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Prague Taxi Drivers

May 09, 1999

Having read Christopher Reynolds' account of his taxi driver's overcharge ("The Prague Paradox," April 25), I would cite a similar incident last year when driven from the train terminal to our Prague hotel.

Our driver's big mistake was in not parking his taxi directly in front of the hotel, despite my urging him to move closer. He wanted $30 for the fare and was quite uncomfortable when I jumped out of the car, ostensibly to seek the services of a bellhop. At the registration desk, I reported this obvious overcharge to the desk clerk. During a heated exchange between the clerk and driver, she threatened to call the police. He insisted he was going by the meter and then asked for "a compromise."

My warning is to be wary when a taxi driver manages to park a distance from a hotel entrance.

LARRY SMALHEISER

Los Angeles

I was quite disappointed with the author making such a big point about his fiasco with the taxi. I think he stereotyped the whole thing inappropriately.

My experience was totally different in the three days I spent in Prague in March. Not only did I have no problem with the taxis, I found the taxi drivers unusually helpful.

One example: I was looking for a restaurant/club. The driver, who did not know of it, phoned a fellow taxi driver on his cellular; he thought his colleague might know--and he did. When we got to the area, he could not find the exact street, so again he called for directions. I believe the cost of this fairly long trip was about $4.

I found Prague to be an incredibly wonderful and interesting place and only wish I had more time there. I wouldn't hesitate to use the taxis.

FRANK J. TRANKINA

Montclair

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