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By Dave in Phoenix
dave@davephx.com
PO Box 55045, Phoenix AZ 85078-5045

Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality

Thailand Intimacy & Healthy (Adult) Sexuality Research Report

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Taxi Discussion Metered vs. Haggle &
Discussions On Saving Taxi Fare At Bangkok Airport

Many folks on various mailing lists get upset with us that overpay cabs.  Or, they make a big deal of saving a small amount at the airport by lugging up your luggage and flagging down a cab dropping off passengers instead of getting a cab from the stand near the luggage pick up and immigration area in the lower level.

Some of this discussion may be of interest so I will include it.

In response to someone telling me I paid far to much for my cab back to the Omni from Soi Cowboy I said:

Gee I thought 100B was reasonable taxi fare back from Soi Cowboy to hotel which is about six blocks further than Nana. Problem is for us that come with $US a 50B difference in cab rare ($1.30US) is too cheap to be concerned about, especially for us that don't like to haggle, especially over such small (to us) costs. But that makes it harder on those that don't come with such a currency exchange advantage. Of course the taxi's take advantage of that unless probably they deal with someone like you that knows what the cost "should be."

You probably look much more Asian than I do :)... and I don't mind paying a little more because I realize I have the exchange advantage.

I didn't object to being ripped off by the taxi since it was so cheap anyway with the exchange advantage we have. But I realize by us not being disturbed it just encourages them to do it even more. Somehow when it has a "metered taxi" sign on top for some odd reason I thought that meant they used the meter!  So I was surprised by the fixed quote as I got in, except it may have also been my fault since I asked how much to my hotel when I should have just had him run the meter. I do learn eventually!

A reply:

Itīs always easy to change car if a taxidriver refuse to put the meter on ! In my opinion a bigger problem is all the faked meters in Bangkok! Many times i have experienced fastrunning meters ! Remember that the first 2 km are always included in the 35 baht starting fee ! If the meter start running (37,39,41...) immediately itīs a faked one and always tell the driver as quick as possible ! Have happened to me several times but except one time when he dropped me off somewhere between Nana and Patong they have always said sorry and changed to normal fare ! During normal traffic fare between Nana and Soi Cowboy is 35 baht

Last time I was in Bangkok, I was amazed that the taxi driver at the airport offered immediately to use the meter -- no argument. When I got to my hotel on Sukhumvit, the fare on the meter was 350 baht! It being 2:00 AM, after a flight from the U.S., I wasn't in much of a mood to argue.

I see it as being similar to the sex trade in Phoenix. Lots of conventions in town, huge number of "snowbirds" winter visitors and vacationers since we have some of the best warm sunny winter weather in the U.S. It is also one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S.

For the visitor sex is very expensive to find and rip-offs are more common than honest legitimate providers. Of course the legal issue makes the rip-offs different from Taxi's. In Phoenix, as in most U.S. cities, a visitor can easily pay $500 expecting sex, but getting nothing more than an air dance from afar. When he asks for sex, she says, "oh, I don't do that - it’s illegal!" You can see why more honest countries are so popular for us such as Asia, Canada, Mexico and actually most every other country in the world is more open and tolerates sexual satisfaction more than in the U.S.

More to the point however, even disregarding the legal mess, a visitor to Phoenix finds ads for the high priced escort services and often pay 3X more than locals who know the escorts/sexworkers that seek lots of satisfied repeat local customers and charge more like $150 for 1 hour of full service. Many of these providers are just as attractive as the $500 escorts who you are lucky to get any sex from.

In Phoenix I host a very private E-mail list with about 200 people sharing info about various providers and sharing good experiences and warning about new rip-offs. TSM obviously provides the same great sharing opportunity on a wider scale, which is why it is so very useful. And in Asia and most other countries you don't have vice cops getting on these groups to find the honest legitimate provider to set up a sting against to bust while they ignore the rip-offs since by not offering sex they cheat men and make them very angry but they don't break any laws! In the U.S. having sexually satisfied men, is somehow a threat to neighborhoods, children and of course "moral values".

Pardon my digression....

The problem you have training many of us foreigners, especially from the U.S. is that the sex is so wonderfully refreshingly inexpensive from such a huge number of honest providers all over to choose from at 5-20 times less cost as in the U.S. we just are not that concerned about saving 50B-100B on cab fare, when we are saving 5000-20,000B or more in Thai currency terms every time we share a sexual encounter with great happy, Thai women, vs. what most men have to pay in the U.S.

What is more seriously useful to us is the great sharing here about what expected barfines and tips are which can save us more serious money, like 500-2000B again vs. worrying about being ripped off by 50B ($1.25US) by a taxi.

