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5739 posts

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# 22000 13-May-2008 11:43
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Hi there,

I seem to have had a bad run with Wellington Combined taxis.  I'm posting here to see if anyone else in the community has shared in my frustration with the company and it's drivers, or whether I seem to be the exception to the rule and the majority of people have good things to say. 

A little background. I live in the city end of Karori (before the cemetary) and work in the CBD.  I am on-call every 2nd week and as such I often get called in to work.  A few times in recent months I've been called at around 7:15am.  So, I call Wellington Combined for a cab so I can get to work quickly and resolve the problems.

On no less than 5 occasions in the last 2-3 months I've had to wait for over 50 minutes for a cab to arrive and pick me up.  It takes me 35 minutes to walk to work from my house so I seriously could have got there quicker by walking.  But, you call a cab because you expect to get prompt service and in calling the cab i expected to wait maybe 15 minutes tops, which would get me to work within 25 mins from calling.  No such luck. 

I complained a few weeks ago by sending an email to the manager.  He referred it on to someone else who made contact with me.  The basis of my complaint was that there seemed to be a trend occuring, and that Karori - or the western suburbs in general - was not adequately covered in the mornings, meaning I and many other people (most likely) are waiting too long for a cab.  My complaint was dealt with in the usual way, and I received $20 in vouchers from them in the mail.  I left well enough alone and decided to accept their vouchers and move on.

However, it keeps happening.  I keep getting calls from work, and I keep being made to wait for over 35-45 minutes for a taxi to pick me up.  This is between 7am and 8am.  I could understand that there is a huge rush between around 8am-9am, but the roads are largely empty in my area until around 745am.  Something interesting that I have tried recently is to call up for a cab, and "book" one for half an hour from the time I call....so if i call at 7:30am I book it for an 8am pickup.  For each of the 5 times I've done that the cab has arrived on time?!  How can they get to me on time if I book them, but they can't get to me on time if I just call and request one immediately.

Anyway.  That's my story - if anyone is interested I will post the most recent email I sent to the manager which goes into a really bizzare experience I had last week.  I haven't received a reply to that email which is a worry. 

What do you guys think?  Am I over-reactiing?  Have you had similar experiences?  Or can you not speak highly enough about Wellington Combined Taxis?

G.

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  # 130523 13-May-2008 12:08
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freitasm: Remote access?


Agreed.  I also perform on-call functions and have remote access.  However that may not be an option.  From what I have heard wellington Combioned have a policy that they will respond within 10 minutes.  I live in Johnsonville and cant say I have had the problem (well maybe once).  The only cab compnies I use are either Corparate Cabs or Combined as these are generally the fastest the nicest and the drivers know where to go and which is the quickest route.

 
 
 
 


BDFL - Memuneh
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# 130524 13-May-2008 12:10
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I use Combined Taxis a few times a month, but mainly scheduled rides to the airport - those 4am check in for international flights to Australia or 7am check in. Also in Johsonville and in general they show up 5 minutes earlier than requested.




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  # 130526 13-May-2008 12:23
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Having lived at the city end of Karori and now down at Karori park, I dont seem to sturggle to get cabs however I've had the odd ocasion when ordering a cab from work to home takes some time with wcc. I try and order to a specfic time now as then I have a target for the cabs to arrive / get out front rather than run around for 5 minutes and wait for 20...



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  # 130527 13-May-2008 12:25
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freitasm: Remote access?


Well duh :)
Remote access is fine for the gear I use that isn't from 1994.  But since most of the company runs on gear from that vintage remote access isn't possble.  And before you say "VMware?" we're upgrading the whole place this year so migrating to virtual machines isn't viable. 

Clearly I don't come in to work on my own time without it being completely necessary.  Back to the point though, 50 minutes to wait on a regular basis is pretty crazy don't you think??

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# 130529 13-May-2008 12:35
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I've found quality of service has gone down with Combined over the past few years.  I reckon Corporate or the Green Taxis ftw.




Post-geek, opinionated mediaphile, and natural born cynic. Jack of all genres, master of none.



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  # 130534 13-May-2008 12:43
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I probably should use corporate cabs since my brother-in-law works for them, but - they mainly operate on bookings, not cold-calling.  so i'm not sure if there would be any advantage for me to use them when i don't know if i'll need a cab.

 
 
 
 


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  # 130545 13-May-2008 13:10
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Buy a car, bike, segway, electric wheel chair, roller skates, or all of the above.  Seriously, if you're only 35 minutes walk away, and are willing to walk it, then you are only what, 10 minutes by bike, save your boss taxi fares, save yourself loss of hair, and even if the taxi did arrive on time you'd probably still beat it anyway.




---
James Sleeman
I sell lots of stuff for electronic enthusiasts...




