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January 11th, 2012:

Public transportation…

Taxi version… Ottawa versus Barbados. Based on recent experience.

1) Lots of baggage and taxis, Barbados. Part One.

Driver cheerfully picks up from Granley Adams Airport and carefully sets our 5 heavy suitcases carefully down in the back of the minivan. Smile on face, he talks us up on the way from the airport, telling us about what to see and do. The agreed upon and reasonable fare is paid and an arrangement is made for him to pick us up on the day of our departure.

2) Lots of baggage and taxis, Ottawa. Part One.

Blue Line taxi is called the night before for a 4:30 pick-up. I tell the dispatcher that we are a party of 4 with 5 pieces of luggage and 4 carry-ons. I am assured that this won’t be a problem. At 4:40 the on the appointed morning, an undersized car shows up. No apologies for being late. Shrugging his shoulders, the driver crams as much luggage as possible into a trunk and front seat while the four of us are crammed into the back. Only the 2 kids wearing seatbelts, and I with a 40 lb suitcase on my lap.

Good times.

3) Lots of baggage and taxis, Barbados. Part Two.

Driver shows up dead on the minute. Won’t let me touch the bags. He loads everything on. Makes sure the kids are in the cab safely. Nice convo about the politics of Barbados… this is a smart and informed guy. Waits for other cars to move so he can debark us right in front of the Air Canada check-in desk. He thanks us profusely for hiring him and gives me biz cards to give out to any other friends or colleagues who may visit the island.

Note: if you plan on visiting Barbados, email me.

4) Lots of baggage and taxis, Ottawa. Part Two.

Bags drop off belt around midnight. I’m tired. the kids are tired. Want and need smooth sailing from here on in… should be safe, right?

Go outside to stand in the taxi queue. The taxi stand organizer is A-one ( the only bright part of this tale this side of the 13th parallel) and has C and the kids stand in his heated office while we wait for a vehicle large enough to accommodate our bags. It wasn’t a long wait. The taxi herder says to me: “heads-up… he’s gonna ding you for and extra $10 because you have an extra bag”. Nice of him to tell me and I’m too tired at this point to make a fuss.

Mini-van pulls up. Driver tosses and stuffs bags in. No words of friendly conversation. Arrive at our house around midnight and upon I handing over the fare, the driver grumbles: “that’s an extra $10 for the bags.” I say: “But, this is a van. There’s no biggy for you.”

He says : “Ten dollars.”

I downwardly adjust the tip accordingly. I take the bags out myself. Stack them at the end of the driveway while C gets the freezing kids into the house. Then I drag them up the drive and into the house myself. The cab clips one of the bags upon backing out of the driveway.

Welcome back to Ottawa.

Gotta love the customer service, eh? Pathetic. And this is the nation’s capital.

Tomorrow: Barbados buses versus OCTranspo.