Lucky just posted a rant about how awful taxis can be. I completely agree. I’ve had my fair share of awful taxi drivers all over the world, who try to scam me, or even hurt me. However, my worst and most dramatic experience happened in my own home town of Ottawa.
You see, I refuse to be scammed. In some places, it’s just the name of the game, but in Canada, I will actively fight it. I was taking a cab from downtown Ottawa to Little Italy. Here’s what the drive should have been, which is typically $15-20:
When I got into the cab, I said “Carling at Little Italy.” He acknowledged. You see, I don’t drive, so I tend to give taxi drivers the benefit of the doubt. However, I noted we were going the wrong way when the meter hit $28 and I saw the Canadian Tire on Carling… a pretty significant distance past my destination:
I told him we over drove, and to turn back. I said I would pay the fare that it should have been between downtown and Little Italy ($20). He said “no, you pay full-fare” (which with the return would have been around $35). I refused. He then refused. So I tossed a $20 bill at him and tried to get out of the car. He locked the door, so I unlocked it, and at a red light, left. He chased after me and grabbed me demanding I pay full fare. Again, I refused. He was yelling, grabbing, chasing, etc. So I called 911.
Normally, I would not have called 911 for this type of situation. That number is reserved for real emergencies. However, I didn’t know what to do, and clearly some sort of third-party management was needed to deescalate the situation.
First off, the 911 operator was an ass. I told him upfront that nobody was in crisis, and not to prioritize this situation above others. His response was: “So you can deprive the cabbie of more fares?” Seriously? I was being calm and trying to communicate the fact that he shouldn’t prioritize this call. Whatever. A cop came by within a couple minutes.
I explained the situation. The cabbie was frantic. The cop explained to the cabbie that if he had such an overdrive, he would also be pissed off (not the mention locking me in the cab, chasing after me, grabbing at me…). To settle the situation, I gave the cabbie $20 (the amount the ride should have been) and made alternative arrangements to get home.
From that day on, I will never take a taxi anywhere unless no Uber is available. What would you have done in this situation?