Amsterdam Taxis the best in the world!
The Shallow Man is proud to say that my blog is well read internationally. I often receive messages from people planning to visit or move to Amsterdam. I recently received the following message from a reader who is planning to have a long weekend in the city of the kamikaze cyclists, Amsterdam.
Shallow Man, I’m looking forward to spending a few days in Amsterdam, but am worried about taking taxis during my stay there as they have a terrible reputation. Do you have any advice?
It could be that the Shallow Man, after so many years in the Netherlands, is very slowly starting to turn ever so slightly Dutch. Like a native resident of Amsterdam, fined by the police for cycling through a red traffic light in the wrong direction while using an iPad, I was quite offended by the message above.
Attempting to remain polite, I responded:
Dear reader, how dare you criticise Amsterdam’s taxi drivers? Don’t believe what you read in the media. I see that you’re from Germany. I’ve taken taxis in your country, the drivers are so boring! I was shocked to be taken from the Hauptbahnhof to my hotel which was only a 12 minute walk away without the driver complaining, or attempting to at least drive me around the city for awhile before arriving at my destination. He didn’t even turn the radio on, nor have a shouting match with one of his friends with his phone set to hands free so I could hear (but not understand) every word. Langweilig!! (Boring)
Please read my latest blog post where I’ll give you seven reasons why Amsterdam has the best taxi drivers IN THE WORLD! You know if you don’t like it here, don’t visit. Bloody Mof! (Menschen ohne Freunde)/People without friends
Now this post might upset some, and if as a result I’m captured by a group of angry Amsterdam taxi drivers, who tell me what a tough job they have, especially with “unfair” competition from uberPOP, I’ll say to my enemies: “Perhaps if you chaps actually learnt some basic manners, and stopped trying to steal from your customers, people wouldn’t feel the need to use uber. Do you hear that dripping sound? That’s my heart, bleeding for you.”
The things I do for my readers!
1. They study hard to become licensed Amsterdam Taxi drivers
Have you any idea what it takes to get a license to drive an Amsterdam taxi? People often complain about the costs of taxis here in the capital of brown shoeville, but fail to appreciate how tough it is to qualify as an Amsterdam taxi driver. Before being able to receive the coveted taxi license, which is then hidden away from sight in the taxi to avoid repercussions from angry customers, Amsterdam taxi drivers have to do the following:
- Go onto Markplaats.nl and purchase the oldest and cheapest TomTom satnav device possible
- Learn the following phrases in English:
“you want to go where? The minimum price is 20 euros” (for a five minute journey)
“I have to charge you extra”
“I don’t know where that is, you must direct me”
- Learn to adjust the rearview mirror to the perfect angle in order to get the best view up the skirts of female passengers
- Complain as loud as you can about the taxi laws, the Amsterdam city council, the cost of petrol, cyclists, pedestrians, etc, etc.
2. Amsterdam Taxi drivers teach their customers about the city
In some countries, Germany for example, the taxi drivers appear to believe that their role is to get passengers from A to B using the shortest route possible. This is of course nonsense. Something that I really appreciate about Amsterdam taxis is that they really believe in taking their time in order to show their passenger as much of Amsterdam as possible. I’ve lost count of the number of times that taxi drivers have been kind enough to show me the stunning architectural beauty of the Rijksmuseum, even though my destination was in the opposite direction. Now that’s what I call service.
3. Lots of choice of official taxi firms
In Amsterdam there’s lots of competition in the taxi trade. Choosing between for example, TCA and Stataxi is like going to Syria and deciding if you’d like to be kidnapped by Al Qaeda or ISIS, lovely!
4. Amsterdam Taxis provide a cultural experience
There’s nothing finer than stepping into a taxi in Amsterdam. Often they have cars that any suicide bomber would be proud of spending their last precious moments in. The other wonderful thing about a lot of taxis in Amsterdam, is that they often smell as if they’ve been used to transport the rotting carcass of a dead animal. It’s such an enriching experience.
5. Amsterdam Taxi drivers are consumer champions
At Schiphol it’s quite common that while walking towards one of the exits with your luggage, that you’ll suddenly hear an odd hissing noise. It’s somewhat similar to the sound of a snake with a speech impediment. You’ll hear “psssssssstsss, hissssssss, psssst, hhhhhello.” Looking on the floor while wondering how a snake was able to enter the airport, you suddenly see a poorly dressed man, looking nervously from side to side, like a married man on a tinder date. “You want taxi? I give you good price.” These gentlemen are known in the trade as snorders. Illegal taxi drivers that do not possess a permit to carry passengers according to Dutch law.
The nervous days of such chaps, risking being arrested at airports and train stations for attempting to pick up passengers are over, as now, they have an app, uberPOP.
UberPOP allows for anyone with a four door car less than ten years old to be a taxi driver, using a smartphone app. The consumer champions of the taxi trade, reacted angrily to what they saw as unfair competition and successfully took Uber to court.
The service has been banned in the Netherlands, but Uber, like many Amsterdam cyclists, and people that continue to smoke in bars, has decided that the law doesn’t apply to them. Uber’s argument is that the law should change. I’ll try that one the next time I go shopping in the PC Hooftstraat. I’ll try walking out of a jewellers with a Rolex without paying. When the Police arrest me I’ll say, “but I don’t agree with this law, it should be changed.”
UberPOP journeys cost 50% less than those of the licensed taxi trade. A Taxi war has broken out, with uberPOP drivers being threatened and driven off the road by licensed taxi drivers all over the Netherlands.
The licensed taxi drivers care so much about the consumer, that they are taking the law into their own hands, just to make sure that potential passengers in the Netherlands are not bothered by a reduction in the cost of journeys and an improvement in service. For this and the other reasons explained above are why the Shallow Man says that Amsterdam taxi drivers are indeed the best in the world!
If you’re visiting Amsterdam, and already have an Uber account, I’d suggest that you simply use Uber here as well. TCA are ok, and also have an app, however, as with tinder dating, you never know quite what you’re going to get. TCA have some polite drivers, with well maintained cars. They also however, have some vehicles that look as if they should be on display in a museum, and smell like as if the Amsterdam authorities have carried out an autopsy in the back of the cab.
TCA are the best of a very bad bunch, but that’s not really saying much.
If you’re gay, and happen to be out in one of the gay streets, never get into a taxi that’s just waiting on the street. Recently in Amsterdam a gay guy was robbed by a taxi driver who picked him up outside a gay bar. The driver called his friends and they robbed him. Always use the TCA or Uber app, or pre-order a driver that you trust.
No snakes were hurt during the writing of this post.