Uber in Ibiza? Only a Matter of Time

The taxi situation in Ibiza is always a major talking point and like all businesses there are good and bad stories from most of us.

One of the biggest problems I encounter in my villa rental business is the taxis unwillingness to go to country villas or to do anything that isn’t straightforward especially if the location is off the beaten track.

I encountered this personally after an August party when I advised my guests to take the 5 minute stroll at the end of the night to the local sports centre and call a taxi, I ended up accompanying them and after calling the Radio Taxi service several times was told that this ‘wasn’t a location in our system’. This is the largest sports complex in San Antonio and next to 3 schools? If this isn’t on their route then what is?

Is it laziness, greed, inefficiency or always taking the easy option and is it any wonder that the ‘pirate’ taxi market and concierge minibus business is booming but then again it would be when that becomes the only option for a large segment of the Ibiza market.

Over the summer when I visited the breathtaking city of Moscow for the World Cup semi final (which I’m still in denial about btw) I was advised by a good friend to download the ‘Gett’ taxi app. This service is similar to Uber and the other technology based taxi services.

Having lived on Ibiza for more years than I care to mention (and therefore living a sheltered life) I hadn’t come across anything quite like it, I know I sound like a small island country bumpkin so please forgive me all you people who use these services on a daily basis in your busy city lives but I was spellbound.

You open the app on your smartphone, digitally hail a cab at an agreeable price then watch on the map as the taxi in the form of a blue dot makes it’s way to you. You have the name and telephone number of the driver, the make and model of the car and it’s licence plate number. When it comes to providing transparent information it doesn’t get any clearer or accountable than that. And here is the best bit – no funds are changed hands as the payment is via pre authorised credit card. You don’t even have to speak to the driver if you don’t want to which isn’t very polite but is always an option.

Let’s compare that to me and my friends standing next to the biggest sports centre in San Antonio at 2am on a busy August morning fruitlessly ringing a taxi service that doesn’t speak their language only to be told (after being on hold for 10 minutes) that the main road we are standing on is ‘not on their route’. It’s like comparing a super computer to an abacus.

Of all the places I have travelled to in the world I have never known a destination more than Ibiza that needs this Uber-type service and flexibility for it’s taxi service.

But as usual the taxi drivers union and the transport companies and the other self serving cartels continue to block any advancements such as this so they can protect their patch of the market whilst the majority of their members cherry pick the jobs they can be bothered to do.

All the while the clients in an Ibiza country villa or a more remote location continue to ring a number in the vain hope that when their call is eventually answered the person on the end of the line can firstly communicate with them and then provide them the courtesy of sending an over priced vehicle to move them safely from A to B.

Uber, Gett and other similar taxi services have revolutionised the way people travel and whether the cartels like it or not it’s only a matter of time until this type of service is available on the White Isle. Ibiza always catches up in the end so let’s hope it’s not too far away but in the meantime keep ringing that number that you scribbled down on a piece of paper and keep taking those Spanish lessons.

4 Old Blokes Promise to Re-build the ‘Ibiza Vibe’

4 old blokes have promised to re-build the old ‘Ibiza Vibe’ in a massive village press conference witnessed by a few passers by and a couple of rags looking to create clicks.

Leader of the group Paul Pox said “when the Ibiza Vibe closed down a few years ago, the island wasn’t the same and even though I said I wouldn’t carry on with any residencies, money talks so I played a few one-offs in a row at the biggest club in the world and have banked enough dollars from gullible punters to be here today to announce that there will be an announcement soon and that the announcement that we can’t announce yet will be a very exciting announcement indeed”.

Ibiza Vibe founder, octogenarian Joe Rose said “we need to spread our roots and share the Ibiza Vibe around the globe because the punters out there want it and if they want it then we need to make money from it”.

Completing the dream team foursome are Johnny Stadium and Davide Marrón who are also really excited about the announcement about the announcement that they can’t announce yet.

As millions put smiley faces on social media, Pox said “Oh yes! This is gonna be amazing”.

Mrs Pepa Ribas from San Rafael said “Pox who?”.

“It’s OK because it’s Ibiza”… or is it?

Today’s blog is a personal view from a friend who is the manager of a luxury hotel on the island.

