Taxi service

Taxi service
TAXI SERVICE, for all your holiday needs while you are travelling in Hania. If you're coming to Hania and you need a taxi, maybe we can help you out. For quotes and prompt service, drop me a line at: mverivaki hotmail com

Monday, 17 May 2010

Taxi! (Ταξί!)

 If you are coming to Greece (the country hasn't been obliterated off the map yet, you know) on a summer holiday this year, your biggest worry is probably not whether you will need an umbrella (sunshine guaranteed) or if the food will be good (you already know that if you are reading this blog). One of your biggest worries is probably going to be how to avoid being ripped off in this smash and grab country which was recently bailed out of poverty by the IMF.

Apparently one of the biggest rip-off artists this country has ever produced is taxi drivers: according to the popular press, Greek taxi drivers don't take you where you want to go, they don't use the taxi meter, they ask you where you want to go before you get in the cab (and leave you in the lurch if they don't like your destination), they tell you an inflated price, they take you round and round in circles to charge more money, and they perform a whole host of other pranks to find a way to make themselves rich while you pay them half your holiday budget just to get from the airport to your hotel. At the same time, it should be remembered that this kind of thing happens everywhere, not just in Greece

But when a Greek taxi driver DOES take you where you want to go, USES the taxi meter, DOESN'T ask you where you want to go before you get into the cab, DOESN'T leave you in the lurch even when your destination was out of their way (which they DIDN'T tell you in the first place anyway), DIDN'T inflate the price, DIDN'T take you round and round in circles (as if he didn't have anything better to do himself), but simply did his job, we never hear about it in the reviews, do we?  

Of the 25,000 taxis in Greece, half of them are yellow, ie they are Athenian cabs and work in the greater Athens area, what is known as Attiki (Attica), which consists of approximately 4000 square kilometers; that's just 3% of the land surface of the country (which is approximately 132,000 square km). Attiki is where close to half the population (approximately 5 million) of the whole country (approximately 11 million) make their home.It's hard to keep track of 12,500 taxis in a capital city with a density of over 1000 people per square km, as it would be in any country in the world. But these days, every legal taxi carries a microchip stuck to the windscreen, which a traffic officer can zap with an infra-red light to check its status.

Taxis were, until this year, a privileged profession. Anyone holding a B-category professional driver's licence can become a taxi driver, but buying a taxi licence is very expensive. It depends on the region; a taxi licence in Hania costs about 200,000 euro - that's a serious amount of money to invest in an occupation which you may end up not enjoying in the long run, and that doesn't even include the money for the actual car. In Athens, it is a guaranteed source of income, and you can make your money in a few years time, provided you work hard and you are young enough to do that, because eventually your nerves will wear out and you won't be able to hack the pace. You will have been accosted with knives and guns enough times to wonder how you managed to stay alive, and you will have seen so many hoons on the road and so many crashes, that you will realise that there is no such thing as a traffic accident, but they are all perpetrated by stupidity (which is why the road toll in Greece is very high).

cabbie's dinner
My husband gets asked by other cabbies where he gets his delicious sandwiches from, because they always smell good, and they are placed in one of those commercial paper bags specially made for hot dogs and rolls (available from paperware stockists).

One of the most infamous cases of an illegally operating Greek taxi occurred a few years ago. The driver was literally caught in the act - completely by chance of course: how on earth can traffic officers stop and check every single taxi on the road in a built-up city without causing more chaos than already exists? The probability of this incident happening was a chance in one (or two) million: While putting in a normal day's work driving up and down the busy streets of Athens, a legal taxi owner-operator got stuck in a traffic jam (which is all part of a day's work in Athens). While he was waiting for the queue of traffic to decongest and continue on his way, he had plenty of time to survey his surroundings and take in little details like the licence plate number of the taxi cab stationed in front of his. It was exactly the same as his own. After the initial shock, he collected himself enough to call the police on his cellphone, who managed to catch the unlicensed driver and confiscate his car. At the same time, by catching that one guy, a racket was discovered involving false licence plating, garages which ordered a lot of yellow car paint (to change the colour of a vehicle and make it look like an Athenian cab), and other illegal activity. On being questioned, the fake cabbie insisted that he had bought himself a Mercedes and simply wanted to find a way to pay it off more quickly...

At the moment, you buy a taxi licence off the previous owner, not a state company. But very soon, in line with EU regulations, the taxi business will be freed up and become a more public profession, rather than the closed racket that it is at the moment. Unlike the London cab business, where there are black cabs (expensive) and mini-cabs (private cars used as taxis, that are much cheaper to hire than a black cab, and you don't need to be a registered 'knowledge' holder), Greece has only one sort of taxi, the one with a meter, and no other kind of cab service is presently legal.

