When your airport shuttle driver does any of the following, you know he’s a little off: flip-flops on prices, each of the three times that you ask him for a quote. Plugs your address into his GPS navigation system, then asks you how to get to your place. Gets well onto the freeway, only to turn around to pick someone else up from the airport.
The driver I had the other night did all three. With a distinct glaze of ‘couldn’t care less’ in his eye.
What’s a traveler to do? Anarchy.
The two other passengers and I jumped ship. It being 12:30 a.m. and all, our options were few and far between: the local commuter train had already stopped running 30 minutes prior, and wouldn’t start up again for another four hours. A taxi for three people and three stops would be pricey and complicated. Other shuttles either wouldn’t go in our direction, had stopped running, or demanded the private shuttle fare of $80.
Our last resort: rent a car. To go 23 miles. (Yes, it occurred to me too that we might be the crazy ones.)
It’s just as tedious to think about waiting in car rental lines as it was actually waiting in line. So I’ll bypass that. But suffice it to say that after a lot of time and several quotes in the $120-180 range (before taxes), we jumped on the price we got for $78 after taxes (thank you National!). At $26 per person, it was cheaper than the highest price quoted by the shuttle driver: $49. So, we were soon on the road again, and with people that we actually had faith in.
To their credit, the shuttle dispatch called around that time to ask whether I had been picked up. I could’ve–nay, should’ve–chewed the driver out. But here’s the thing: I didn’t know the driver’s name, didn’t want to be charged for missing the shuttle after making the reservation, and plain couldn’t be bothered. So I told them what any crazy person would: “yes, thank you!” I did have a ride, truthfully.
Time lost in the process: 2 hours, 20 minutes. Distance from airport to home: 23 miles. Price per person: $26. Getting home safely before daybreak? Yep, you got it: priceless.