Many are quick to judge the services of the unofficial taxis. Some doubt if the driver charges the right amount or asks for more and many may say that the driver's attitude is not of the best. But how is it for the foreigners or tourists to be served by those unofficial ones?
We have to be hospitable to anyone who came to visit our country and stopped by at our capital city, whether the person stays in a five star hotel or dwells in a guest house. This will be turning point to attracting more visitors for the next years.
Ulaanbaatar city envisioned its development through 2030 and by then the city aims to become the tourist and business hub in north-east Asia. But with this big vision how is the city's taxi service on tourists, foreigners or expats living and working here in UB?
Is it favourable, safe and honest enough for those who would catch a taxi on a street and get where the person was heading regardless of being local or foreign? In order to answer these questions we have conducted test on this matter.
Tudor Illiescu, expat from Romania working in UB for a short time, volunteered with our test and helped us to be tourist or expat trying to get help from taxi to get to the destination.
He went on to catch a taxi from Chinggis Khaan Hotel to Tom&Tom's Coffee Shop located in Zaisan at Zaisan Square Building. Before getting into the taxi Tudor asked on fare fee per kilometer. Taxi driver of age 40 nicely answered him it is to be MNT 800 per kilometer.
The driver proceeded to the Peace Avenue and turned left at the crossing near Ministry of Foreign Affairs, going on further all the way to the Traffic Police Authority and further went on Olympic Street to the final final where we agreed to meet at the Zaisan Tom&Tom's. The driver charged Tudor MNT 5,500 for the total ride of 7 km. We were following the taxi for the whole time.
Odometer on our car also showed the distance of 7 km from Chinggis Khaan Hotel to the Tom&Tom's Coffee shop located in Zaisan Square. This time the taxi driver was a nice middle-aged man with good attitude. He was frienly and even talked to Tudor and even taught him few Mongolian words.
Tudor also was satisfied with the service of the taxi and told us that the driver started the odometer and charged accordinly with the distance.
Here at Zaisan we decided to do another test back to Chinggis Khaan Hotel. We sent Tudor to catch another taxi to go back from where we started the whole experiment. The taxi confirmed the charge per kilometer to be MNT 800 and proceeded all the way to the Marshall Bridge from Zaisan area.
This time the driver detoured a bit, but still Tudor succeeded to get to the destination safely. Tudor also noticed that and sent us sms jokingly saying: "I think we're close to the Chinese border".
The driver went through the Marshall Bridge and made right turn at the intersection at the Traffic Police Autority (We are not exagerating, the driver made right turn.), headed to east passing Naitonal Park went on pass Narantuul Market intersection. Then made left turn to Sansar Tunnel and finally we got to the Chinggis Khaan Hotel. This was one long ride. Tudor was charged for the ride from Zaisan to Chinggis Khaan Hotel total of MNT 10,000.
Previous driver charged MNT 5,500 while the second driver charged MNT 10,000 while detouring to get to the destination.
This time we did our test two times. One was with nice attitide and charged honestly and the second one make the ride longer and charged twice as much. We have documented the two tests with videos and photos.
There is wrong attitude among the service industry people in Mongolia that if the customer is foreigner he or she has a lot of money. Second driver proved this as well. To think of this situation, tourists or any other person has a budget and tries to spend within the budget. When we are travelling abroad we are also calculating every penny.
In order to improve toursim in Mongolia we have to pay attention to infrastructure, public transportation and services. Taxi is not an exeption in this regard. Therefore, it is not necessary to speak English as people can communicate even using body language. What is more important is to be honest and deliver good service.
This experiment intended to reveal the real life situation foreigners are facing in every day live in the streets of UB city. Therefore, we intentionally chose to test how unofficial taxis are delivering their services. In this scope, we did not use the servces of official taxis, which are considered as safe and licensed to conduct the services.
|GoGo Facebook Page|