Thursday, 10 August 2017

Manila Turns Up The Heat


In late 2014, we wrote about Manila's Latest Colorum Taxi Scam, targeting passengers at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport. 'Colorum' is a Filipino slang term used to refer to illegal vehicles.

Since then, we've reported on numerous Manila transportation developments, including official taxi fare reductions, a new airport bus ( New Manila UBE Express Airport Bus), and the ability for regular taxis to make airport pick-ups (New White Taxi Lanes at NAIA).

It seems are heating up again, with a major crackdown on taxi scams and illegal operators.

In Higher Penalties Await Overcharging Taxis, ‘Colorum’ in NAIA, Page One reports that authorities are imposing higher penalties on illegal “colorum” vehicle operators at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The penalties also extend to taxi drivers of any type - official airport taxis or regular white taxis using designated airport lanes - who scam passengers. Oops, we mean overcharge passengers.

With fines of PHP120,000 to PHP200,000 per violation, up from the previous PHP1,000 fine, it seems they are getting serious.

And it's about time. Manila's main airport has long been plagued with horrendous taxi lines and unacceptable delays at all four of its terminals.

The penalties are even higher for unauthorized bus operators, at PHP1 million per violation. Shady bus operators had been simply absorbing the prior PHP 1,000 as a cost of business, and covering it with passenger fares.


Related resources
Higher Penalties Await Overcharging Taxis, ‘Colorum’ In NAIA -Page One
New White Taxi Lanes at NAIA - IHateTaxis
Taxi Prices Drop in Manila... or Do They? - IHateTaxis
New Manila UBE Express Airport Bus - IHateTaxis
BManila's Latest Colorum Taxi Scam- IHateTaxis


More from IHateTaxis
Avoiding Taxi Scams at Rome's Airports (CIA, FCO)
Avoiding Taxi Scams at Costa Rica's Airports (SJO, SYQ)
Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) transportation guide
Manila Clark International Airport (CRK) transportation guide
Dealing with Taxi Drivers

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Do you URBEX?

Kolmanscop, Namibia - an urban explorer's paradise
creative commons image wikicommons
Urban exploration, or "URBEX", is the exploration of man-made structures, either abandoned ruins or normally unseen components of man-made environments. May also be referred to as dark tourism.

Unauthorized exploration involves all manner of risks associated with climbing derelict structures, entering dark tunnels, crawling into drains, breathing or coming into contact with toxins and so on. People have died pursuing this hobby. Yet the purists follow their own code of conduct of "leave everything as you found it" and "take nothing except pictures".

While exploring these structures may involve trespassing onto private property, this is not always the case. Some sites are open to the public, or are accessible on a tour. Still others have added methods such as mini-railways to take you through the site.

If your layover doesn't provide easy access to an abandoned site, you can easily pass hours exploring incredible photographs online. As many devotees don't even reveal the exact location of their finds, this is the only way you can see them.

In this, our first blog post on urban exploration, we introduce you to a sampling of popular sites... [read more].


Want more layover ideas?
• Read more stories on the LayoverIdeas Blog
• Explore cities worldwide on LayoverIdeas.com

Related resources
Mugging: are you a target? 10 resources
Spot the deadly fake taxi on your international travels!
Dealing with taxi drivers
Dealing with touts
Airport arrival advice

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Is Uber doomed?

Looks more like half a star...
Time Magazine Takes On Uber With
Brutal, One-Star Cover
- SFist

We can imagine that the very thought will make taxi drivers everywhere do a little dance, but we hardly think ridesharing is going to disappear. Uber, though, that's a different story.

We won't bother to detail all the sordid details of what got Uber to this point -- just Google "Uber scandal" or "Uber crisis" to get the lowdown (if you've been living under a rock or something) -- but what has our attention is the kind of headlines we are seeing.

