly will not ever be returning to St. Thomas.
Canoebeque is offline  
Old May 9th, 2007, 05:24 AM
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Quite shallow isn't that? You parked in a parking lot reserved for the business in the shopping center with a sign clearly marked. There is a bank there that has an ATM. You imply how convenient tha ATM was for the parking booter. It was just as convenient for you to use to purchase your dinner at the restaurant wasn't it?
I am not condoning the booting, but how you react to it, that's all. Parking is at a premium at Red Hook. People park there and go all day to St John. That shopping center across the street has the same policy as well as oodles of parking lots all around the island.
I am sorry that you won't return because of that. Glad you had a great vacation otherwise.

RL
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Old May 9th, 2007, 09:30 AM
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I can understand the need for the strict booting. I have read that parking is limited on the Island. If I owned a business, I would not want my parking lot abused by folks shopping or eating elsewhere. Always best to just follow the rules wherever you are traveling to. Always read the parking signs and see what the limits are.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 08:14 PM
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I appreciate the heads up Canoebeque. We'll be on St. Thomas for the first time next month. We'll make sure to watch closely for signs where we're parking... we wouldn't want to inadvertently make the same mistake!
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Old May 10th, 2007, 09:14 AM
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RonUSVI: I have to respectfully disagree with your comments. IMO, it is detrimental to tourism to have draconian parking regulations. Strangers in a strange land shouldn't be treated like purposefully lawbreaking derelicts or easy "marks". While any tourist may wrongly adopt a more cavalier attitude in discerning exact meaning and scope of a parking sign, the poster did say they were parked for only about 90 minutes and the sign limited parking to 3 hours, so it couldn't have been a question of time. These were not those bad tourists who willfully parked their rental car and spent a whole day in St. John. So how did the parking booter even know where these folks were? Was she lying in wait, watching them going to the wrong restaurant? She could have just as easily flagged them down and say "I"m sorry, but parking is only for this side of the street. If you don't move your car, I shall have to boot it." IMO, her hanging out in a nearby car for no other reason than to catch transgressors and make $150 a pop is just predatorial and downright unfriendly. There are many other ways of controlling parking other than outrageous fees for unwitting transgressors. If it's a life safety issue, it merits a hefty fee, but to give business to a neighboring store, is just misguided in regard to protecting and encouraging tourism which all of the islands rely heavily upon. Personally, I find that St. Thomas has many charms, but it suffers from serious mismanagement of just such public policy and economic development issues. Hopefully, the new governor will initiate more tourism promoting practices.
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