Taxi! Cards make Airmen smarter on services

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Natasha Stannard
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
 Hailing a cab is no easy task - especially in a foreign country, but the 52nd Fighter Wing has made this task less cumbersome by issuing two cards to all Airmen through their first sergeants.

The "Safe Ride" card is one of the cards and includes local taxi company information such as telephone numbers, prices, estimated fares, locations and tips on how to save money. The other card is the "Ride for Life" card and can be used as a method of deferred payment with Faber Taxi Service.

"The 'Safe Ride' card is for everyone's use," said Maj. David Zimmerman, 52nd Contracting Squadron commander. "Its purpose is to raise awareness of what the local taxi services offer and cost. We have rates on the card so people are aware ahead of time of the costs. The costs are more expensive than what we're used to in the states."

Having the prices listed, which are regulated by the local German government, should leave Airmen with no doubt of what a taxi ride should cost them.

This card can help service members save money because it includes information unique to German taxi services, such as which taxis have standing rights -- a company's rights to park and wait for customers in city limits. It also includes where cabs are located and tips on how to avoid additional fees.

"I've heard of people paying 100 Euros to use a taxi because they made multiple stops along the way," Zimmerman said. "Avoiding those stops is one of the ways to reduce the cost of your taxi fare. For every 18 seconds of wait time, an additional 10 Euro cents is added to the bill."

It also can cost people extra if they call a service posted in a different location than where they are calling from. It's cheaper for people to call a service in the area they need a ride from. The informational card has numbers for several companies in various locations in the Eifel region.

"We hope people will put the taxi service numbers on the card into their cell phones because you never know when you'll need a cab," Zimmerman said.

The "Ride for Life" card can be used to defer payment to Faber Taxi Service and is available for use by all ranks.

"It's an option for Airmen who are out of cash or run out of other avenues to get home safely," said Master Sgt. Sheryl Monroe, 52nd Operations Group first sergeant.

Airmen using this option fill out the card and give it to their Faber taxi driver, who turns it in to the Airman's fist sergeant. The first sergeant will then collect the taxi fare annotated on the card from the Airman at a later date - usually after the Airman's next pay day.

"While this card isn't the only option for Airmen, it's preferred they use it rather than nothing at all. Having this card available leaves no room for common excuses, like not wanting to call a supervisor or use Airmen Against Drunk Driving, which can lead to getting in a dangerous situation behind the wheel," Monroe said

"If I see a list of 50 people who used the card," Monroe said, "that's a list of 50 people who avoided a DUI or an accident."

Airmen who don't have a card on them, are out of cash and still need a ride can call Faber Taxi Service and still defer their payment, Monroe said.

"Spangdahlem Air Base is a part of our life," said Elke Faber, Faber Taxi Service manager. "We agreed to the 'Ride for Life' card to reduce driving under the influence rates. Our interest is in keeping the local community and Airmen safe ... it's better they use the card than get in the car drunk."