How to not get ripped off traveling in Albany, New York.

By Jelane A. Kennedy

Map of Albany. Photo by Jelane A. Kennedy

Map of Albany. Photo 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.

“$23.25”

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.

CDTA bus on an Albany city street. Photo by Jelane A. Kennedy

CDTA bus on an Albany city street. Photo by Jelane A. Kennedy

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 an I discuss our experience on the train. Photo by Jelane A. Kennedy

Eileen an I discuss our experience on the train. Photo by Jelane A. Kennedy

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

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7 Responses to How to not get ripped off traveling in Albany, New York.

  1. Perry says:

    Taxi drivers are more honest than politicians and used car sales people. How’s that for an endorsement?

  2. Joe D Phillips says:

    Western NY we love very much around Holiday Valley Ski Resort. Eastern NY we tend to stay away from. Northern NY is one of the pathways to get to beloved Quebec!!!

    thank you for the posting,

    sincerely,

    joe p ohio

    ps: We have a new (to us) 2007 Roadtrek 210 Versatile and want to get roadtreking asap. Our Versatile has 4 captain chairs in the front (so it qualifies as a Van) and only a Queen sized couch/bed in the back. In the middle is an enclosed bath with its own sink, and a galley with lots of counter space and drawers. Outside are several basement storage drawers. However, it sits lower above the pavement then I like and I hope to add leafs to the springs raising it about 2 inches of additional ground clearance above the Onan Genset that is below the floor.

  3. Deb Smith says:

    I absolutely hate taxis for just the reasons you mentioned. I’ve taken several buses on all sorts of convoluted routes to the airport and elsewhere just to avoid the stinky taxis and their prices–something that I wind up doing in other parts of the world as well. CDTA buses aren’t bad, but like any bus system, you have to know where to stand so the bus will stop for you. I took the bus to the rail station from the block above St. Rose and got there in one smooth trip with plenty of time to spare. On former trips with old bus routes, I’d have to go downtown and change onto the bus to the train station. It’s good to check their website or call before you go.

  4. Bernice Izzo says:

    Before you start discing taxi cab drivers, you should realize. it i a very hard way to make a living. I doubt many of us would work 12 hours a day for what they get paid..

    • jelaneileen1 says:

      Very true it is hard work, my beef is when people are rude doing their jobs or when they over charge intentionally. A couple of years ago I went to a conference and while having dinner with two African American women we got talking and found out they had been charge an outrageous amount for a taxi ride from the train station to the conference. Basically blowing all their cash. Made me think they were being taken advantage of by the driver.
      Jelane

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