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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 7:54 pm | Fair 50º


Letter to the Editor: Taxi Companies Give Santa Barbara a Bad Name

I took my Thai wife for her first visit to America and returned on Tuesday after touring Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Monterey and San Fransisco. Our favorite place was your fair city.

Unfortunately, our trip was marred by two unscrupulous taxi firms who cheated us on the fares.

We stayed at The Sandman on State Street. Rather than drink and drive, we asked the hotel to call us a cab from Elite Taxi Co. There appeared to be a number of settings on the meter — ours was given the tourist rate. For a distance of no more than four miles (we had driven it earlier in our rental car), we had to pay nearly $20!

On the return journey, we fell into the hands of Promenade Cab Co. We quizzed the driver about the meter settings, and because he “liked us,” he changed the meter setting from Outlandish to merely Exorbitant. He then proceeded to take us onto the highway, rather than up State Street — a journey that must have tripled the mileage. This fare was slightly less than the earlier ripoff rate.

This experience has soured our memories of your beautiful town. There will be two versions of this trip being publicized in two countries — my daughter from the United Kindgdom was with us, and my own version in Thailand. As I am a journalist for two local publications, my story will reach a much wider audience than my daughter’s.

It would be a shame if the good name of Santa Barbara was besmirched by the actions such rapacious individuals.

Mike Bell

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