Intrigued? Take a look at the stories that are being generated:

My Uber Boycott Is Finally Paying Off - Gizmodo
I’d like to say that I’ve never given Uber money, but that wouldn’t be true. Not exactly. I did give Uber money once, years ago, when I had no other option. The company promptly ripped me off, and I wasn’t surprised. Why not? I worked in the same office as Uber in its early days. I could sense those fuckers were evil from the start. Now that the bricks of Uber’s multibillion-dollar edifice are officially tumbling down, exposing the company’s noxious and abusive inner workings, my boycott feels like it’s paying off. Obviously, it’s not actually paying off. I’m not making any money by avoiding Uber during the crumbling period of Silicon Valley’s once-beloved house of capitalism. Although I certainly saved a lot of money by boycotting Uber.) Uber’s fall is paying off in the form of what I’d call moral dividends. I spent years arguing with friends, not only pointing out that Uber seemed like a bad company run by bad people but also making the case that giving money to a company like that would only enable those bad people to do more bad things. I was not wrong... [read the rest of the story].

Strike four for Uber: Even with Kalanick’s departure, they may still end as the “Enron of the transportation industry" - Salon
CEO Travis Kalanick’s departure from Uber is not a surprise to those who have been following this company for the last several years. Since February, Uber has been rocked by one scandal after another... But this was hardly the beginning of Uber scandals. Previously, I and others had written about the Uber “parade of horribles” that has dogged this company from its inception. So while there’s no question Travis Kalanick scaled his company to a transportation behemoth, he has done this by promoting a pirate mentality and bro culture that has led to mismanagement in numerous ways. It was only a matter of time before he destroyed what he created. Today, only four out of 10 Americans say they have a favorable impression of the company... [read the rest of the story].

How one lone woman exposed the frat-boy culture at Uber - The Star
Amid the Lewis Carroll-esque madness at Uber Technologies Inc., a narrative that includes a suddenly leave-taking CEO ceding corporate leadership to a non-existent chief operating officer, a non-existent chief financial officer, a non-existent chief marketing officer and a seemingly mute chairman, one story stands out. Susan Fowler started working as an engineer at Uber in November 2015. After a brief period of time getting to know the various engineering work units, she settled on a team that seemed just the right fit. Here’s what she would later write about day one on the job:...[read the rest of the story].

Related stories
As Uber Leaders Step Aside, Arianna Huffington’s Influence Grows - NY Times
This is what Uber needs to do to save itself - Refinery 29
Uber wants its New York City-based passengers to know how sorry it is - Digital Trends
Lyft shares soar as Uber's awful year continues - NY Post
Estonia upstart Taxify wants to take on Uber - Voice of America


Related resources - from the IHateTaxis blog
Up, up and away with Uber in China
The Uber Tip Dilemma
I was scammed by an Uber driver
Why we shelved Uber updates

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The fate of Berlin's Tegel Airport

The power of the petition could turn the tide at Berlin's Tegel Airport.

Berliners demand vote to keep Tegel airport open - Reuters

More than 200,000 Berlin residents have signed a petition to demand a referendum on keeping the city's Tegel airport operating after the German capital's new airport opens. Tegel... was meant to close once a much-delayed new airport opened southeast of Berlin. But critics say the new airport will be too small to meet passenger demand even when it opens, possibly in 2018.
Tegel, in the northwest, and Berlin's other airport, Schoenefeld in the southeast, served 33 million passengers last year. The capacity of the new Brandenberg Airport, whose opening has been pushed back from January 2017, will be 27 million... [read the full story].

Related resources

Berlin’s Airport Debacle: Five Years Late and Counting - Bloomberg
Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) transportation guide - IHateTaxis
Berlin Schönefeld Airport (SXF) transportation guide - IHateTaxis
Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) information - IHateTaxis

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Trump and the impact on travel - 100 days

A vanishing sight in USA skies...

Sigh. Has it really been just 100 days? Amid the chaos, accusations and flip-flops, there appears to be no good travel news arising out of the Trump (unoccupied) White House. A few highlights (lowlights):


What Trump’s First 100 Days Tell Us About Travel’s Next Four Years - Skift

Trump’s first few months in office... have dispelled the notion that his administration would be tourism and tourist friendly. Following one failed travel ban executive order, with another still tied up in the appeals process, the tenor has changed completely... [read the story]

Emirates Reduces US Flights Due to Trump Travel Policies - Travel Pulse

One day after the president of Qatar Airways told CNN that the ban on carry-on electronics was “not necessary to frighten passengers,” Emirates has announced that it will reduce U.S. flights due to the Trump administration's restrictive policies. “This is a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand to US"... [read the story]

