In this Tuesday, April 11, 2017, photo, taxis await ferry passengers arriving in New Shoreham, R.I., on Block Island. Two taxis operate on the island all year, but more than 30 are licensed to operate during the summer tourist season. (AP Photo/Matt O’Brien) NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (AP) — Twelve miles and a ferry ride from the New England shore, Block Island is one of the last major tourist destinations in the United States without Uber or Lyft — and islanders want it to stay that way.
Come summer, the sleepy island welcomes thousands of vacationers, many of whom depend on taxis to get to its bluffs, lighthouses, beaches and weathered-gray shingle homes. Now, as at least one ride-hailing company proposes to deregulate the community’s strict 88-year-old taxi code, longtime drivers are fighting to protect a way of life that helps them make ends meet in a place where the median home costs $1.2 million.
"This is our livelihood," said taxi driver Champlin Starr, a retired oil tanker captain whose family first landed here in the 1660s. "People come to Block Island because they want an experience. They’re not going to get it with someone who doesn’t know where the landmarks are. […]