I arrived at O’Hare late Thursday night and needed a taxi home. So did lots of other people, but I imagine that’s usual. I called 303 Cabs and was told they were busy so it would be a 15-20 minute wait. After 10 minutes I went outside, but it was frigid so I went in. There’s a huge wind so it’s possible to easily see the cabs and their numbers. Mine was the easy to remember #1.
Now some cabs were waiting and waiting for their riders. A couple cabs had to wait at least 15 minutes. How I wanted to hop in one of these eluring cabs.
I waited and waited for mine. After *gasp* over an hour, I called 303 Cabs again. They offered a weak apology and said that I missed the cab. Poppycock. My eyes were peeled. Also, I reckoned by others behavior that no one got a cab in 15-20 minutes. 30 or 40 was more like it.
I also I need to tell visitors to Chicago that we have a rather confusing means of getting a taxi. There is no queue or booth with personnel assisting travelers as other countries have. Each time I’m at the airport in arrivals I see and help people who’re trying to wave a taxi down. They don’t understand why none stop. I don’t fault them as it isn’t obvious what the procedure is.
It’s because in Chicago you must go to one of the information phones and use the touch screen to call a cab. Follow the operator’s directions and with luck you’ll get a cab.
Now I’ve learned that the estimated times need some translation. Fifteen – twenty minutes in taxi-ese means over an hour. They won’t tell you “over an hour” because you’ll call another company. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to call a back up cab if you’re told to wait for 15 minutes.
Chicago is a town where being shrewd is the name of the game. Don’t feel bad. I’m surprised our motto isn’t “There’s a sucker born every minute.” So call two cabs and cancel the one that doesn’t make it there first. It’s just capitalism, which isn’t always pretty.
It took me two hours to get a cab and drive home, about the same amount of time it took to fly from Boston to Chicago. When I got in the second cab, I saw Cab #1 pull up.
- Mayor Rahm’s just a stubborn kind of fella when it comes to that O’Hare janitorial contract (chicagoreader.com)
- O’Hare’s new nap nook (suntimes.com)
- Those ‘Hygienic’ Toilet Seats At O’Hare May Not Be So Clean (wnyc.org)