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Fighting global extortion for the weary-eyed traveler at airports everywhere.

Originally published in the eTravelBlackboard, 22 July 2010


Two brothers contemplated the IHateTaxis.com website idea as early as 2005 and construction on the site began last year. The concept was based on continual unpleasant global travelling experiences, and on a recurring question plagued by all travelers: How do I get from the airport to my hotel after that long flight without being ripped off?

Like most travelers out there, both brothers have individually and collectively experienced the shark tank feeding frenzy of extortion at various airports as soon as one clears customs, be they in developed or developing countries. Looking dumbfounded, not knowing the local rates of services, and being hassled after a long flight, most often leaves you in a state of complete vulnerability. The common outcome is that you often end up paying a ridiculous amount to get to your hotel and sometimes this unfortunately shapes your first impression of the city or country you are in. The name chosen for our website is thus a half-jocular expression of this frustration.

The real catalyst for this idea was in 2006 when the brothers traveled to Bangkok, Thailand for the second time. Arriving at midnight they proceeded to catch a taxi and quickly realized that the taxi drivers had doubled the fare and were not budging on negotiating as the arriving hordes of gullible tourists would pay almost anything to get shuttled to their respective hotel after a long flight. After twenty minutes of failed negotiations and being sleep deprived, the brothers conceded to paying the extorted amount. They realized at this point if more tourists knew the going rates, the scams, and other available ground transportation options at the airport, the more empowered they would be in their decision-making process. This would inevitably reduce dishonesty by giving travelers a leg up in contemporary knowledge prior to being unleashed in the awaiting shark tank.

The IHateTaxis.com website provides a free centralized and constantly updated global ground transportation repository, so that travelers may investigate their transportation options and be empowered upon their arrival. The IHateTaxis.com website has full-time staff that spends their working lives constantly creating, reviewing, and updating ground transportation options at hundreds of airports, cruise/ferry terminals and train stations around the globe. We keep our pulse on this by constantly searching the internet and contacting various companies and airport authorities regarding ground transportation. We also speak with travelers whom have recently been to a particular location and can offer useful information. The staff is in Canada and South Africa and therefore maintains continual 24-hour ground transportation surveillance. Best of all one can access this site from their mobile phone as soon as they get off the plane and are awaiting their luggage. Alternatively many people look at the site prior to travelling and make their ground transportation bookings online or at least reference the information so they know where they go upon arrival at the airport.

The website has expanded to include 400 airports, cruise/ferry terminals and train stations from over 95 countries in the world and continues to grow. Since its official launch on September 1st, 2009, the website has received traffic from over 175 countries around the globe. It was featured recently on the front page of the Sydney Moring Herald, Brisbane Times, Melbourne Age and WA Today, in addition to being front page material in the corresponding travel sections. It was featured in over 15 major newspapers across Canada, again being placed on the front page of the respective travel sections. It has been featured on MSN twice, IOL Travel South Africa, amongst a host of other travel related sites from around the world. It was a topic of discussion by the London Broadcasting Company's Simon Calder during his weekly travel show a few months ago. It has most recently been featured in The Seattle Times and The Washington Post.

The intent behind the IHateTaxis.com website is to assist international travelers in this previous e-information void. Undoubtedly, an empowered traveler will make smarter and safer decisions and will enjoy their trip more. This new form of empowerment will curtail the shark tank feeding frenzy of extortion for travelers around the globe.

Source: http://www.etravelblackboard.com/showarticle.asp?id=106844&nav=11

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