Blacklisted Cabs

I don’t book taxis very often — most of my taxi rides are between Tullamarine Airport and Flemington in Melbourne, and you never have to wait long to flag down a taxi at either location. But the other week I happened to be at Werribee station on a Sunday morning, and I’d missed the bus by about ten minutes (stupid trains and busses that don’t line up), and the busses only run every hour. So I thought I’d call a taxi. Since I don’t call taxis very often, I need a number that’s easy to remember, so I called 132227 as it’s a convenient mnemonic. This was the old Black Cabs number, but they seem to have amalgamated with a bunch of other taxi companies and changed their name to One Three Cabs these days. But I will no longer be calling this number. I will make an effort to always find the number of another taxi company because of how shockingly bad their service has become.

I call them up, and get put on hold. I’m not too worried about being on hold for a little while, but the hold music consists of repeated radio ads for themselves that appear to be intended to drill their phone number into the listener’s head. What kind of stupidity is this? I know what the number is — I’ve just dialled it for crying out loud! Give me something distracting — elevator music, radio, ads for some other company — reminding me who’s keeping me on hold is not a smart move! I was on hold for about a minute when I got the ring of an operator’s phone. They picked it up, and then hung up without even saying anything. Nice going — I guess you just scored one more call handled. How many more until you meet your quota for the shift?

As I don’t know the numbers of any other taxi companies, I called again, and spent another minute on hold. This time I actually got an operator. She asked me where I was, and I answered, “The taxi rank at Werribee station.” She asked, “What street?” I answered, “I don’t really know. There’s a bus terminal on one side of the station and a taxi rank on the other; I’m at the taxi rank.” She said, “Well call back when you know the street,” and hung up. What’s the use of taxi company that doesn’t even know where taxi ranks are? Surely you have a Melway or UBD, or perhaps Goole Maps accessible? Don’t people call taxis when they know where the want to be but not how to get there? Also, the call centre drones seem far more keen on increasing the number of calls they handle than actually taking bookings, or being helpful.

So I asked a random girl who happened to be there if she knew the number of a taxi company other than 132227. She told me 03-9689-1144 was the local mob (West Suburban Taxis). When I called this number, I got an operator immediately, and they got me a cab in a couple of minutes, without asking me what the name of the street was. All in all, a far better experience. I don’t think I’ll remember the number, and I don’t know if they service all of Melbourne, but I’m definitely not calling 132227 again.

This entry was posted on Saturday, 5 June, 2010 at 11:40 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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