More Singaporean travellers giving US a miss, say travel agents - The New Paper

For the first time in 38 years, Sino-America (SA) Tours has had no confirmed group booking for all three of its US tour packages. Most US tour packages for June are usually booked by February, and SA Tours has stopped advertising them. SA Tours was among five travel agencies that (have) seen a fall in demand for US tour packages.... [read the story]

Trump's travel policies hurting 'U.S. brand' and discouraging tourists - CNN Money

One study forecasts a 10.6 million decline in visitors this year and next. The drop -- nearly 7% of expected travelers -- will cost the U.S. economy more than $18 billion and about 107,000 jobs, according to Tourism Economics, a forecasting firm used by the industry. More than half of the lost business will be caused by reduced travel from Canada and Mexico. But experts say they are concerned about tourism declines from the U.K. and western Europe as well... [read the story]

Mexican tourists don't want to visit Trump's America. It will cost us billions - LA Times

Tourism Economics, a global research firm, estimates that lost visits from Mexico to the U.S. this year will total 1.8 million... with direct economic loss of $1.1 billion. The firm estimates that Mexico-to-U.S. travel will diminish even further in 2018, with 2.6 million lost visits and direct economic losses totaling $1.6 billion... [read the story]

Make no mistake: the new travel ban is targeting LGBT people - 100 Days and Me

President Trump’s new travel ban... restricts the total number of refugees admitted to the U.S. to 50,000 per year. The fact is that this new executive order will bar thousands of LGBT and HIV-positive people from seeking refuge in the United States. This order and the political climate regarding immigration has dashed the hopes of LGBT people fleeing persecution in some of the countries in which they face the worst abuse and discrimination... [read the story]

Top lawyers say Trump travel ban would have 'chilling' effect on tourism - WSAZ

The top attorneys from 16 states and (DC) say President Donald Trump's revised travel ban would hurt their higher education and medical institutions and have a chilling effect on tourism. The attorneys general (seek) ... to uphold a ruling that blocked the travel ban targeting six predominantly Muslim countries. The full 4th Circuit will hear arguments in the case May 8... [read the story]

Tourism officials watch for political turmoil that could keep international visitors away - Concord Monitor

New Hampshire tourism officials... have a concern that we’re going to see a dip from our key markets, which would be the United Kingdom and Germany... [read the story]


Related resources
Trump and the impact on travel - Travel bloggers
Trump and the impact on travel - News stories
Trump fallout - from Uber to F1
Donald Trump was a 'bully' when he sued a tiny travel agency in 1989

Suggested reading
Brexit and the impact on travel - travel bloggers
Brexit and the impact on travel - new stories
Headed to one of the 10 most dreaded airports (2016)
Death by selfie

Monday, 10 April 2017

BC airport news

Vancouver International Airport wins top award, again!
Lots of good news airport stories from our neck of the woods...

Oliver gets new Kelowna and Penticton Airport transfer options
There was good news this week for Oliver residents. Ogopogo Valley Tours Inc. will provide airport shuttle service to Penticton Airport and Kelowna Airport, reducing the cost and increasing the convenience of fly-in visits to British Columbia's South Okanagan region... [read the full story].

YVR named #1 in North America - for 8th consecutive year!
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) s the first and only airport to be voted Best Airport in North America for the eighth consecutive year. The Skytrax World Airport Awards are recognized as the global benchmark of airport excellence. The on-site Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel was also voted Best Airport Hotel in North America... [read the full story].

BC airport infrastructure investment projects announced
Things are looking up at 20 British Columbia regional airports, thanks to a $10M investment from the BC Air Access Program. This year's recipients include Anahim Lake, Bella Coola, Chetwynd, Cranbrook, Fairmont Hot Springs, Grand Forks, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Osoyoos, Pemberton, Pitt Meadows, Port Alberni, Powell River, Prince George, Salmon Arm, Smithers, Valemount, Vernon and Williams Lake... [read the press release].

Related resources
What does the future hold for Vancouver International? - International Airport Review
Fly-away falcon back to work at YVR airport - CBC
Uber-style ride-hailing services to operate in B.C. by end of 2017 - Thompson Citizen
Victoria airport chief hopes push to privatize grounded - Times Colonist
Certified airports in British Columbia
BC Airport transportation options - IHateTaxis


Friday, 31 March 2017

Lower taxi fares coming to Ben Gurion

Taxis outside Terminal 1 at Israel's main airport
Who says that prices never go down? Good news from the Times of Israel:

New airport taxi system aims to drop price for passengers
The cost of taxi rides to and from Israel’s main international airport are set to drop as authorities prepare to initiate a new system that will enable all cabbies to collect passengers from terminals, doing away with a 40-year monopoly... [read the full story].

