Sunday, 23 September 2012

Greek Taxis ...

I am very lucky that in Volos, I have Yannis the taxi man ...

He knows what we want, takes us wherever we want to go, is helpful and smiling whenever we see him. Yet whenever you step off that trusted path, you often realise you are on a different journey to what you had in mind.

Train stations, like the airport, bus stations, ferry port and hospitals are a set departure point. So they charge you extra, because they are there waiting. I call it the frappe tax, as they sit around enjoying a frappe, rather than driving around looking for business.

Whatever you call it, its clearly displayed on the fare guide on the passenger window.

In Thessaloniki as you leave the city rail station, they hassle for your business at the entrance, do you want to go here, there everywhere.

They really like to tell you where they will take you - usually Halkidiki when they see suitcases, but that is around €100 distant and probably very nice too. If I drove a taxi then i would want to get out of the city for a while as well - However only one person knows where you want to go, and when you tell the taxi man, and off you go ...

Or not - Still you explain to them, and after the third attempt at 'No just in town' then the look of disappointment appears. Then they try to give your trip to someone else - and fail. So your bags are loaded, and in you get. Then he shouts out to a mate, and another mate, then they all have a chat outside trying to get an idea where actually you need to go, and how to do it ...

At this point, my internal temperature starts to rise like that of the taxi, sitting without the aircon in direct sunlight. I get out - join the party and with the trusty 'Google Maps' application - Point out exactly where we want to go. Then they really get confused,  but it usually encourages departure.

Going the other way, yes they know the OSE rail station, where are you going ? I could take you there for €150 in two hours. Yes I really want to share your cigarettes and sweaty armpits, but I can sit on the train and do it in comfort for €12 - Once I move the squator from my pre-booked seat  ...

Athens is like New York, take the Metro, unless you want a magical mystery tour, where the drivers ask their mates in transit where to go, and a number of 'u-turns' are a distinct possibility.

In Volos the other night, I was saying go here, into this street here - see that big neon sign - that's the place turn right here - Stop ...

So I have devised a plan for next time ...

I will drive the car, the taxi driver can sit in the 'Jump seat' and we will get where we want to go for half the price.That funny box, that looks like another radio - Is the meter, it does work and prints a receipt if you put the paper in it. Because that is what should happen, just as it does with every taxi that I have used, in Larisa

Except next time, when I am in Volos I will just call Yannis and not have the stress ...



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