Whereas once it used to be cheap to take a cab in Greece, this is no longer the case. If you are coming here on holiday, keep in mind that taxi fares have gone up considerably. Do not base your idea of how much a fare should cost by what it cost the last time you were here; and don't ask the taxi driver how much it will cost to go to a particular place - he should be able to give you an approximate indication of how much it will cost, but ultimately, it all boils down to what the meter writes up, and the meter should ALWAYS be turned on. If your taxi driver doesn't turn it on when you enter the taxi, tell him/her to do so. If s/he still doesn't want to turn it on, then ask to be taken back to your original pick up point so that you may take another cab. The rest is up to you. And when you get to your destination, don't forget to ask for the receipt, after paying the driver - yes, taxis are now legally required, for tax purposes, to issue paper receipts, whether the customer asks for one or not.

It used to be cheap for everyone (including us low-income-earning Greeks) to take a taxi and drive for miles. That's not the case any more. Rising petrol prices, the green-living policies and the austerity measures which introduced new taxation systems (all taxis must have a machine installed in the cab in full view of the customer that issues paper receipts) have raised the price of taxi fares to a level unknown before in Greece. Taxi fares now resemble the luxury that such a mode of transportation should be.

*** *** ***
Economic crisis (or volcanic eruption) or not, those of you who want to come to Chania (or Hania - it's the same place) may be wanting some information about the taxi services here. For a start, you don't flag taxis down in Hania. There are taxi ranks at all the main pick-up points, like the airport, the harbour, the main square in the town, and other service areas dotted around the city. There are grey taxis (which means that they are registered in a village), and blue taxis (which means they are registered in the urban area of the province of Hania). Hania is a small town, and taxi drivers know each other or of each other - a stranger in the crowd stands out easily, so it is easier to curb and put a halt to illegal cab activities altogether.

taxi

In the meantime, here are the official indicative prices for journeys made by the Ermis taxi company in Hania.

Luggage, scheduled pick-ups, telephone appointments at an arranged time and minimum fare fees also apply; they are not included in the list of prices in the table. The Ermis Taxi company (which has over 200 cars in its fleet, while the Kydon company has about 25 - go figure) has a special van available for hire if you have disability or mobility problems, at no extra cost (the driver receives a salary and performs a community service rather than working for himself). Taxi drivers' yarns about their work experiences are free of charge; just ask for a good story...

RADIO TAXI CO-OPERATIVE ‘ERMIS’
INDICATIVE FARES for 2010*


CHANIA TOWN
AIRPORT
AGIOUS APOSTOLOUS
STALOS
AGIA MARINA
PLATANIAS
AIRPORT
€23
--
€32
€35
€36
€41
GOLDEN SAND BEACH
€7
€30
€7
€8
€9
€10
AGIOUS APOSTOLOUS
€8
€32
--
€8
€9
€10
KALAMAKI BEACH
€8
€33
€7
€7
€9
€10
STALOS
€11
€35
€7
--
€7
€8
AGIA MARINA
€13
€36
€10
€7
--
€7
PLATANIAS
€15
€41
€12
€7
€7
--
GERANI
€17
€45
€13
€10
€10
€8
MALEME
€20
€47
€15
€12
€12
€10
KOLYMBARI
€30
€48
€25
€22
€21
€20
KASTELI
€42
€65
€38
€35
€34
€32
OMALOS
€55
€78
€55
€55
€60
€60
THERISSO
€23
€45
€25
€30
€30
€32
ELAFONISI
€85
€95
€80
€75
€74
€73
PALEOHORA
€85
€108
€75
€75
€70
€70
SOUGIA
€75
€95
€70
€70
€70
€70
SFAKIA
€80
€97
€82
€85
€87
€90
RETHIMNO
€70
€87
€76
€78
€80
€85
PLAKIAS
€100
€115
€105
€107
€109
€110
HERAKLEION
€150
€160
€155
€160
€160
€165
LIMNOUPOLI
€12
€35
€12
€13
€15
€17

  • HANIA (town) to SOUDA BAY (ferry port): 10 euro
  • Hourly charge for day-trip hire: 35 euro/hour
  • Airport surcharge fee (due to arrival wait-time): 5 euro
RADIO TAXI COOPERATIVE – PREFECTURE OF CHANIA
ERMIS
Mournion 38 – Tel: 28210-98700
IR No.: 998454319 – Chania Tax Office B
You can also book our taxi: call 6977-399-306 (when you have arrived in Crete).

Happy holidays to all. You can also find this information on One Day in Hania.

UPDATE 25 May 2010: Signs with inidicative prices (slightly different from the table I have posted above: some destinations have lower prices, while others have higher prices) of taxi fares covering the 2010 summer season have now been posted around the town. The one I have included below is found close to the Agora (the central market in Hania), therefore it lists prices to/from Hania. In the same manner, a sign posted at the airport will list prices to/from the airport.

inidicative taxi fare prices hania chania

*UPDATE 22 June 2010: As of 1st July, 2010, taxi fares will increase by 11%, because of the changes in the way taxi drivers will be taxed from this day onwards. In order to get an idea of the new indicative prices for the destinations listed in the tables above (in both the text and the photo), you need to add 11% to the price shown.

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