By Jelane A. Kennedy
As more people decide that driving your self everywhere just isn’t energy efficient, more people have been looking to access public transportation. So why not take the train or bus? Yet even though Albany appears to be a vital link to all these options, be ready to be robbed!
For us it all started with deciding to take a taxi to the train station. We called the night before after reading on-line about all the folks paying $40-$50 for a three mile trip to or from the Albany-Rensselaer train station. There were lots of warnings on-line about the modern day taxi pirates. So after calling our friend Michael for some advice we settled on a cab company that had a positive reputation (Capitaland Taxi).
Next morning, since they would not take a reservation when Eileen called in the evening, she called at about 6:30 am at the suggested time. In what seemed like forever she finally got through while I hauled our luggage out to the front. The cabbie showed up on time, in front of a house three doors down, so Eileen flagged him over as we rushed out the door.
The cabbie pulls up to the curb and pops the trunk,
“Just toss your stuff in.” He yells out the window.
What happen to the old days when they assisted you with your luggage? And does the cab have to be in such bad condition, filthy trunk, rotted seats that give you a backache?
As we were driving the cabbie called dispatch
“How much for two.” He grumbled.
Ok so that was higher than what was quoted the night before but in perspective at least it wasn’t $40! We got there on time with sore backs.
While waiting at the train station a middle aged Chinese American woman sat next to Eileen, the woman looked a bit harried. They begin chatting and she tells Eileen how she decided to try taking the CDTA bus over to the train station. She left her house with extra time and had it all laid out, one bus from home, transfer to another bus and then onto the train station. She made it to the transfer spot, was waiting with another experienced bus traveler on the proper side, everything was working like it should.
Only no so fast! The bus driver stopped on the wrong side at the wrong bus stop not seeing the ladies waiting on the right side, he takes on no passengers and heads over the Hudson River without them. So they had to call a cab so not to miss the train and split the $15.00 fare for a half-mile trip!
We all felt a bit disheartened at this point.
Back at the train station, a couple of days later, we arrived outside to see that the pirate taxis were busy picking up folks just getting off the train, she recognized the names on the taxis’ from the comments read online.
Eileen took one look at me and says, “There has got to be another option.”
So what’s up with Albany? As Eileen’s new friend said: “In China public transportation was fast, easy, and efficient!”
Eileen pulled out a slip of paper she packed with the phone number of the taxi service we had used to get to the station. She called the number and asked about a taxi pick-up. She was told that if she asked them to come then they could pick her up but they were not allowed to just be waiting at the Train Station because it was not their territory.
A few minutes go by and a new mini-van pulls up with the name of the taxi she called, Capitaland Taxi. The gentleman, gets out, opened the doors. Packed in our duffle bags. The taxi was clean. He tells us all about his new wheels and makes us laugh. We are back in no time; the charge was less than the ride out to the train station a few days ago.
He gives us his card and says “Give me a call whenever you need a taxi. I’m always on.”
Thank you Bigga for making the end of our trip so much better then the start!
(c) 2015 Jelane A. Kennedy