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I live in a rural area and occasionally need to get a taxi to the local airport or railway station:

  • my destination is distant (that’s why I choose to live in a rural area)
  • the local airport/railway station is relatively small
  • the services they run are relatively infrequent (miss the intended service and the whole trip is ruined)
  • I must start my journey in the early morning (4-5am, too early to ask a friend to help)
  • I must book my taxi in advance (no taxi rank in my village!)

Finding a taxi that will pick up from a rural area involves:

  • either finding someone locally, usually a very small company (one person/one car, even), prepared to go out in the early morning
  • or asking one of the many larger taxi companies in the nearest city (12 miles away) to come out to me

A couple of times I've been in the situation where the taxi does not arrive on the day and I've missed my flight/train:

  • local small company: phone them but they do not answer or have to cancel with no notice, no chance of finding another local driver
  • remote larger company: driver has not turned up, will send another immediately but will not arrive in time

My current approach is to find a local company and phone them multiple times, stressing how important it is to me they turn up on time.

Any advice on how to ensure I will not be let down by the taxi company?

I'm in the UK.

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@Karlson: would you kindly explain why? I'm not looking for a localized answer (as far as I'm aware). –  petemoloy May 22 '13 at 15:20
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Because behavior of Taxi companies vary from country to country and in the US from state to state with regards to legal requirements for passenger pick up. So the answer to your question will be localized at least on the country level. In addition since you live in rural area you more then likely have a mode of transportation available to you so you might just use that instead of a taxi. –  Karlson May 22 '13 at 15:25
    
@Karlson: I'm not interested in legal implications, only practicalities that I assume are universal. I've updated my question accordingly. p.s. sure, I can take other modes of transport but respectfully that's off topic, my question is specifically about taxis :) –  petemoloy May 22 '13 at 15:31
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Not sure there is a universal answer to this. There are local customs, practices and, yes, even regulations that affect all this. In some places, punctuality is the norm in others it is the exception, same for over-booking and reliability. –  Itai May 22 '13 at 15:35
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I don't particularly want to be annoying but “the service any reasonable person would expect” very much depends on where you are in the world. Even the very idea to travel alone in a car or make an appointment would sound very strange in large parts of the world (as opposed, say, to just show up a long time in advance and wait for the car to be full). –  Relaxed May 22 '13 at 16:35
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2 Answers 2

Ugly situation. Some ideas:

  • Befriend a specific taxi driver which is reliable (I think at the given time in the early morning there will be no rivals, it is more a convienience problem).

  • Be independent with other transportations. If you do not want or cannot afford a car, a motorbike, a scooter: Some people I know of drive 40 km (25 miles) with a bike. Ok, it needs 2 hours, but you know that you will arrive in time.

  • Drive to the city with the local railway station / airport one day before and rent an overnight stay.

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In the UK there are regulatory authorities that apparently limit the number of taxis and impose quality requirements there have been a study and suggestion by the UK parliament to abolish the Quantity Control on the number of taxis available in Rural areas and otherwise, which was similarly addressed by the Office of Fair Trade.

However, there is evidence to suggest that cabbies refuse to go to the rural area and there is apparently a call for a regulation to prohibit them from doing so. And in some place like Scotland there are complain procedure to be followed when service is subpar.

So long story short complain about the situation to the local licensing authority and the taxi company or the PHV company that left you stranded. In addition it may be better to hire a cab from the city where you need to go suggesting that you will pay the fare both ways taxi going to pick you up and the regular fare once it does.

Other then that since you live in rural area it is quite likely that you have your own mode of transportation, which you could use instead of calling a cab in this case you're not reliant on a "mercy" of others to get where you need to go.

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Your suggestion about the taxi from the city is good. Perhaps I could also insist on paying in advance; perhaps then I could then claim against travel insurance (at present it seems I am not covered because my journey has not started until I get in the taxi!) –  petemoloy May 23 '13 at 10:14
    
While it is technically true about the regulation of taxis, most cabs in the UK aren't actually taxis - least in rural areas - and aren't subject to the same regulations. They are "private hire". –  DJClayworth May 23 '13 at 17:42
    
@DJClayworth The regulation recommendations from Parliament and OFT refer to both. –  Karlson May 23 '13 at 17:52
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