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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Fair Taxi Fare?

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

I've learned at airports never to accept the fare offered by cab drivers who approach me in the airport. Anyone well traveled will tell you that (I think). These are predatory cabbies hoping to snag a naive foreigner and offer to take them to their destination for a fixed fee. The problem is the fixed fee is 50 - 100% higher than a normal one.

This happens in nearly every big city of the world. They come across like they're doing you a favor, but it's anything but. Now there are some people out there where money is no object. They will gladly pay the huge premium to not have to find the taxi stand and wait a few minutes in a queue. Well, I'm not among those fortunate.

There can actually be tiers to the cab fare structure. Many airports charge a premium to be picked up in the airport. Many don't allow Uber or their equivalent. I don't mind the premium so much, as long as it's a fair practice.

But, sometimes I take money saving to an extreme in my travels. On one occasion in the Philippines I was approached by the airport hawks and quickly dismissed them. I was familiar with the practices there, where the airport taxis charged more than those outside the airport. So I walked the 2 minute walk outside the property to get into the longer queue for a local, cheaper cab.

The difference in fare between the two was only about $2 - $3 USD for my destination, but I thought, why throw away a few bucks? Really those few dollars are inconsequential to me, I know. But I try to make a habit of frugal travel. I don't want to get into bad spending habits that could jeopardize my overall travel objective of frequent travel.

So, I get into the queue and spent the extra 10 - 15 minutes in the heat. Yeah I was sweating by the time I got to my cab. But I thought, ok, I'll cool off in the cab. Wrong, no air conditioning other than a rolled down window. Now, the Philippines can get very hot. I knew this would be an uncomfortable 30 minutes (if we didn't get stuck in a notorious traffic jam).

Now I'm sitting in the backseat relaxing as best I can. I suddenly feel something on my toes (I was wearyflip flops). I brushed at it without looking, knowing it was just a fly. After all, his windows were down.

A moment goes by and I feel it again on the other foot. Darn fly, I'll get you. This time I leaned over to more deliberately swat it when I saw what it was. A huge cockroach! Well, this was a first. Never seen one in a taxi before.

Then I looked around. I saw another behind me by the rear window. Then another on the driver's side door. What? How can he work in this cab? What, does he just throw food on the floor?

I was thoroughly disgusted. I reached for my back pack to make sure it was completely zipped. Then I kicked off my flip flops and pulled my feet beneath me on the seat.

I endured the ride but I kicked myself all the way to my hotel for saving those few bucks. I mean, really, sometimes I take this thing too far!

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