Related resources
Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) transportation guide - IHateTaxis
Israel Offers Subsidies To Airlines Launching Direct Service To Tel Aviv - Travel Market Report
Winding road to B-G Airport terminal was built to appease Chabad - Times of Israel

Monday, 13 February 2017

Taxi to Petra: a love story

Inside Mac's deluxe ride to Petra
Images copyright Halfway Anywhere
Somewhat tongue in cheek, for Valentine's Day we bring you a taxi love story. We loved this story when we found it, and have been waiting for the right occasion to share it. This is the day.

Taxi to Petra: a love story

It isn’t every day that one finds (or makes) love in a taxi, but fortunately for myself and one lucky cabbie, that day was about to arrive for the both of us. Our story begins one night in the city of Eilat, Israel. I was determined to see the ancient city of Petra (in Jordan) and had elected to do so on my own, forgoing the popular guided tour route. It was around 19:00 and knowing that the border closed at 20:00 I found myself a taxi to the crossing... [read the rest of this love story].

Qadir, Mac's trusted taxi driver
Originally published in 2013, we are happy to give Mac's story a bit of a revival. He has a great blog, be sure to check it out.

Halfway Anywhere - Mac's blog
@HalfwayAnywhere - follow Mac on Twitter

Related resources
They fell in love on a layover
Looking for love on a layover
What I learned from my taxi driver
Famous fares: Nimoy drives JFK
The elusive Kabul taxi

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Trump and the impact on travel - Travel bloggers

Claudia Rabin-Manning has owned Trump Travel & Tours since 1989.
The fineprint on her business cards and signage is a disclaimer that reads,
"Not affiliated with Donald J.Trump or the Trump Organization" - as required
 by the conditions of a lawsuit initiated by The Donald in 1989 (which she won).
(Photo from NYDailyNews - read the original story on their website)
Not long after the surprising election result south of the border, we captured a few stories in the news about what Trump-as-President could mean for travel.

Now we take a look at what travel bloggers have had to say on the subject. Here is a sampling:

These are pre-inauguration stories, or course, captured for all time... (we are wondering what the stories will be afterwards?)...

Why I Think Travel Is So Important Now - Wendy Perrin

"Since last week’s U.S. presidential election, there’s been a lot of talk about how certain groups of voters... are living in a bubble. But isn’t it true that everyone’s always lived in a bubble? That’s the reason why we travel—to get outside the bubbles we were born and raised in or currently inhabit, see how other people live and think, and broaden our worldview. Whatever your political leanings, I think this election reinforced how important it is to experience new places (especially within our own country), connect with people who aren’t like us, listen to different perspectives, and find common ground. As Mark Twain put it, “Travel is fatal to prejudice.” With America’s role on the international stage unclear, though, some people are wondering how they will be treated when they go abroad now.
As someone who has traveled in a number of risky countries at times when U.S. government policies were not in favor, I’m here to tell you that, in my experience, as long as you don’t behave like an “ugly American,” people don’t judge you based on your government. That’s because they don’t want you to judge them based on their government..." [read this story].


How the Trump Presidency Will Affect Travel Bloggers - Global Girl Travels

I didn’t plan to write this post and I’m not happy that I need to. I’m also aware it will be misinterpreted, so please read it carefully...

Jessica Peterson's thoughtful post goes on to explore a number of troubling possibilities, including the future of sexual harassment online (it will get worse), sexual harassment of women in the USA (it will become excusable behaviour), the possibly impossible travel to environmental hot spots and, yes, travel to Muslim countries becoming more dangerous for Americans... [read the story]


Disappointed yet Undaunted, We Shall Keep on Travelin’! - Rick Steves

OK, the forces of Trump have taken the White House. For people who love our world and celebrate diversity, it’s a setback…a big setback. We internationalists, progressives, and people who want to build bridges rather than walls lost... [read the story].

