Final Word from Thursday, August 14, 2014

Prague taxi rates are so low and competition so high that it's hard for a driver to make a living playing by the book. The call-in services do an increasingly good job of policing their people but often look the other way when the hard-up drivers cheat a customer on someone else's time. Even a driver of Radim Jančura's high-end Tick Tack service was spotted yesterday taking a prohibited shortcut across the footbridge between Malá Strana and Kampa, scattering 20 tourists to save some time. The reality is that you can dress up a Prague cabbie (in a fancy car), but you still can't take him out. He remains a shifty Prague taxi driver at heart, because there's no other way to survive. Where does Uber fit in? Its rates aren't very competitive, for either the driver or the passenger, and its app makes it a little too easy to rate a driver. Under these conditions, it's unlikely that Uber will ever get the critical mass to make a real go of it in Prague. [Czech Republic Student Agency]

Glossary of difficult words

Unter - "under" in German;

to play by the book - to follow the rules exactly;

hard-up - short of money;

to scatter - to cause to move in various directions;

you can dress him/her up, but you can't take him/her out - (idiom) you can put fancy clothes on someone, but his or her underlying nature or behavior remains the same;

shifty - devious or dishonest;

cabbie - taxi driver;

critical mass - the minimum amount or size of something required to start or maintain a venture;

to make a go of something - to be successful in something.

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