By Renee Moodie
It's 3am and you've just flown 20 hours across the globe? All you want is a hotel room with aircon and a good bed... and now you have to figure out how to get to that hotel.
Canadian brothers Todd Romaine, 34 and Steve Romaine, 39, have been there and done that... in 59 countries in the last decade. And now their collective experience is at your service in their website IHateTaxis.com. The Romaine brothers wanted to answer the question which plagues all travellers: How do I get from the airport to my hotel after that long flight, safely and without being ripped off?
Both brothers say they have individually and collectively experienced the shark tank feeding frenzy of extortion at various airports as soon as one clears customs.
"The 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," says Todd.
The catalyst was in 2006 when the brothers travelled to Bangkok, Thailand. Arriving at midnight they proceeded to try 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 hotels after a long flight. After twenty minutes of failed negotiations, the brothers paid the extorted amount.
They realized that if more tourists knew the going rates, the scams, and other available ground transportation options, the more empowered they would be in their decision-making process.
Construction on the site began in 2008.
IHateTaxis.com provides a centralized and constantly updated global ground transportation repository, and has full-time staff that spend their working lives constantly creating, reviewing, and updating ground transportation options at hundreds of airports around the globe.
The website, launched on September 1, 2009, includes 235 airports from over 75 countries in the world and continues to grow.
"Every time a visitor clicks on an airport we have not completed then this is tracked and enough hits will result in a write-up. If several Russian travellers, for example, are clicking on a specific airport in Turkmenistan, then we commence the process of a write-up" says Todd.
"In many ways, the global traveller will tell us the airports in demand. We also anticipate that the more our website is used, the more travellers will provide us with updated information or question our recommendations."
"While we promote ground transportation options at airports based on cost, efficiency, safety, and environmental concerns, there may be particular operators that may meet our criteria but in reality (based on travelling experiences of others) fail the grade. We want to hear this so we re-evaluate our recommendations," he says. The site also includes information on baggage, medical, country profiles, visa requirements, currency conversions
and so forth.
With staff based in Canada and South Africa (by a South African who the brothers met on their travels), ihatetaxis.com will provide 24 hour coverage on changing ground transportation options from around the globe.
The user friendly mobile.ihatetaxis.com (to be released shortly) will enable the traveller to access the site from their phone upon their arrival at airports across the globe.