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  1. #1
    ErikM
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    Default Alternative to Taxis in Las Terrenas?

    Anyone familiar with Las Terrenas knows that the taxi fares (in contrast to the motos/conchos), are extortionate. The official cab services seem to be an organized racket, and you can expect to pay 2-4 times as much for using a DR taxi service as you would in major US cities.

    Can anyone tell me if there are good alternatives to the taxis that someone who is not too good with the Spanish language, and who is carrying lots of heavy luggage (thus excluding motos and such), can utilize to get from Las Terrenas to distant locations (i.e. Samana airport)? Thank you.

  2. #2
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    You could use a carro publico and pay for all seat and negotiate with the driver, or know someone who has a jeepeta and negotiate with them. So Spanish is key.

    At the end of the day,I bitch about fares too in LT but they need to make a living, so most of the time I end up using them (at least from SDQ), because I rather go with the taxi driver that does that for a living for the past 15 years and made it alive.

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    Keep in mind many of the drivers don't live in Las Terrenas, but in neighboring towns like Samana.

    Their options to get to and from work are either taking a 40 mile roundabout, or paying upwards of 15USD each way through the new toll. That, and the fact gas is 6 bux a gallon, adds to the cost.

  4. #4
    ErikM
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    Thanks, Africaida. My Spanish is basic to the point that I'd have issues dealing with public transport, and I don't know anyone in the area who would be available to drive. Once, I tried to negotiate with a tour bus driver to take me from Samana to LT, and they said that they would like to, but they're forbidden by the transportation commission (or whatever organization is in charge of these things). I'm trying to learn the language, but that won't help me in the near-term, I suppose.

    The Taxi drivers need to make a living, but when the local livery group have arranged $70-120 fares to/from the airport, depending on your location, and consolidated/monopolized the right to offer livery services, it can only be described as a racket. I get the feeling that more people would make a better living if they just had a variety of services competing for customers on the basis of cost, convenience, quality of services, etc. There's no market reason why a taxi from Samana to LT is literally 2-4 as costly as the equivalent ride in the US.

  5. #5
    ErikM
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    DRob - aren't they usually skipping the new toll? The toll thing leads to a paradox - $70 for a ride from the airport using a route which bypasses the tolls, or $85 using the tolls route, which is shorter and quicker. So the taxi service's gasoline considerations aren't determining the costs here.

    I understand that the drivers can live far away, but they don't seem to be using their own cars for work (they sometimes switch driver mid-route) - I'm guessing that they more typically use motorcycles to drive to and from work, which means less gasoline expenditure.

    But whatever the economics of the situation are, it's clear enough that the prices are centrally determined, and the transportation companies work in anti-competitive fashion. It's not the market that's determining the prices, and it may not be the drivers who retaining most of the money earned. So basically, somebody profits, while the tourists, residents, and probably drivers suffer from the situation.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ErikM View Post
    Thanks, Africaida. My Spanish is basic to the point that I'd have issues dealing with public transport, and I don't know anyone in the area who would be available to drive. Once, I tried to negotiate with a tour bus driver to take me from Samana to LT, and they said that they would like to, but they're forbidden by the transportation commission (or whatever organization is in charge of these things). I'm trying to learn the language, but that won't help me in the near-term, I suppose.

    The Taxi drivers need to make a living, but when the local livery group have arranged $70-120 fares to/from the airport, depending on your location, and consolidated/monopolized the right to offer livery services, it can only be described as a racket. I get the feeling that more people would make a better living if they just had a variety of services competing for customers on the basis of cost, convenience, quality of services, etc. There's no market reason why a taxi from Samana to LT is literally 2-4 as costly as the equivalent ride in the US.
    The drivers are part of the union, that is why the price is pretty much fixed. I am friend with the son of an owner of several taxi turisticos, they are not rich by any means but are comfortable financially. Both drivers I know live in LT (barrios not by the beach) by the way. They can make "decent" money by Dominican standard (around 10 K pesos in a month) BUT that's only a couple months a year. no clients, no money and Las Terrenas is not exactly Punta Cana and the tourist season is short.

    Taxis are one the very few businesses in LT that are owned by Dominicans and deal with tourists. I have always had good drivers. On time, curteous, doing their job well. So. yeah, it may be overpriced, but plenty of restaurants owned by gringos in LT charge NYC prices.

    Just to give you a perspective and trust me, they call me tacaņa.
    Last edited by Africaida; 07-18-2014 at 04:49 PM.

  7. #7
    ErikM
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    Thanks for the perspective, Africaida. Out of curiousity, have the prices always been arranged this way, or is this a more recent development? A lot of tourist-friendly countries in the region have a far more open market for taxi services, and people seem to do fine. I don't know the economics of LT, but I'm sure that many tourists and residents actively avoid the cabs but would use them more if they were more reasonably priced.

    Quote Originally Posted by Africaida View Post
    plenty of restaurants owned by gringos in LT charge NYC prices.
    Yep, there are some that approach NY diner or pub prices. I try to avoid 'em, opting for the local fare at local prices instead. But I haven't seen a local restaurant charging 2-4 times NY prices for the same food. Also, nobody forces anyone to go to a restaurant, whereas one may be forced to use the cabs, which is probably part of what makes these price levels possible. After reading the posts by you and DRob, I'm more sympathetic to the drivers, but it would be great if there were some comparable alternatives. Time to bring in Uber, perhaps?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ErikM View Post
    Thanks for the perspective, Africaida. Out of curiousity, have the prices always been arranged this way, or is this a more recent development? A lot of tourist-friendly countries in the region have a far more open market for taxi services, and people seem to do fine. I don't know the economics of LT, but I'm sure that many tourists and residents actively avoid the cabs but would use them more if they were more reasonably priced.



    Yep, there are some that approach NY diner or pub prices. I try to avoid 'em, opting for the local fare at local prices instead. But I haven't seen a local restaurant charging 2-4 times NY prices for the same food. Also, nobody forces anyone to go to a restaurant, whereas one may be forced to use the cabs, which is probably part of what makes these price levels possible. After reading the posts by you and DRob, I'm more sympathetic to the drivers, but it would be great if there were some comparable alternatives. Time to bring in Uber, perhaps?
    You can take the bus that leaves from LT, Las Terrenas Transport and have them drop you off in front of the entrance to El Catey Airport. Its only about 1/2 mile walk to the terminal. That would probably cost you about $5usd. Yes cabs are expensive and $70 one way from El Catey to LT is a bit out of line until you figure gas at $6 a gallon. The toll at $12 the cost of maintaining the vehicle, insurance and driver's salary. You can't compare this to the US where most cabs have many fares during the day. These cabs only have a few. What you need to do is find a local guy in LT willing to pick you up for less.

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