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What Will a Glasgow Cabbie Do If I Ask Him/Her to Do This?

Hi all --

in a few weeks I'm headed to Scotland with my family. My parents are coming first to Paris, and then we are taking the Eurostar to London and transferring to Euston for the train on to Glasgow (yes I know it's not efficient but that's what my dad wants to do, and since the main point is to spend time together, it's fine with me).

The issue is my parents are elderly and don't get around too well. And when we arrive in Glasgow Central Station at 7:00 on Saturday night, we need to get to our hotel, the Premier Inn across from Buchanan Galleries. This is a matter of just a few blocks! If I were on my own, I would walk it. I've been trying for weeks to figure out the bus situation downtown, but figure that may be more trouble than it's worth with 3 of us on Saturday night after a long day on the train.

What happens if I ask a cabbie to take us from the train station to our hotel? Will they be really peeved, or will they see I've got two older people with me and maybe just shake his head but at least take us on? (Of course this is a ridiculous question, because it all depends on the personality of the particular cabbie who's next in line when we arrive, and on top of that, what kind of day he/she has had!!!)

I asked the cabbie who took me to St Pancras last the same question with regard to if we need to get a cab from St Pancras to Euston. He suggested that if I asked sweetly, smiled and said there was an extra fiver in it for them if they would take us that short distance, that perhaps the person wouldn't mind so much. But then he seemed to be a very good-natured fellow himself.

Thoughts? Advice?

Posted by
15620 posts

My reaction is the same as the cabbie you asked. I'm not sure you'd have to offer a large tip, but I always tip big when I take a short ride at stations where the cabs have to wait in line for fares.

Posted by
2393 posts

I would ask nicely and tip him generously at the end - if balks then try the fiver up front! But I would hope any professional cabbie would see that you were there with older parents & luggage and just do it

Posted by
2393 posts

A fare is a fare. Why tip heavily?

Because many cabbies will not take a short fare - they see it as a waste of time and makes them miss a longer fare.

Posted by
33004 posts

I'm sure that you will be fine, Kim. Happy parent traveling...

Posted by
1222 posts

No apologies necessary Emma! Though the comment did make me smile. My husband has Scots ancestry. Maybe your 6 times great grandfather, but not you.

Posted by
9732 posts

Emma, maybe I'm part British because I'm a preternatural apologiser myself!!!

Unclegus thanks for the tip but I don't think I'm brave enough to ask him directly.

Ok I think I'll give it a go, then. Will let everyone know how it goes afterwards. I'm hoping that Glasgow Central isn't a station where the cabdrivers have had to line up for hours before picking up a fare!

Posted by
32231 posts

Kim,

I doubt the Taxi driver will have a problem with that. Just explain that your older companions will have difficulty walking even a few blocks, especially with luggage. Either he will take the short trip or he may refer you to one of his colleagues. In any case, I don't think it's a big deal. Of course, a reasonable tip would be nice, even if it's not expected.

Posted by
8 posts

Kim, I hope you find the Glaswegians to be as friendly and congenial as we did when we visited two years ago. I've traveled a fair bit and never have I encountered a more universally helpful and good-natured group as I did in this city. Every pub had very chatty patrons, the train station attendant helped us buy tickets from a kiosk (without us asking) and let my husband use the employee washroom. If we pulled out a map on the street corner, within 30 seconds, someone would ask if they could help. I suspect you won't have any difficulty getting a cabbie to take you without hesitation. I fell in love with Glasgow and hope to return soon - hope you have the same experience!

Posted by
3521 posts

When I was in Edinburgh arriving by train, I took a taxi to my hotel. Turns out it was only 3 - 4 blocks and would have been an easy walk even though it was mostly up a slight hill. No complaint from the taxi driver. and he was (or appeared) happy with the £2 tip I gave him.

In fact, I have never had a taxi driver anywhere in Europe complain about any fare for any distance. They seem to be very happy to drive you. (Now I don't often take taxis in Europe so there might be drivers who might complain about a short run, but none I have run into so far.)

On the other hand, I have had several taxi drivers in the US complain about it not being worth their time to drive me from the airport to where I needed to go when it was nearby.

Posted by
977 posts

I'm sure you will be fine. Found the Scots to be very accommodating. The only trouble I have ever had with drivers refusing to take us because of short distance was in France. Twice in Paris and once in Toulouse.

Posted by
2205 posts

The nicest people/ cab drivers ever are in Glasgow.

Posted by
5837 posts

A fare is a fare. Why tip heavily?