On the other hand, we also don't in principle like paying more than we need to for anything. So then great advice here about trying to get the cabby in a "metered taxi" to actually use the meter and hopefully its not running too fast, is very helpful as well as the typical fares locals pay that us tourists should also try to get. But making a big stink over a 50-100B overcharge just isn't worth the time or hassle at least for me.

I do very much treasure all the info shared here which helps me to be a much better informed consumer. Especially since I hope to return frequently and will be less likely to be overcharged in the future or be able by knowing what I should have to pay make it easier not to be overcharged. And I will share many of the consumer tips I learn from the great sharing on TSM with others when I publish my Thailand reports to also hopefully help others. And I realize insisting on paying the lower usual fares helps everyone including those living here... except for the taxi drivers who have a harder time overcharging naive tourists like I often am!

Also I hate haggling. That is why I have little interest in other shopping in places like Thailand (and many others), especially from street merchants. I want to know what the price is period and if its reasonable to me I may buy and if not I won't.

Discussions On Saving Taxi Fare At Bangkok Airport

My superior half taught me how to get a taxi at the airport. We went up the second floor and out of the front door where a lot of taxis dropped off passengers. Then we just jumped into one of them. More likely that we'd get a honest taxi this way than those who were waiting downstairs.
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 Common misconception. I've heard many people suggest that. Fact is your more likely to get a dishonest cabbie upstairs. Why? It's illegal for them to pick you up there. They have to dodge the police to do it. Therefore they're more likely to try to pull a stunt.

Downstairs, go to the taxi queue outside. At the head of the queue is a booth. The girl in the booth will ask your destination and then give you a slip for the taxi. Inside the booth, in big letters in both English and Thai, are posted instructions that you pay what's on the meter, plus a 50 baht airport fee, plus any tolls. The taxi drivers don't even get a chance to try to negotiate with you. You already have the slip before you encounter one of them.

The passenger decides whether to go by the toll road or not, and there is an extra fee for that, approx 40 Bath, if I remember correctly.
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Tchiowa says the drivers at the departure area are more likely to be corrupt because they have to bend / break the law to be there.

You and me say this is not the case, they are the typical honest Bangkok taxi driver, who just dropped a passenger off, and who will be in a VERY good mood because he gets a ride back into town without having to wait at the queue.

It's not like they wait around there (they're not allowed to wait there) but if you get in 2 seconds after their passenger got out, nobody will have a problem with that.

So, in short:

A: You have the best possible chance at an honest (and very happy) driver IF you pick a meter taxi one who just dropped someone off and B: You save 50 baht. C: You get the warm feeling one gets when doing the smart thing, not conforming to the system and showing you have experience in Bangkok. ;-) 
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 >What you're describing may not be in full compliance with airport regulations, but it's definately not 'illegal' in a law enforcement sense (I've said this before) and more importantly, the point was about the best way of meeting an honest driver:

I think you're splitting hairs on this. Fact is that the local airport by-laws prohibit taxi drivers from picking up passengers at the departure area. Whether you call breaking those regulations strictly illegal or not is irrelevant, it still goes against regulations, which is Tchiowa's point.

I'm not sure it is such a smart thing to do. Those rules are in place for a very good reason, to keep the departure area free from congestion for the benefit of cars wanting to drop off passengers. If every taxi were to break these rules the departure area would rapidly descend into chaos, and we'd hear loud cries from everyone complaining about how the incompetent authorities had allowed the place to become so disorganized.

Its also unfair to those taxi drivers who do follow the rules because they lose money while queuing for a passenger in the arrivals area, while those who break the rules effectively jump the queue.
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Plus you drag your bags up stairs through the airport. You go up stairs or an escalator or an elevator. You look for a driver who's willing to cheat. All for 50 baht???? That's barely over a dollar. How much hassle and inconvenience are you willing to go through for one dollar?

Back to Bangkok on a mini bus- 250 baht- won't do that again. The minibus took a great (long) tour of Bangkok dropping off the other passenger before it went to Nana.

The bus from Emakai is now 77 baht.
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Dave says in summary

That is a sample of the huge discussion this issue causes.  I was attracted by the nice young looking ladies at the various Limo booths, and took a Limo "Red Carpet Service & Tour" for 600baht ( $US15), no tip to driver. The "Limo" was nothing special just a taxi called a limo!  Yes I paid about $3-5US  more than a taxi, but it just  wasn't worth worrying about in my mind.  Best yet, there is no tips expected.

In Pattaya it was great since I never used a taxi, the baht buses for 5 baht were the best value in transportation I've ever seen!

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