You may not worry about the weather when queuing for a taxi at Helsinki airport just now with all this bright hot sunshine – but just wait for the rain and snow to come, which we enjoy 9 months of the year.
Our bright spark of a Transport Minister and her clever management at Finavia (the company that runs the airport) have decided to “free up the taxi monopoly”. They have closed down the covered area where we used to wait for taxis in an orderly fashion and now we have to cross thee of four lanes of traffic, with our suitcases, without any cover and try to decipher what any of the 4 taxi companies will be charging us. Or you can trundle along with your cases and try to open an app produced by the taxi companies and get the latest taxi fare data.
There are also electronic notice boards with prices posted but whose board belongs to what taxis is a good question?
Then you get frustrated because lugging heavy cases backwards and forwards with other equally frustrated passengers feels utterly hopeless. Does this queue or the fourth queue have the cheapest taxi?
You just cannot be bothered, like your Correspondent who arrived last week from a long trip with 2 heavy suitcases and a tired partner…
… and where have all the taxis gone. You have never seen so few lined up ready to take passengers.
You jump into the taxi in the the first row after a rushing for it in competition with another couple.
The driver says nothing except asks for the address which is located in the city centre. He turns on the meter (…and this is a true story). You ask about the new pricing and he says the airport charge is €9.90 and the kilometre fee is €1.39. You know that the distance is 24 km so the cost will be around €45. You ask about the fixed fee and he repeats that the same information again. Then you ask him about the €39.90 fixed fee. He says yes we can do than because you live the city centre.
He never offered this alternative except when you asked…
… and watch out – they have introduced a new “Waiting Fee” of €30 an hour, whatever that means because the definition is very unclear: “The waiting fee may be charged instead of the driving fee if, due to busy traffic or other reason, progress is so slow that the waiting fee would exceed the driving fee or when the customer is late for an agreed meeting (what does that mean?) at the agreed place, or when other passengers are dropped off during the trip.”
Now just imagine this when it is pouring with rain or snowing hard.
… and then imagine that 2 or 3 large planes have just arrived and most of the passengers want to get a taxi to town quickly…
You certainly do not want to be chasing the best deal then and get soaking wet or stuck in a snow drift, and you certainly do not want to be in a cattle market competing for finding an empty taxi.
Thanks to the Transport Minister, there are fewer taxis, hardly any difference in prices, and horrible planning of the new queuing system without proper shelters and clear queues.