Cab drivers often have to queue at airports and train stations in hopes of getting a long enough fare to make waiting and using fuel to move up a vehicle at a time. The flag drop fee doesn't compensate for a short fare under those circumstances. I doubt if cab drivers get rich doing their job. A generous tip may not be legally required, but in my book it would be the right thing to do.

Posted by
9732 posts

Thanks all, for the advice, anecdotes, and thoughts!

Posted by
9732 posts

Coming back to close the loop now that we're back from our trip . . . the request didn't appear to faze the cabbie a bit. In fact he looked at me a little askance when I offered him a little extra tip for his trouble - a look that said, "but lady, I took you where you needed to go, and there's no need to worry!"

However, the London cabbie who had to take us from St Pancras to Euston was not too pleased, but did it anyway.

Anyway, we survived both requests!

And loooooved Glasgow, I will definitely be back!

and p.s. while we had a little issue making our train at Euston (it was a bit more difficult than I had anticipated), my dad was in heaven for his ride from Euston up to Glasgow. At one point, looking out the window, he said quietly, "It's like a storybook land."

That, my friends, is why sometimes you take a seven-hour train ride instead of a two-hour flight!!

Posted by
33004 posts

I'm sorry that Euston was difficult.

Was it trouble with staff or the station?

Posted by
2393 posts

my dad was in heaven for his ride from Euston up to Glasgow. At one point, looking out the window, he said quietly, "It's like a storybook land."
That, my friends, is why sometimes you take a seven-hour train ride instead of a two-hour flight!!

Sometimes it is all about the journey! Glad he enjoyed it!

Posted by
9732 posts

Nigel -- The difficulty was all ours -- my mother is not able to walk all that well or that fast, and although we were at the station well in time and waited quite a while for the platform to be shown, we were in Coach B (I think -- whatever it was, it was the penultimate car), and with the rush of people and length of the train to be walked, my mom simply had difficulty making it that distance in that length of time, and we almost didn't make it on board, which was a bit anxiety-inducing to say the least.

Motorgirl kindly pointed out on another thread the link for requesting assistance at Euston, and Emma indicated that she often goes to the office and asks for a heads-up on which platform will be used, so as to get a bit of a head start. And of course we could have boarded the train and walked through the corridors in order to be on board.

So, nobody's "fault" but my own for not better anticipating and utilizing the resources that were available. As I said, we did make it, but it was a bit unnerving as we were struggling to make it to that car!!

Posted by
33004 posts

If you noticed the photo carefully, he wasn't even sitting on the floor during his stunt. He was sitting on what looked like a couple of briefcases or their modern equivalent the man bag. Surely not lowering himself to the actual floor - like proper commuters do. Some tweets have shown what actual crowding looks like.

Back to Virgin turnarounds and advertising trains on the big board. Virgin don't like to advertise the platform before both the train is actually in and the on board cleaners have completed their work and the train doors are released and the train is ready for boarding. I understand this because it is very difficult to quickly clean and litter pick a train with people boarding. London Midland on the other hand will advertise a train as soon as it is in if there is nothing blocking its way off the platform, like a train leaving before it from further down the platform. The problem of advertising the train early is that often the train crew have not yet arrived at the train so the doors are still locked and passengers have to just wait on the platform.

I understand, Kim and Emma, the difficulties of making your way with luggage and/or infirm and/or elderly, especially 9 or 10 coaches to the front of the train.

I guess there isn't an easy answer.

The staff with the blue beeping buggies will be happy to take people with needs to door of the train, but they really should be booked 24 hours in advance. All other train companies in the UK have similar assistance schemes.

Posted by
9732 posts

It's actually quite interesting to learn all of this that is involved.

It's funny, because even if I had thought about such services existing, I don't know that I would have thought we would have needed one. Now for the future I know both about the options for help and that we do need that help.

And yes I saw a tweeted photo comparison today of Sadiq Khan and Corbyn in different positions on their respective trains . . . although it's hard to turn my attention away from the photos of the French armed police asking the lady to disrobe on the beach.

Posted by
353 posts

It is interesting how need for assistance is so contextual. You were (rightly) thinking "Of course my mom can walk to our destination, given sufficient time," but you couldn't have anticipated in advance that there wouldn't be enough time, because of your unfamiliarity with the Euston environment.

I was especially attuned to this when I was still traveling with my mom. She had good days and bad days and in general could always get where she wanted to be if she had enough time, and many days wouldn't even have thought to ask for help. Knowing this about my mom I try very hard to never crowd a slow moving person getting on or off transportation - I do not want them to feel pressured to hurry.

These days I am also on the lookout for what services might be available when I start getting less spry. i try to remind myself that those who need help or more time are not disabled - we are the rest of us just temporarily abled.