Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I didn't do my homework

It was late evening when I arrived at Changi Airport in Singapore and all I wanted to do was go to the hotel and rest, rest, rest. I found the taxi line and waited for my turn to hail one. A young woman behind me asked me if I wanted to take the waiting black car on the parking lot and I told her I couldn’t because there were two people ahead of me. She argued with me that those people didn’t want the taxi so if I wasn’t interested, she would take it. That got me going to the waving and liveried driver.

Sanctuary area at Changi Airport

I had earlier asked the tourist information office what it would cost to travel by taxi from the airport to my hotel and they told me that it would be around $20 (Singapore dollars). When we got to the hotel, I checked the meter and it was around $21.00. But to my surprise the driver charged me $34 which is $13 over the metered price. I asked him why and he showed me the chart for the surcharge. I was anticipating a surcharge for arrival after midnight but we were at the hotel at around 11 p.m. Anyway, I paid him and checked in at the hotel. At the reception desk I asked a hotel representative if he knew why there was such a surcharge and he had no idea. So I went to sleep thinking I’d been had.

 Restored Victorian style buildings (Painted Ladies)

The next day at the airport I approached another tourist information agent and inquired about the surcharge. When I mentioned the color of the taxi, she immediately had an answer for me. It turns out that I had hailed a limo rather than a taxi. I rode in a black Chrysler. She further informed me that next time I could consider a white Mercedes as they charged slightly less than the black Chrysler but the cheapest way without riding the subway would be to hire an ordinary taxi.  Like all locals do. Now I know.

To add insult to injury, it costs only $3.00 (SGD) to take the subway to town and there was a subway stop directly below my hotel. Owww!!! 

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Images by Charie

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