But here in Bratislava, there is an additional twist: the fares. The fares - rates 1 and 2 - differ depending on whether you call the taxi by phone (rate 2) or flag one down on the street (rate 1). Although to be accurate, you will probably never flag one down on the street because the only time you'll ever see one on the street - i.e., moving - is when it's ferrying a passenger from Point A to Point B (via the scenic route if it's a visitor to the city).
If you call ahead and order a taxi, you will pay about 30% less than if you find one parked by the side of the road. As taxis don't seem to cruise the streets of Bratislava looking
So I ask you, dear reader: is it just me?
Over the past month, I have asked several of my classes to try to explain the logic of this situation to my feeble mind - with, surprisingly, no success at all. The best they have come up with is that the 30% should be viewed in the same vein as that fabled glass of water which is half empty or half full. The 30% is a savings which taxi companies offers its customers who patronize them with their custom - custom that (apparently) can only be conveyed by picking up a phone. This should be seen, I've been told, as an incentive to choosing a particular company. With almost 2 dozen taxi companies (including Fun Taxi, Hello Taxi, and Lady Taxi - which makes me think that Lionel Richie had a hand in naming the companies) serving a city that I could stuff into a shoe box, competition is fierce.
All I know is that if I'm standing outside in the pouring rain, I don't give a rat's ass which taxi picks me up, as long as one does.
But here's a thought: level the playing field. The 30% discount isn't a discount (half empty-half empty!) at all - it's the standard rate. Rate 1 is just 30% higher (half empty-half empty!). Don't penalize those of us on the street who need a cab - or who don't have access to a cellphone. Oh, and perhaps those taxi companies who automatically charge the higher rate for pickups at hotels could revisit that policy as well. And those scenic routes? A ten-minute ride from downtown to a practically-downtown hotel needn't cost 30 euros - given that 30 euros is, for many people, the equivalent of or more than 3 hours' labour in Bratislava.
And that, dear reader, is why I just don't get it.