Moscow Taxi Touts

New York newspapers frequently report about naive visitors paying excessive taxifares into Manhattan. The record was set by a Japanese tourist. The cab driver extorted $2500 from the hapless visitor and threatened to strand him in Harlem, if he wouldn’t cough up another $500.

Things have improved at JFK, however the age-old practice of soaking the ignorant voyager has a global reach.

Back in 2009 I deplaned in Moscow’s Terminal 2. My connecting flight to St. Petersburg was in Terminal 1. No signs suggested how to reach that destination, although a taxi tout was willing to drive me the 5 kilometers for $60.

“Sorry. I don’t have to be there that bad.”

“Special deal. $40.” He showed a price card. $60 for Terminal 1

“Why so cheap?” I figured that rate was from Moscow.

“Because I liked George Bush.”

“Fuck George Bush.”

He wasn’t my president and I walked away from the taxi tout.

An old bababuska cleaning lady was heading home. I followed her outside and we boarded the free transit bus. Free, which got me to the other terminal in plenty of time. I even was able to drink a beer.

$5 for a large stein of Stella.

It was a good place to drink beer.

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