Anything that could possibly go wrong with a taxi booking went wrong last weekend, literally! On Saturday I was on my way to my biggest new thing so far this year – a Formula 1 weekend in Barcelona! Not only was it impulsive, it was actually on my bucket list that I wrote a few weeks back and I was lucky enough to get to go to a Grand Prix F1 event in Barcelona.
My friend and I were so excited, we woke up bright and early at 3AM with as little as 3 hours of sleep! Wasting no time, we had our outfits ready in our handbags to get changed quickly, drop our luggage at the hotel and head to the race. We look happy in the photo, don’t we? Little did we know what we were in for next.
As we were coming for the F1 event only, we did not want to miss a minute of any action. Having heard about the stories of taxis in Barcelona, I didn’t want to risk anything so I pre-booked/paid our journey at a fixed price…big mistake! Being Iranian, I think I’m cursed with lateness.
On the T&C of the booking, the company states that if we weren’t out of the airport by 30 minutes after the arrival, we would forfeit on our payment and the journey. OK, so as soon as we landed we rushed out. We even squeezed in a few minutes to go to the airport toilet to get changed and freshen up, only to come out to find that there was nobody standing outside with our names on a paper…
I double checked my booking (as I had done a million times before leaving), we went around the whole airport and couldn’t find anyone. One man was kind enough to lend us his phone to call the taxi company. They said that the driver is on his way and will be there in 2 minutes – 2 minutes turned into 10 and the driver was 35 minutes late in total by the time he arrived. This was enough time for us to have gotten to the hotel, dropped our luggage and be on our way to the race. We were meant to be at the circuit at 12PM maximum, watch what time we got there.
We were extremely agitated at this point, which is understandable, but tried to have consideration for the fact that this specific driver may not have been the one to blame. 20 minutes into the journey we asked how much longer it would take to get to the hotel…. the driver looked at us and responded “hotel”? This was the point when things started really kicking off and we were furious to say the least, the driver not being able to speak English and us not speaking Spanish did not exactly help the situation either.
So, a journey which should have taken 1 hour maximum had already added up to 75 minutes by the time we got to the hotel, this wasn’t even half way. We demanded to be put on the phone to somebody who speaks English and who is responsible for this company. This was unacceptable and we didn’t feel that we should be charged €100 for such a disastrous journey. If this wasn’t bad enough, it gets worse..
I had left my jacket in the taxi whilst we dropped our luggage in the hotel and I knew this. When one of the hotel staff came up to our room saying that I forgot my jacket downstairs – I knew immediately what had happened, the driver had ditched us! I was speechless, and I’m still baffled and annoyed to say the least (hence why I am pouring all of my frustration out on this post, I do apologize and promise that happy posts are to follow). This made us 1,5 hours late to the circuit. I was extremely upset, especially considering that I would probably not be able to go to another one of these things again.
Currently we have still not received any compensation and are in the process of filing a complaint. Even with a refund, the money can not replace the time that we could have been there, soaking in the atmosphere before the action, which is equally as much a part of the whole experience.
We ended up getting another taxi to the race on top of the ridiculous price we had already paid. There are always two ways to look at things though and we decided to look on the bright side. Last week, we would not have even expected to be in Barcelona, so even if we get to experience some of it then it’s better than nothing, so we brushed it off and got on with it – Grand Prix time baby! After all it was on my bucket list.
I think it is only fair to mention the name of the company – Taxi Ecologic, which by the way is stated on Tripadvisor as one of the most reputable taxi companies in Barcelona.
Licensed taxis are painted black and yellow – tips for taxis in Barcelona:
* Know the rough amount before starting the journey. As the price is based on a meter it will never be fixed but I found that most of them were more or less accurate in their estimations. This worldwide taxi meter is useful http://www.worldtaximeter.com.
* Whenever possible, book through your hotel. Most hotels have reputable taxi companies that they work with, so although still possible, it is less likely for those to screw you over. The taxis in Barcelona are quite affordable in comparison to London, to get from the airport to the city center will cost around €35.
Forgetting about the first bumpy ride, the cars at the F1 made up for the whole experience and we ended up having an amazing time. This is something that we can look back and just laugh at, stay tuned for the happier posts! :)
Do you have any crazy taxi stories? I would love to hear them, please share!