How far is far?

by

Recently it has been reported that within my home state of Victoria, at least one in three taxi’s drivers will refuse to take someone if it is on a short trip. They have reputedly said that a trip under $15.00 wasn’t worth their while. While this may be true, Taxi service companies are also one of those companies that people are always prepared to complain about.

I found this amusing as we experienced similar while in Xi’an, China. When we first arrived in Xi’An, we had an extremely difficult time just getting a taxi period. No driver wanted to pick up two foreigners with their travelling backpacks. We went from taxi to taxi to taxi to taxi and it wasn’t until a security guard who seemed to be looking over the taxi rank helped us when in desperation we requested it. In hindsight, we should have just asked at the start but by this stage we had been in the country for many months and had experienced no issues to date.

Funnily enough at the end of our Xi’an visit, we had even more difficulties getting a taxi from the hotel to the train station. Due to our previous problems, we thought we’d just cut to the chase this time and asked one of the bellboys to assist us. He came down to the road and hailed cab after cab – a few of them stopping but as soon as they realised where we were headed – the station; which happened to be only a short distance(but much too far to walk with packs) they lost interest and kept driving. In the end we had to bribe one by doubling the fare. It would have only cost around 9-10 rmb to get there, but we offered 20 rmb which was accepted.

I don’t actually know what this guys problem was as he then proceeded to drive like an absolute maniac. Speeding, ducking and weaving in between vehicles, hocking up phlegm and spitting it out the window and finally smoking. He did everything in his power to make us feel unwelcome. Absolute prick of a guy. It took all of my endurance to avoid just throwing his money on the ground rather than handing it to him. Needless to say we left that particular city with less than stellar impressions.

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