I love travelling and I love being on the road, most days. That being said, I have a very distinct hatred of crooked taxi drivers. I’m leery of taxi drivers in all countries, because they hold all the cards. There are some dishonest taxi drivers that will take advantage of you because :
You don’t speak the language
You don’t know the currency conversion, prices or local rates of travel
You don’t know where you’re going
I always anticipate the attempt in South East Asia or Latin America. Wages are low and taxi drivers assume that all tourists have more money than them – this is usually the case. They use this knowledge to rationalize an increase in the rate or to levy a “tourist/white person” tax on the traveller. What I don’t expect, is for this to happen in Canada … where I speak the language, know the rates and know my rights. Yet TWO different drivers from Airport Taxi in Edmonton attempted to rip me off. I’m not saying that the entire company is dishonest because of two separate drivers, but the fact that two separate attempts were made on us in a week, doesn’t give me the best feeling about the company.
Here are the rates for taxis in Edmonton
|$3.60||FIRST 135 meters or portion thereof|
|$0.20||EACH ADDITIONAL 135 meters or portion thereof OR 20 cents each 24 seconds while stopped|
|$30.00||EACH HOUR WAITING TIME (at 20 cents per 24 seconds)|
|$3.60||FOR ANY CALL CANCELLED ON ARRIVAL at the point ordered|
The scam : Between 11pm and 6am, there is an overnight surcharge for any trips of an additional $3, which starts the meter at $6.60. However our dishonest drivers from Airport Taxi in Edmonton started the rate at $6.60, when we were leaving for work at 8:15am. I noticed this rate and told the driver about it and in both instances, the drivers claimed that the $6.60 rate was always the rate, and it had been so for years.
This led to an argument about the rate, even though it was also clearly posted on the back window. Both times, the drivers offered us a $3 “discount” on the final fare … as if this made it better. What annoyed me, was the manner of the first driver, who attempted to rip me off. Here is his cab number in my picture below … I was going to put his license plate number, but I resisted the temptation.
This guy was rude and unaccommodating about the rate and proceeded an attempt at justification … all for $3 extra. Like WTF?!? Then he snickered with a comment about “Well, arguments never end and everyone argues” …. again WTF?!?!. The crappiest part of this experience was that the driver was a Sikh gentleman … and as an ambassador of a visible minority, he should have understood that there are many people who would have taken this experience to say that an entire culture of people were “cheats” because of one bad apple – which is DEFINITELY not the case at all.
Going forward, if you’re cheated by a taxi driver in Edmonton, you can do the following (which I have)
Call the company to complain ( I did call 780.890.7070 … I was transferred and I left a voicemail – I was annoyed that I couldn’t speak to a real person)
Lodge a complaint online with the City of Edmonton – they have an online form
Call the Vehicle for Hire telephone line (780-496-5244 … They were very understanding and sympathetic)