 

Traveling Abroad In The Age Of Trump? Wear Dark Clothes - Around The World

Roland and I just got back from 3 weeks in Thailand. People there aren’t obsessing over Trump... Roland has been asking me for weeks how I thought travel for Americans would be impacted by Trump’s presidency. I started traveling abroad while Nixon was president and found people sympathetic. In Holland I was... [read the story].


Traveling as an American in the Age of Trump: What to Expect - Twenty-Something Travel

I realize that having to travel internationally when you president is an unpopular orange blowhard is small potatoes on the scale of potential issues with a Trump presidency. But as travelers it’s something we have to deal with. So here’s what you can expect... [read the story].


Travel Is Political: Inauguration Day Digital Trump Protest - Dopes on the Road

I’m one of those lucky people who have multiple passions - travel, the queer community, and digital activism. It’s no secret that I started my career as an LGBT activist. I’ve facilitated social justice workshops and given speeches all over the world, I’ve even written a book about it. But I haven’t been implicit about how I see the intersection of these passions. Well - travel is political. And to be a queer traveler is a radical act. Every time I step foot in an anti-LGBT area I’m making a political statement. We live in a world where there are still 83 countries that... [read the story].



There are many more, of course, but we hope you found this cross-section of perspectives interesting.

Related resources
Trump and the impact on travel - News stories
Trump fallout - from Uber to F1
Donald Trump was a 'bully' when he sued a tiny travel agency in 1989
Comedian Joy Behar on Travel During the Trump Era and Why She Never Takes Red-Eyes

Suggested reading
Brexit and the impact on travel - travel bloggers
Brexit and the impact on travel - new stories
Headed to one of the 10 most dreaded airports (2016)
Airports of the Future - New Perspectives

Friday, 16 December 2016

Pokemon No-Go: Moscow GPS foils taxis, Uber, runners

We love this story, but of course are not amused about those actually getting lost. It's truly an "only in Russia thing":
Russians seek answers to central Moscow GPS anomaly
From the marathoners who magically run at a higher rate to Uber drivers thrown 30 kilometres off-course, Putin's GPS shield is bringing cloaking devices into modern un-reality.

"Isn't this the Kremlin?"
"No, you idiot, it's Vnukovo Airport!"
"Where's Pikachu then?"
"How the hell am I supposed to know?"
"It was your turn to handle directions!"
"I followed them!"
"Then where the hell is the Kremlin?"
"It's supposed to be right here!"
"Then why does the GPS on my phone keep telling me this is the airport?"
"Where are the planes?"
"I don't know!"
"It doesn't look like any airport I've ever seen..."
"They probably stopped air traffic because Putin is arriving."
"That's stupid."
"No, it's not."
"Helicopter."

"Pikachu's in a helicopter?!?"
"No, you idiot, it's Putin's helicopter!! Can't you hear it?"
"Yes, but..."
"Look, there it is! It IS Putin!"
"Holy shit."
"No shit! I told you!"
"Then where's [inaudible]?"
"What...?!?"
"I said, where [inaudible] then?"
"I can't hear you!!!"
"No shit chickenshit".
"Wow, that thing's loud..."
"Did you see Putin waving?"
"No, of course not!"
"I swear I saw him!"
"Can't be."
"Why's that?"
"Because it's his double, you idiot!!!"
"His what?!?!"
"You think they'd let Putin wave?! It's his DOUBLE, dufus!"
"He has a double?"
"Of couse he does, numbskull."
"Oh."
"I wonder when the planes will start again."

"So where's Pikachu then?"
"Cloaked."
"What?!?"
"Cloaked. You know, stealth technology."
"You think Pikachu has a cloaking device?!?"
"Sure, why not?"
"You watch too much Star Trek!"
"No I don't!"
"So where's Pikachu then?"
"I don't know!"
"Why don't you ask William Shatner then?!?"
"Kirk?!? Where? What...?"
"I just keep feeling like he's going to magically turn up..."
"Ha. True."
"I'm ready for vodka."
"Me too."
"Maybe Pikachu is in the bar."
"With Shatner".
"Ha. No shit."
"Well, let's go then."
"Keep your eyes open for him."
"Who? Pikachu? Or Shatner?"
"Ha. Do you hear planes?"
"Huh?"
"It's an airport, remember?"
"No, it's the Kremlin."
"Oh, geez... Let's get that vodka..."
"Roger that!"