The distance between Bristol and Alicante is approximately 2,204 km (according to Google Maps). Its cost -if the reservation is made well in advance- may not exceed € 30. These advantageous prices have linked tourism in that part of the south-west of the United Kingdom with this area of south-east Spain.
The official taxis at Alicante Airport (“El Altet”)
After arriving on a flight that landed around 11:30 at night, we took an official taxi at the stop. Despite the fact that the Airport is provincial (a radius of about 90 km), the only taxis that can provide this service are from the city of Elche, the municipality where the Airport is located. The city of Alicante is 11.8 km from the airport. Price for the service:40 euros. When I asked the taxi driver he told me that it was a "night rate" and that it was far from the center, seven more km. In total, about 19 km by taxi: 40 euros (27-6-2014)
About two years ago, my 79-year-old father knows almost no Spanish and took the same taxi service at the same time. The taxi driver could not find the street and chose to lower his suitcase and leave him in a nearby street, claiming that he could not find the street he was saying ... (at 12 at night !!). With his cell phone running out of battery, it took us an hour and a half to find my father.
According to a large part of the Spanish population, official taxis provide a terrible and expensive official service. They constitute an influential lobby in each municipality and they become a flagrant monopoly with abusive practices. Neither the municipalities nor the Airport addresses lift a single finger to change this. And that this type of practices contribute to deteriorate the tourist image of Spain in general and are not exclusive to Alicante Airport. Currently, this type of abuse as soon as it occurs, its victims share them with their friends on Twitter, Facebook. WhatsApp… impoverishing the image of Spain.
The solution: arrange transportation online (even unofficial taxis)
These issues are beginning to have a solution in Spain. The lack of political will of those responsible and policy makers They have made these issues unsolvable, but the mobile has come to provide the solution to users.
Thanks to the Internet, there is more pressure on the prices of flights to any part of Europe (in a market dominated by four low cost airlines in Europe) than a municipality with hundreds of taxis, a complacent councilor and an airport director who looks the other way . The solution for taxis has also come from the Internet.
In Madrid there are many taxi services over the Internet. For example Cabify, a high-end vehicle, impeccable with an educated driver who speaks languages, previously agreed on the price online (a mobile App) is about € 35 and takes you a 26 km radius from the city center. It is an excellent service, very professional and serious, infinitely better than that of standard taxis.
Paradoxically, taxi drivers in Barcelona and Madrid are at war against this type of service. They call it intrusion. They endanger abusive rates (and bleeding in a Spanish economic crisis like the current one) and income to the City Councils from very expensive licenses and sometimes exploited to the limit.
|Image from the newspaper El País. A taxi driver hits a car|
who has arranged a service with a client via the Internet
Madrid or Barcelona are full of quite a few "dirty taxis and taxi drivers willing to make the meter work excessively", with drivers where professionalism is conspicuous by its absence and abuses are frequent. The most common is to take customers unfamiliar with the city for longer journeys. Some abuses are legally official, such as applying a surcharge for picking you up at the terminal railway station of AVE trains and taking you to another point in the city.
Faced with these policy irrationalities that end up damaging customers and taxi drivers themselves, the solution has come from the Internet. Clients and Professionals who agree on previously agreed and closed prices, payment by card made automatically at the end of the journey. The bad, regulators do not know whether to side with taxi drivers ...
Conventional taxis have a serious problem. Licenses without solid criteria (easy income for the municipality), abusive fees for clients and professional services that leave much to be desired. What has been said is not the fault of the taxi drivers; only the incompetence of those responsible andpolicy makers makes these issues unsolvable. The Internet is the medium that highlights the solution and the problem of incompetence.