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  # 130561 13-May-2008 13:39
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sleemanj: Buy a car, bike, segway, electric wheel chair, roller skates, or all of the above.  Seriously, if you're only 35 minutes walk away, and are willing to walk it, then you are only what, 10 minutes by bike, save your boss taxi fares, save yourself loss of hair, and even if the taxi did arrive on time you'd probably still beat it anyway.


Ok, so I take my car which costs me gas, but also costs me parking for the whole day, then costs me my time in traffic on the way home.  Not likely.  I use a cab because I need to get to work promptly in an emergency.  But also because it's the least disruptive method to my lifestyle.  Not to mention that my partner needs the car during the days.  Sleemanj hasn't really posted a constructive comment and definitely nothing relating to the OP i'm afraid.

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  # 130571 13-May-2008 14:17
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The Taxi solution is a problem. From a taxi industry POV Karori is a satellite suburb that gerates little business when compared to the SH1/2-CBD-Airport area where most taxi work is focussed. A taxi driver dropping off pax in Karori early in a normal business day will most likely go back to the CBD in search of work rather than wait in Karori. There are a number of other similar locations around 'south' Wellington. My bet is that in despatching a taxi to you Combined could find few drivers willing to drive to Karori for a pickup to the city. Unfortunately Combined, as the biggest taxi company by far, is the most likely to respond quickest.

The remote solution is not disqualified by aged equipment. You can do almost anything remotely including power-cycling any box that will respond to a keyboard. In the early 90s, using 386-based home and office machines running Windows 3.11, I could dial in from home to a gateway box and take over my work PC from home using PCanywhere. My PC at home had no work software except PCanywhere installed. So its possible, though not very elegant by today's standards but also very inexpensive.

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  # 130574 13-May-2008 14:42
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Wellington Combined is the only company I use. And there service to date has been amazing.

I live in Johnsonville too. The only problem I have is that there is never enough of them on a Friday or Saturday night, and I normally have to wait a while in town trying to avoid the other companies :D

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  # 130754 14-May-2008 06:07
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Get a bike?



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  # 130756 14-May-2008 06:36
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OldGeek:
The remote solution is not disqualified by aged equipment. You can do almost anything remotely including power-cycling any box that will respond to a keyboard. In the early 90s, using 386-based home and office machines running Windows 3.11, I could dial in from home to a gateway box and take over my work PC from home using PCanywhere. My PC at home had no work software except PCanywhere installed. So its possible, though not very elegant by today's standards but also very inexpensive.


Thanks for the reply.  The remote solution is not available for my system.  It is a Tandem Himalaya K1000.  The only remote access available is via 2400bps modem which cannot be dialed into, it must be dialed out by using the phone that sits on top of the modem, and then pressing the data/voice button when it connects.  It's a dinosaur, but a proprietary dinosaur at that which compounds issues.  Take this morning for instance, I'm at work at 6am because the server has faulted.  Since I cant remote in from home I had to come to work to dial out on the modem for support from our suppliers in america. Its a nightmare.  I drove in this morning incidentally as I'm not even supposed to be working today :)



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# 130757 14-May-2008 06:36
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hellonearthisman: Get a bike?


helpful.

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# 130762 14-May-2008 06:53
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hellonearthisman: Get a bike?


There are probably more desirable methods of transport on a cold Wellington winter day from Karori than biking or walking!

I've been in Kelburn for the past few years and haven't had any troubles with Combined, but I usually only use them if I'm too lazy to walk home after a night out. We also used them extensively at my old work, which was also in Kelburn, to ferry staff and clients around and never had troubles.

I'm not sure how much the argument applies about Karori being a satelite area - there are plenty of people there and I dont think it is justified to make people wait almost an hour, especially when they are heading into town. I can imagine it might take slightly longerfor a cab to drive up there, but this would be max 10 - 15 mins at 7am, not 50, and I doubt that cabs would be so busy at that time that there are no cabs available. I would say its just greedy and/or lazy cabbies not wanting to bother with the lower margin jobs (lower margin due to the gas used getting there).

You could try green taxis, they seem to be wanting to prove themselves as a service oriented company, and their dashboards are much more interesting than others. On top of that they're more environmentally friendly compared to a lot of the gas guzzlers you see from Combined, and in my experience their drivers will give you a detailed discussion about the company and their mission.

Otherwise yes there are many methods of remote access for older systems. From PC anywhere, VNC, Timbuktu, RDP/TS and LogMeIn, right up to IP-KVMs. Of course sometimes being there is everything. Perhaps your boss would be willing to pay for parking and gas for callouts instead of Cabs in emergencies?

IP-KVMs, IP-RS232 consoles and Managed Power strips are great for total remote control ability - you should only have to enter the data centre to install or remove hardware. Expensive though. You can always give the 'Tools for the job' speel a go!

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