In the past, the Shallow Man has found Taxi’s in Amsterdam to be truly revolting, driven by rude and obnoxious drivers with little knowledge of the city in which they were plying their services. To make matters worse, the meter in the taxi appeared to be only there for decorative purposes, as drivers appeared to ignore it and insist on naming outrageous prices for travelling short distances.
Despite being an aged (but elegant) fossil, the shallow man quickly became acquainted with the hip, pop music of the day due to Taxi drivers insisting on having Sky Radio turned up as loud as possible while simultaneously shouting into their phones while driving. Several times I experienced drivers speaking in Dutch “I have a tourist in the Taxi going from Central Station to Ferdinand Bolstraat, easy money, forty Euros.”
I knew several women that refused to take taxis in Amsterdam due to unwanted attention from Drivers in the past, and the shallow man personally grew tired of having to threaten drivers with the police or Taxiklacht.nl to prevent being ripped off. Yes, there were a couple of reasonable exceptions. TCA generally provided exemplary service and always stuck to the price on the meter, even if they sometimes provided cars that looked and smelled like the Taliban had used them in Afghanistan for opium delivery.
Being not light of coin, the shallow man decided to opt out of using the general taxi services. He opted for use of Uber, which provides clean and beautifully maintained cars with courteous drivers who get out of the car to open the door for their passengers. Refreshingly, they also refrain from holding long conversations on their smartphones while driving, nor do they inflict their personal taste in pap, sorry pop music on their passengers.
So it was with great enjoyment this morning that the shallow man watched a news report about a group of Amsterdam taxi drivers demonstrating in front of the apartment of the Mayor, Eberhard van der Laan, about the new rules that came into force earlier this year that can issue fines of up to twenty thousand euros against taxi drivers that break several rules that have been put in place to protect us, the consumer.
When a bunch of taxi drivers get together like this and whine collectively, it’s proof that the rules, which have effectively stopped Amsterdam taxi drivers from using their customers as a kind of mobile ATM with no account limit, are hitting them hard and the shallow man says Goed zo!
In the words of the Edwin Hawkins Singers, oh happy day!
No criminals posing as taxi drivers were hurt during the writing of this article.