A month ago, Hotels.com released a massive, worldwide survey on taxi service. The big upshot was London taxis were the most expensive, but the most loved. New York (most knowledgeable drivers), Las Vegas (cleanest, easiest to hail) also came away with bragging rights. As often happens, the poll buried something significant to individual cities, and it took time for it to make headlines here.
Mérida’s taxi drivers were deemed the nicest in the world.
Meanwhile, Cancún’s taxi system took some major lumps.
The leader of Radiotaximetros, Antonio Serrano Lizama, told Sipse (the most Google-translate-friendly news source in Yucatán) that drivers in Mérida should be proud to put the city’s name under such a spotlight.
“Taxi drivers are among the first local travelers who have contact, this first impression is very important,” he said
Now, back to Cancún: taxis there were among the most expensive and unreliable. In a resort that relies on taxi service to shuttle visitors out of their walled compounds to local businesses around the city, this finding must represent a crisis in Mexico’s most popular vacation destination.
Here’s the press release from August (which doesn’t mention Mérida, but indicates its methodology):
LONDON, Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ — The Hotels.com annual taxi report* has revealed that London taxis have been voted the best in the world** for the third year running.
The majority of travellers (59%) who were polled from across the world for the annual Hotels.com taxi report said that London’s black cabs were far and away the pick of the world’s taxis, fending off competition from New York (favourite amongst 27% of travellers) and Tokyo with 26% of the vote. The German city of Berlin and Bangkok’s tuk tuk taxis completed the top 5.
Travelling by taxi is one of the first experiences that many travellers have upon arrival in a new city, so it is significant for the UK capital’s tourist industry that London taxis are making such a good impression on visitors. The majority (55%) of UK travellers said that they regularly take a cab to their hotel when arriving in a foreign city or resort, as opposed to 16% who tend to use a private car, or 14% who prefer to venture onto a train.
The global poll scored city based taxis for their levels of cleanliness, value, quality of driving, knowledge of the area, friendliness, safety and availability. The overall findings include:
– London taxi drivers are the friendliest in the world with 8% of the global vote, beating their Irish (6%) rivals to the title.
– 12% voted Parisian and New York taxi drivers the rudest in the world.
– 9% of travellers think the Italian capital boasts the world’s worst taxi drivers when it comes to the quality of driving.
– 36% voted London taxi drivers as having the best knowledge of their city.
– One in five travellers voted New York as having the most available taxis.
– Despite also being named the most expensive (39%), London’s taxi drivers fared the best across a number of categories including friendliness, cleanliness, quality of driving, safety and knowledge of the area.
Alison Couper, director of Communications, Hotels.com, commented: “It’s great to hear that London has won the best taxi vote for the third year running. The journey to your accommodation should not be a stressful or off-putting experience as it can severely taint your view of a destination, if bad.
“A friendly, knowledgeable taxi driver helps form a positive first impression and they are most definitely an important part of any country’s tourism industry.”
Bob Oddy, general secretary of the London Taxi Drivers Association, said: “Taxi surveys are fast becoming a one horse race. I can’t recall any independent research during recent years which has not placed London cabbies top of the list. I’m confident that the vigorous Knowledge of London training which our drivers are required to undertake is the bedrock of our success.”
Notes to editors
* Research was conducted amongst over 1900 travelers worldwide 11-28th May, 2010.
** Includes EMEA, LATAM, APAC and USA