Thursday, December 13, 2007

Strasbourg taxis

Strasbourg taxis are, in general, excellent. There is always an exception that proves the rule.

I had my hair done yesterday for a party, and ordered a taxi back to the hotel to keep the spiky fluffy effect from falling. No, sadly no photos.

The taxi driver pulled over at the hotel, and said, "Six euros please". The meter read 4.50€.
I said "But the meter reads 4.50€".
"In Strasbourg there is a minimum taxi fee of six euros, and if you don't like it you can walk".
"Where is it written in your cab that there is a minimum fee of six euros?"
"It's there in the back, but never mind that because you owe me six euros and I'd like you to pay and let me get on with the next client". He seemed to be having a very strong reaction to a reasonable request for confirmation, and I couldn't work out why.
I said, "I've no objection to paying the fee if it is indeed the fee. I would just like to know where I stand contractually, so that we can both see that we are having a fair transaction"
I looked around the back of the cab and found a transparent tariff sticker on the window. I started to read it. The cabbie became increasingly agitated. And it wasn't surprising. The minimum fee as per the sticker was stated at five euros and sixty cents.

He had tried to scam me for the paltry sum of forty cents.

I was so amused at this I paid him the six euros, waited while he grumpily and reluctantly made change, gritting his teeth and counting out every coin in as small a denomination as he could possibly find to get back at me. And then, when he'd gathered them all together, I tipped him his own forty cents change back and bade him good day.

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