cabbies, same old battle, different approach

Despite my previous article about the oddities of how you must enter the R E Hotel at Toowong and my lament about baggage allowance on aircraft I don’t believe that I have become a Grumpy Old Bastard (GOB), but I just hate it when stupidity seems to rule the day. So here is another stupidity, but I can see some humour in it, so I really can’t be a GOB can I?

This is a cabbie story and I could fill page after page with cabbie stories as I’ve no doubt many people could. Wednesday evening I rang Black & White Cabs in Brisbane and booked a taxi for 5 am the next morning to take us to the airport. At 10 minutes to 5 Thursday morning I walked out the front of our house to put some rubbish in the bin and saw the taxi arriving. I gave the driver a wave, indicated that we would be about 5 minutes and went back inside to finish locking up.

At 3 minutes to 5 we had the luggage in the boot and were in the cab heading for the airport and I happened to notice that the meter was showing $8.80. In fact it ticked over to $9.00 as we got to the end of the street and I asked the driver what the normal flag fall was. He replied that it was normally $5.80 but that “These days we start the meter from the time you ask us to wait. But if you don’t want to pay the extra $3.00 it is up to you, no problems”.

I was not sure what he meant and asked for clarification but the long and short of it is that, because I just happened to be at the front of my house and indicated I would be there in a minute, he started the meter. I asked that, considering I had ordered the cab for 5 am, what would have happened if he had arrived and not seen me. “Oh, I would have waited until 5 am and then sounded the horn to let you know I was here”. “But would you have turned the meter on while you waited?” “No”.

So it seems that because we saw each other he saw fit to start the meter early. I’m sorry, but this sounds like a blatant attempt by the driver to rip a few extra dollars out of the passenger. I wasn’t too impressed and told him so but he assured me that I needn’t pay it if I didn’t want to. I didn’t.

As we neared the airport I noticed that the normal fare of around $37-39 was up to $45 with some distance still to go and enquired with the driver why this was so. Well, it turns out that the flag fall between 12 midnight and 5 am is $5.80 but from 5 am onwards it’s $3.30. Not wishing to appear pedantic I pointed out once again that I had booked the cab from 5 am, inferring of course that the flag fall should be at the cheaper rate. The driver gave a shrug.

When I finally came to paying the fare the driver offered me the $3 off, which I took, then added the $1.10 booking fee, the $4.25 bank fee for paying by credit card plus the $0.43 GST on the bank service fee. Total fare $50.18 less the $3, this on a fare that B&W Cabs estimate will run around $39. And, as I commented to the driver who I don’t believe understood what I meant, “and they say that Ned Kelly is dead mate!”

Next time I book a cab I’ll make the time for 5 minutes past 5 am, hide inside the house until that time (I dare not make eye contact with the driver), check that the meter is zeroed when I get in and make sure I have the cash on me to cover the fare.

Cabbies, you’ve just gotta love em!