Taxi Rates

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Thursday, January 16, 2020, 12:04 (412 days ago) @ Ironwood

Excellent response Rob.

I get tired of the taxi games. There are some super honest, good folks who we try to use regularly. There are others that play the game hard (i.e. never have change or pad the rates). Took me awhile to simplify the process and realize I needed to ask two questions before ever getting into a cab; "cuanto cuesta" y "tienes cambio"? Both being of equal importance.

Same reason we track every single item we order at beach restaurants. Want a tip, be honest with the bill.

We usually take four taxi rides each day. No problems, other than the odd cowboy who drives like it's the Indy 500, or the 20% of vehicles that not only should be taken off the road, but are at risk of losing their entire rear axles. Two or three times, we've been stiffed for a couple of pesos in our change.....not earth-shaking, but mildly irritating and actually kind of amusing. Each time it was after dark, I'd pay the 35 peso charge with a 50 peso bill. The driver would not turn on the interior light, but would rummage around in his change. A 10 peso and a 5 peso coin would be easy to discern, just by touch, but no, he would give me a fistful of smaller denomination coins. When I counted it later, it was a mixture of 10 and 50 centavo and 1 peso coins, 2 or 3 pesos short of the proper change. Did he know what he was doing? Of course.

I appreciate all the perceptions, opinions and shared experiences regarding our local taxis, but I just want to make clear that the overwhelming majority of taxi drivers are decent honest hard-working people who will go out of their way to provide a good service. Some have given us rides without charging when they didn't have change and our only money was a large bill. We always tell them to stop by the boutique later to get their money, but few have ever done so. Many taxi drivers know us personally, and we know many of them, some for decades. One even rescued me after I got mugged and smacked on the back of the head with a pistol and I was chasing after the culprits with blood running down my shirt. The bad apples are few and far between, and if one tells me he has no change I have no reason to disbelieve them. If one counts the change out wrong I have no reason to assume it's anything other than an honest mistake. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that they are simply ripping me off. They rip me off when they charge 60 pesos to go from the Irma to the Catalina on a holiday evening. Not by shortchanging me a few pesos miscounting change in the dark.

These are our friends and neighbors, and no matter what we may think of their unions and the shenanigans the unions pull, such as calling for blocking someone carrying passengers in a non-taxi vehicle, the drivers themselves deserve the benefit of the doubt. Most have wives and children if not also parents to care for. It's not their fault the government issues too many permits. It's not their fault criminals try to extort from them. Several have been murdered over the years including some tortured with extreme and unimaginable brutality. But this is where we make our collective living.

I've tried explaining here previously that the taxis from certain sitios have different rate sheets, and when they pick up a fare on the roadside they only have a general idea of the "street" rates because they are sometimes complicated. But generally if you know the rates from the Centro of Zihuatanejo or the shopping district of Ixtapa to some of the outlying colonias then you simply add the rates together for more complicated rides, such as from Pelícanos in Ixtapa to La Madera in Zihuatanejo.

Please don't demonize, dehumanize or assume the worst about them. They aren't the bad guys.

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