Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tip of the Day: DON'T Hail Taxis in Developing Countries, Ask Your Embassy for a List of Reputable Providers

There was a time earlier in my career with the US Department of State as a federal agent that I freely encouraged to hail taxis on the street. Since the tragic events of 9/11, I no longer do so.

As most of our loyal readers know, since 2009, I have posted 4,136 reports on STAYING SAFE ABROAD amounting to 500,000 words of guidance, which, of course, is "on the house."

As most of our readers know all too well, I take keeping folks safe very seriously. In many respects, it is nearly a religious calling. Nearly.

Getting to the heart of today's Tip of the Day, I strongly discourage travelers from hailing taxis in the streets of developing nations for the following reasons:

1. When I first started my daily blog in 2009, I used to keep a database of "stolen taxis," but in the end it was taking too much time from my daily postings, so I eventually gave it up;

2. Let me take this opportunity to simply tell you that there are lots of stolen taxis in all of the 196 countries sprinkled across the globe:

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0932875

3. My subjective guess is that there may be perhaps 1,000 stolen taxis in all 196 countries, so a guesstimate would be: 196,000. My 1,000 stolen taxis may be low, but the short answer is that there are "lots of stolen taxis";

4. Consider this: How many terrorist sympathizers are there worldwide, yet imagine if the number were 500 sympathizers per country, that still amounts to 98,000 problems; and

5. What if the 1,000 stolen taxis [N=196,000] were driven by 40% of people who are potential rapists? That's 78,500!

Now, what are the odds that you get into a stolen taxi driven by one of those 78,500?

No matter how you "cut the deck," the end-result is that you have really, really bad odds, which is why I go back to my original premise and urge you to NOT hail a taxi in a developing country.

So, what is the answer? Very simple. When you reach your destination, simply ask the hotel concierge the phone number of your embassy or consulate. When the receptionist picks up the call simply ask:

"Can you give me a list of three or four reputable taxi services that dispatch taxis to fares?"

That's it! Please enjoy your trip...safely.