Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Taxi fracas in Milan

—By Sahely Mukerji, Managing editor, Glass Magazine/AutoGlass

Milano, the fashion capital of the world; home of the "Last Supper" and beautiful people who don’t speak much English; a city of charming old buildings and cobble-stone roads; and a metropolis with few taxis.

What’s with the cabs in Milan?

I had to wait about 20 minutes to find a cabbie at the airport; my colleague, Denise Sheehan, reported that she had to wait for two hours yesterday in front of Fiera Milano to find a taxi, and finally shared one with two perfect strangers. This afternoon, Denise and I had to fight off someone who was trying to steal our cab without standing in the line!

Rho Pero, the site of the new Fiera Milano pictured to the right, is outside of the city and some say that’s why the dearth of cabs there. The driver of our taxi, however, had a different story to tell. Apparently, the government of Milan doesn’t allow the cabbies to work for more than 10 hours a day, except for a few special days. Those special days come without any apparent rhyme or reason, and cabbies are permitted to work more to make a few extra euros, but only between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. “There is a demand, there are customers waiting at street corners, and not just between 5 and 8, but … ” With Vitrum opening today, the cabbies will be allowed to work more than 10 hours until the end of the show.

I’m hoping to find a ride tomorrow without scrapping with anyone.

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