Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Amsterdam Taliban

The last time I took a taxi in Amsterdam was one day in February 2006. And it was also the last time. I arrived at Schiphol Amsterdam airport and took the train to Amsterdam Central Station. There I took a cab for a short ride to my hotel. The taxi driver was terrible rude; I gave him a tip of 20% of the fare and he didn’t even say ‘Thank you’ and was too lazy to get my luggage out the car. Later that evening I called for another cab. This time the driver was nice but nuts. He could barely speak Dutch, no problem in the Netherlands so I switched over to English. But also his English was poor so I managed somehow with a map to show him where I had to go. And later that night, when I returned to my hotel another taxi driver tried during a 15 minutes drive to convert me to Islam…hallelelujah!
The next morning I had to return to Schiphol Airport to pick up my rental car. This time I called the airport taxi service. They send a taxi over and for the first time the taxi driver was a ‘typical Dutch guy’. I told him my experiences of the previous day. He looked at me and said: ‘‘you didn’t know, they call the Amsterdam taxi central the ‘The Amsterdam’s Taliban’.’’ If you read to following article, you will get a glimpse about what’s going on in the Amsterdam taxi world. By the way, Amsterdam has a safe and excellent public transportation system: metro, busses, trams etc.
Calls to fix taxi market after passenger's death

The death of a 44-year-old man by a 37-year-old "kickboxer turned taxi driver" has confronted authorities with a problem of their own making: the free for all in the taxi business.

At about 4.40 a.m. on Sunday, Rob Sitek from Badhoevedorp was probably looking for a cab home when he was knocked to the ground by a taxi driver on the Leidseplein in Amsterdam. "It's all we talk about," Khalid Refaei (38), an independent driver who was waiting for customers at Amsterdam's Central Station, said on Monday.
Both the Leidseplein, a famous nightspot, and the Central Station are notorious for taxi drivers refusing short rides, overcharging and intimidating passengers and fighting amongst each other. Amsterdam cab drivers have always had a bad reputation. Guide books warn tourists about the expensive taxis and the incompetent drivers who often don't know their way around the city, and who have no English skills and even speak poor Dutch.
And there is moreeeeee

Day Opening - July 7

Windmills, the Netherlands