Most days, if not everyday, I hear my hotel guests say: “it’s OK it’s Ibiza” but “is it ACTUALLY OK because it’s Ibiza?”

Taxis – my guests battle most nights to leave the hotel on time to get to their extremely expensive restaurant reservation. The answer we get from drivers: oh there’s not enough drivers in Ibiza. My point is WHY? My guests response….. “it’s OK it’s Ibiza”

Restaurants – there are some amazing restaurants on the island at reasonable prices but the majority of the ones my guests go to are hugely overpriced. I have heard of one charging 130 euros for a plate of lobster pasta. If this was anywhere else outside of a major city in the world it wouldn’t be acceptable, but hey “it’s OK it’s Ibiza” I hear them say.

Superclubs – it’s been well documented over the summer that some clubs on the island charge 20 euros for a soft drink. How can that be allowed? The party goers this year have finally started waking up, I saw a tweet in August saying ’16 euros for a Fanta, thanks Ibiza!’ But all I hear from my guests is “it’s OK it’s Ibiza”

Hotels – this is my area of knowledge and our pricing is similar to airlines. It’s supply versus demand, what our competitors are doing whilst throwing in the weather forecast but in my opinion the extreme prices such as the month of August makes Ibiza a very expensive place to stay. This is why companies such as Airbnb are becoming more popular, so rather than booking a traditional hotel room people are starting to look for places with character, smart apartments or even staying on moored boats in marinas. Saying all of that I spend a lot of my time in my hotel lobby and upon check in people spend even more money by upgrading to a sea view, or one with a terrace. Upgraded rooms can start with a supplement of up to 200 euros per NIGHT and guess what words get uttered between couples at check in: “it’s OK it’s Ibiza”.

However recent reports are showing a slowdown in the number of visitors to island year on year. Why? In my view there are many reasons such as other destinations becoming more popular again, global weather is becoming better (just look at the UK this summer – over 30 days of temperatures similar to Ibiza) but the one major reason IMO is that the island in some parts is becoming almost inaccessible to the ‘normal’ person.

I acknowledge that the top end of travel is booming on the island. For example large villa rentals and the super car hire companies have reported a 10% growth year in year but this is niche market. I spoke to one private bodyguard who says he is turning away work as he is so busy and the expensive restaurants are still packed but the genuine rich and famous don’t worry about money…. or do they?

So is it really “OK because it’s Ibiza” or is it time for the authorities to take a long hard look at itself and start re-evaluating whether this amazing island is sustainable for the future or will it just be a playground for the rich and famous in August while conveniently forgetting it’s original roots as an affordable holiday destination for all?

The verdict is still pending…..

After 82 Days it’s Back to School in Ibiza

Finally! After nearly 12 weeks the kids in Spanish state schools are going back today.

It’s not been easy, it never is without the luxury of family around you. Juggling a busy summer working in Ibiza with keeping your kids sufficiently stimulated and off the sofa is always a challenge.

For those UK people who grumble that 6 weeks is too long, just imagine doubling it. Whenever I mention 12 weeks holiday to my British friends they look at me in horror but over here it’s a way of life.

Fortunately in Ibiza there’s plenty of options for kids in the hot summer months. Summer schools, sports halls, sailing clubs, kayak, beach days, camping, all designed to keep your kids busy whilst their parents are out earning the money to continue living on an island that gets more and more challenging every year.

I always get asked about how my children get through the summer and the answer is relatively easily (for them anyway) however this summer we have had a new challenge to overcome: namely physically prising them away from the PlayStation.

The on-line game of ‘Fortnite’ has become a phenomenon for all ages and both sexes and the easy option would have been to let them spend all day glued to a screen whilst talking to their friends on headphones however we insisted that they did activities for at least half of the summer.

There is a line of thinking that says that 12 weeks off is too much but I have to admit that I quite like not having to get out of bed to get my eldest to school for 8am even if the school is only 5 mins away (ahh island life).

So today after the best part of 3 months we get back to early mornings, routine and copious amount of daily homework. It’s been a long hot summer but it’s time to get back to relative normality and of course seeing the odd ‘walk-of-shamer’ on the school run. This is Ibiza after all.