A Conversation for Taxis

Horse and Carriage, Taxi Fraud

Post 1

Fragilis - h2g2 Cured My Tabular Obsession

If we're going to have lots of taxi-like transportations listed, then how about this?

Horse and Carriage
These throwbacks to the pre-industrial era can sometimes be found in downtown areas. Largely used for their novelty value, Western cultures often consider the horse and carriage to be a romantic form of transportation. Hence, they are typically located near public parks and rented out by happy couples. The romantic horse and carriage will travel only a short distance at a considerable cost. The route may be aesthetic and circular, making it rather useless as a form of practical transportation, or it may provide stops to a few shops, museums, and restaurants. Horse and carriage setups are also occasionally used as a regular form of tranportation in rural areas, particularly in Amish communities.

Taxi Fraud

While not common, a few fraudulent taxi drivers will attempt to take passengers on a far longer than necessary route to their destination. This is particularly common for passengers who are obvious tourists or who clearly don't know where their destination is. The driver will then present his passenger with an exhorbitant charge at the end of the ride. To avoid this, never tell a driver that you are a tourist. Speak your destination with a clear, authoritative voice. And if you do know where you are going, watch out the window to make sure you're not going wildly off track.

In a few countries where unregulated taxis reign supreme, taxi drivers will attempt to raise their prices to ridiculous levels for foreign tourists. If you are visiting an unfamiliar region, ask the hotel desk for an example of a reasonable taxi rate before you leave. Compare this with the rate given by the driver, and don't be afraid to call the driver on it if their price is far out of line. Also, some cab companies place rates in a visible location, like on the back of the driver's seat or prominently on the dashboard. Of course, this rate listed should match what you are being charged.

Also, passengers will occasionally cause problems for drivers. They may abuse the taxi's close quarters and the relative privacy to mug the driver, or they might hire a cab knowing they can not pay when they reach their destination. Taxi drivers also commonly have the fun task of carrying home drunken passengers who might deface the cab or act in a violent or unruly fashion. If you notice the driver is quite well protected from you, this may be why.

Finally, one form of taxi fraud by passengers is all too common and often unintended. If you are calling a taxi to come to your door, call only one taxi company. Calling multiple companies to see which arrives first is a bad idea. Keep in mind that each driver who came later than yours is expending gas and time coming to your location that might otherwise be spent on a paying customer. If you call multiple companies to your place as a matter of course, the taxi companies might get wind of your tactic and start denying you service. If you really must get a taxi quickly, explain this when you order the cab. And if you feel you need to change companies, call back to cancel your first order.

Horse and Carriage, Taxi Fraud

Post 2

Mr. Cogito


Rates for New York City taxis (the yellow ones) are always noted on the outside of the vehicle (on the doors) and are the same regardless of the vehicle type (there are some van and jeep cabs).

In addition, each driver is required to have a picture ID visible and a medallion number which can be used to report complaints. The medallion is tied to the car, not the person, and I think it's possible for several people to share usage of the same vehicle.

It's basically the same regulations here for taxi drivers and livery vehicles, but drivers aren't required to pass as rigorous a test as London. Luckily, much of New York is on a grid pattern, but you still can have problems with some drivers going to the Village or points South where the grid pattern breaks down (W4th and W12th intersect, etc.) smiley - winkeye


Horse and Carriage, Taxi Fraud

Post 3


1) I don't know how any driver can pass The Knowledge in London. It doesn't have any grid pattern at all, the streets just go in every direction. No wonder it takes at least four years of practice (presumably as a mini-cab or courier) to come even close.

2) It has been said before, but I'll say it again: in London, NEVER catch a minicab if you can avoid it. They are (relatively) cheap for a reason. Not only will the driver not know where he is going, or even be able to drive, but he probably won't speak English. At least, my driver didn't, when I was moving into my flat.
Apart from being unable to hold a witty conversation, a driver that doesn't speak English also cannot understand you when you tell him your destination. I tried to tell mine to go to a particular road in Shepherd's Bush, which was near to one of the Tube stations. I was lucky that he managed to understand 'Shepherd's Bush', so at least he took me to the correct suburb. Very quickly. With several near misses along the way.
What really annoyed me is that he attempted to have a conversation with me along the way in his broken English. (In his case, 'broken' is too kind a word, 'compound-fractured' is more accurate.) And he only talked about one thing (that I could understand), which was the large amount of 'female genitalia' that he had seen and entered since he came to London. Except that he used the 'P' word for it (the one that used to refer to a cat, before it was re-appropriated). He used the word over and over, and since it was almost the only word he used that I understood, about 80% of what I comprehended was that one word.
Well, that and the price list for the various ethnicities of 'female genitalia' available at London's wonderful knock-shops.

At least I now have an interesting story about London to tell people... actually, there might be enough here for me to write a short Guide Entry.

3) The city that I come from, Auckland NZ, doesn't have unlicensed cabs. That's because it is so stupidly easy to get a taxi licence, the only requirement seems to be that you haven't been convicted of a violent crime. (NOTE: in some countries, this is a prerequisite)
So you have to decide which taxi to use based solely on the company from which each taxi comes. The biggest companies (like Co-Op and Alert) are usually a good bet, but are much more expensive.
And if you want a good taxi from Sky City Casino during the night, go to the taxi rank and look for the grey Cheap Cab with the yellow stripe down the side. It's the Cheapest Cab in town, and it's almost always there. The driver's called Noble, and he's really nice.

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