Archive for November, 2009

Short Message for London Cabbies

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

Mark Zanzig/zettpress

I have been in London for a few days for a client, and I had the pleasure to stay in the beautiful town center right next to the Tower Bridge in a five star hotel. Because of my luggage I decided to go for the decadent approach and take a taxi from Heathrow to the hotel. I say “decadent” because I would usually take The Tube or the express train to the city. But not with all this gear! Too heavy. Too bulky. Too valuable.

The airline magazine mentioned a price tag of around 50 Pounds (83 US Dollar or 56 Euro) for the trip, so I figured that it would be a good and welcome job for any Cabbie. Hmmm. It seems to be welcome, but only if you pay cash. What? Yes, I indicated that I wanted to pay by credit card, and the not-so-friendly lady at the taxi stand (who assigns the next taxi to you) mumbled something along the lines of “will be difficult, may cost 10% surcharge”. WHAT??

So, the third or fourth taxi was indeed willing to accept this trip, and instead of 50 Pounds it cost incredible 85 Pounds (140 US Dollar or 95 Euro). Yes, the airline magazine was entirely wrong, off by 70%.

Anyway, the shooting went well, and when I wanted to travel back to the airport I was already prepared for the issues surrounding my desire for credit card payment. And indeed, four Cabbies stopped in front of the five star hotel and – rejected me! Sure, they all wanted to get the job (except one who just did not want the job at all) and offered “to stop by a cash machine somewhere”, but I told them to bugger off.

Finally, the fifth taxi was happy to carry me and my luggage to the airport. I still think this was a good trip, and I do not understand how any taxi driver in London can not have a wireless credit card payment solution in their cars? Why? Why? Why? They’re working in London, one of the few true world capitals, but they act as if they are running a horse drawn carriage business in the 19th century.

Here’s my short message for all you London cabbies: if you want to carry me and my gear for healthy (i.e. expensive) fares, GO AND GET A WIRELESS CREDIT CARD MACHINE! It can’t be that expensive.

Rant over.

Mark Zanzig/zettpress