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Chicago airport - Was I in danger?

  1. Oct 31, 2005 #1

    DaveC426913

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    Looking for input on an experience I had last year. I am particularly interested in opinions of those who
    a] travel a lot
    b] live in large American cities
    c] live in Chicago

    The ultimate question: was I in danger?


    I went on a business trip to Chicago. Got out of the airport terminal to the taxi stand. I was wearing a business suit, had a couple of pieces of luggage and a laptop. I stopped and looked around, clearly out of sorts.

    A man approached from behind me where he'd been leaning against the wall, and asked if I was looking for a taxi. When I nodded, he led me across the lanes of traffic at the arrivals level and headed into the parking garage. I kept looking around at all the taxis parked right there in the lane, but he kept motioning me to come to his car, which he said was parked in the parking garage.

    When I hesitated, he pulled out a business card and assured me he was a cab driver. I finally balked and went back for a cab of my choosing.

    There was nothing overtly suspicious about this situation, except for the fact that
    - I was well-dressed and obviously carrying expensive equipment
    - I was directionless
    - he approached me
    - despite the big sign on the wall behind me which said DO NOT ACCEPT RIDES FROM SOLICITORS


    So. Was I in danger of being mugged - or worse?
     
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  3. Oct 31, 2005 #2

    ZapperZ

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    I'd say all of the above. Taxis are allowed to pick up passengers at O'Hare only at designated places... AND... they are carefully controlled by somebody who dispatch you to the respective vehicles.

    Zz.
     
  4. Oct 31, 2005 #3

    Astronuc

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    It's hard to say if you were in danger or not. He may have been an unlicensed driver, or perhaps he was a livery driver trying to make some bucks off the record.

    I was just in Chicago's O'Hare (ORD) Airport last Thursday, and one of the announcements mentioned that it is "illegal for transportation personnel to solicit rides". Perhaps this is related to your situation.

    I would usually not accept a ride from an unlicensed individual, or at least one without proper credentials. If the driver is already breaking the law, then one would be less assured of one's safety.
     
  5. Oct 31, 2005 #4

    DaveC426913

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    Yes, we were in the designated area. I ought to have been caught by the dispatcher, but somehow missed him (I became aware of this on the trip home).

    Yes, that was what the sign said "illegal for transportation personnel to solicit rides"

    As far as unlicensed, well see, that's the thing. You see a guy driving a cab, you can pretty much assume he's a cab driver. This guy was on foot. I'd assumed he was just bringing me to his cab, you know, "over there", but after 50 yards, and a dark entranceway into the garage, I began to wonder.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2005
  6. Oct 31, 2005 #5

    EnumaElish

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    It is not extraordinary to come across limo drivers looking for passengers during their downtime. Since in many airports this is not an encouraged practice, they may feel they have to be discreet so as not to catch attention or raise a complaint.

    That being said, there is no way that anyone can assure you that you were or were not in danger, I think.
     
  7. Nov 1, 2005 #6
    If your spider senses were tingling, you were right to follow them. I've been to a lot of airports too, and have never been asked to follow someone to the parking garage. Though I have been asked to "wait here", while they fetched there cab.
     
  8. Nov 1, 2005 #7

    ZapperZ

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    In Chicago, that's unlawful, and if caught, that driver and the services he/she works for will be in deep doo doo.

    Both limo and taxis have designated areas for pickups, and limos can only pick up pre-arranged rides. Both limo drivers and cab drivers are strictly prohibited from soliciting rides. I am almost certain this is true at most major airports. In fact, in Orlando, the Disney Magical Express customer greeters got into trouble for directing Disney resort customers who did not make pre-arrangements for the DME services (but now are requesting it) to the Miers/DME counter.

    Zz.
     
  9. Nov 1, 2005 #8

    Moonbear

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    That's been true at every major airport I've been to...and actually, even some dinky, minor ones. Cab drivers need a permit to pick up at airports (they can pick you up without one if you call them for a pick-up, just like a limo can, but can't solicit business there).

    It's hard to know if you were in any physical danger, or if you were just going to get charged a ridiculous fare (the drivers with permits to pick up at the airports often agree to fixed airport fares, so any cab you take will charge the same amount from the airport to downtown, and if they try to overcharge, you can complain to the dispatcher).
     
  10. Nov 1, 2005 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    There is the minor point that you are always in danger when in Chicago. :biggrin:
     
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