Going Home from the Plane (CUV)

As promised, starting from the beginning of 2011 I’m posting here the new YT uploads as they happen over there, as well as carrying on doing the ones that are 4 years old in chronological order. This is one of the newly uploaded ones, although I actually did it in the summer. I still have a similar routine, with the slight difference that I plane to fly out and back once every two weeks this year, rather than every week as it has been for the last year and a half.

By the way the currently uploaded (on or after 1/1/11) video will have the abbreviation (CUV) on and so you will be able to tell which which video posts are the ones uploaded now from the ones which I did 4 years or so ago. Another aim of mine is to try and keep within 5 years if I can. That may well be over ambitious on my part. By the time I get the last of those 2010 uploads up in chronological order they may well be seven years old. At this rate it could seriously take seven years to get this all the way I want it!  But then … wot larks! I just hope YT is still around in 2017 in order to get there. And all of us, including me with my flabby health risks, for that matter.

Anyway, back to the case in hand. Here you see the annoying issue that still plagues Warsaw airport, the way unlicensed taxi drivers try to engage the unwary foreigners coming out of the terminal. They ought to know me by now, but they are too pig-headed to remember anyone. Maybe this will help them.

The powers that be in Warsaw have made a total pigs ear of taxi services to the airport. For several months last year unlicensed taxis, so-called “przewoz osob” were allowed to take their passengers right up the the departures terminal, whereas the licensed taxis had to drop off further away. That can only have been the result of bribery as the Russians and the Poles have a saying, if you can’t understand something, the answer is always ‘money’. There could have been no other reason as Warsaw is the only airport I have been too, even in the Third World, where licensed taxis were given anti-priviledges. In due course they changed it back again and removed the incriminating signs, but we all remember it, and everyone understands what is going on. I have a chat about these things with the driver of my licensed taxi going back, and we pretty much concur that politicians rarely keep any of their promises, all that most of them, with few exceptions,  ever do is make the promises that will get their snouts to the trough, and then forget about whatever they promised us as they munch away at our taxes.

Warsaw is a particular case in point. Just to prove that not all politicians are evil, I actually do respect Ryszard Grobelny, the President of Poznan. He lived in 80 Bulgarska street two floors below me and Elena ten years ago, when Elena had little Sophie and when she was pregnant. Many times Mr and Mrs Grobelny would spot Elena returning from the shops and they would rush out and help, carrying the shopping and the pushchairs right up to the top, even though they could clearly hear that we were foreigners and could not even have had a vote. And sure enough, Poznan is a well-governed place, which goes to show that it’s not impossible to run a city well in Poland. And Grobelny is not only a talented administrator but a complete gentleman also. I would say good things about Wroclaw, you know, with one or two reservations, and when I see how Katowice is coming on these days in leaps and bounds I imagine they must be not short of talent either. It’s just a pity there are no ticket offices at the train station in the evening or any kind of services there such as car hire or anything, or any signposts. But they seem to be doing something there, and I would expect that in a couple of years it’ll all be sorted.

But poor old Warsaw, having to contend with Hanna Gronkiewicz-Walec, what a shame it is that here they cannot even manage after so many years to clear the mafia out of the airport. It is so shameful that so many visitors to Poland will find that the first Pole they encounter will have been an unlicensed driver who will fleece them for three or four times the correct rate for their journey.

I will say that if you know what you are doing, the taxi pool by the airport can be a reasonable source of people actually willing to roll their sleeves up and work all day for you lugging and shifting at an agreed rate. I had that once. If you agree with them up front, speak Polisha nd are too big to push around, you can get a deal out of them. But for the foreigners coming through, they will simply not know what is going on and be fleeced.

So what do you do if you arrive at Warsaw and need transport to the centre?

Well, in the future there will be a train station, but as long as the current Mayor is in power that will take a painfully long time to happen. The bus to the centre is 175, and is the cheapest way. You’ll see the bus stops in the third lane away from the terminal, it’s not far, and it’s not complex. The driver may not have tickets, though. Personally, I buy three month tickets for the whole transport system.

If you want a taxi, you can call yourself one on Ele, which I use, which is +48 22 8111111, and the ladies will speak English. It has a very good service. From yesterday they were also supposed to be allowed to be doing pickups from the official taxi ranks at the airports, since they won the tender to cater for the airport, although why there needed to be one since all the licensed corporations have their licenses from the city and ought to be allowed to work in any public place in the city, is beyond me – no doubt money again.

If you haven’t booked a taxi, then just go to the first land as you come out of departures and get into any of the licensed taxis queuing there. Exceptionally it might be people queuing for the taxis, but that’s not so common at Warsaw airport. Any real taxi with a meter that actally got into that first lane is trustworthy, but the guys who encounter you in the hall will take you off to the carpark, whereby wasting your time as well as your money.

Even the Czechs, who have a rep for corruption worse than that of the Poles, have got this right. You won’t find these bods in the hall at Prague airport. You may see the odd wide boy circling around outside who needs to be told a few phrases in choice Bohemian, but it wouldn’t be tolerated in the hall. Also the warnings against the pirate drivers are clear in Prague – in Warsaw they are unobtrusive and easily overlooked.

If I were mayor of Warsaw, that’d be sorted out on the first day. The fill-my-pockets assholes at the airport would know the first day that they couldn’t mess with me.

Why won’t you do that, Mrs Gronkiewicz Walec? Why do you attack simple honest traders with their little shops and favour the big international corporations coming in with their shops? Why did you send out the police against simple trading people in the space around Stalin’s building? Do you not think if we didn’t want them, we simply wouldn’t be buying from them? Leave us alone to live our lives and just get rid of the remaining mafias and stop helping them and pandering to them, and we will be happy.

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