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Paris airport creates new taxis to prevent scams after tourist video goes viral | Travel News | Travel

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Paris has announced a new taxi scheme to prevent tourists from being overcharged by scams and fake drivers. Tourists travelling from Charles de Gaulle Airport just outside of the city will be able to use regulated taxis when travelling to the centre. Called the Taxi Officiel Aéroport, they will wait at taxi ranks by the airport between 5am and 11pm every day. The new taxis have been announced following a video which went viral which saw two tourists being scammed by a fake taxi.

The couple, originally from Thailand, were charged €247 after the driver aggressively demanded the large payment.

Despite the couple filming the exchange, they eventually paid €200 to be allowed out of the vehicle after becoming frightened.

An investigation was launched by the specialist taxi police in the city after the driver was found to be fake.

The new taxis will be recognised with drivers wearing blue vests, with approximately 40 drivers part of the new scheme.

Paris police chief Michel Delpuech told The Local: “The hunt for illegal taxi drivers is a public safety priority.”

It follows a surge in taxi scams which has seen an increase from 243 in 2016 to 918 drivers stopped by police in 2018.

A new law in 2016 was introduced which means taxis cannot charge more than €55 to travel to the centre of Paris.

This is if travelling to the Left Bank of the city; it is up to €50 if travelling to the Right Bank.

For any passengers worried about falling victim to a scam, they are advised to reserve a taxi with an official company such as Chauffeur Privé or to use ride-sharing apps.

Hotel scams are also on the rise in Paris, according to the latest travel warning.

Tourists have been warned about criminals targeting hotels popular with foreign visitors by mingling in with large groups of tours checking in.

They then target the belongings and luggage of tourists when their attention is elsewhere

A spate of criminal gangs have also been using fake names to check in before removing the magnetic locks on hotel room doors.

This enables them to break in without getting caught and stealing anything from inside.

Paris deployed an extra 5,000 police officers during the summer months in a bid to crackdown on petty crime.

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Travel & Escape

American woman faces $2,800 parking bill after leaving car in Toronto during pandemic

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Parking in the city can be costly, but one American woman is learning just how bad it can be after being unable to retrieve her car for nearly a year.

Detroit resident Kim Richardson left her 2004 Honda Element at the Park2Sky lot by Pearson airport in March 2020 before flying out to Europe for a medical procedure. She originally planned to retrieve it within two weeks but partway through her trip, the Canada-US border got closed due to COVID-19 precautions.

Richardson’s return flight was rerouted to Detroit and she’s been unable to return to Toronto since.

What was originally a $100 bill has now inflated to $2,800 as the lot’s owner says he has a business to operate and is owed payment for 11 months of storage. However, Richardson believes she’s being extorted for an issue beyond her control.

Park2Sky personnel claim that several Americans who found themselves in similar predicaments have had their cars shipped home.

“I don’t understand, I don’t know what’s going on here. Business is down, I’m not making any money at all. People who leave their car are paid. She’s the only one that hasn’t paid,” said the owner to CBC News this week.

The stalemate is expected to last a while longer as travel restrictions remain in place and Ontario Provincial Police have said they won’t get involved in a civil matter.

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All systems are go for St. Lawrence Cruise Lines in 2021

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KINGSTON — Despite Canada’s newly extended cruise ship ban, Canadians still have a small-ship cruising alternative in 2021 with St. Lawrence Cruise Lines.

The small-ship operator, which sails on the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, has confirmed operations for 2021, with overnight cruises on both rivers from May 20 to Oct. 24. A variety of cruises ranging from four to seven nights will depart from Kingston, Ottawa and Quebec City, sailing exclusively in domestic waters with stops at select ports in Ontario and Quebec.

On Feb. 4, Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra announced that Canada’s cruise ship ban will be extended until Feb. 28, 2022. This measure, which effectively prohibits cruise vessels carrying more than 100 passengers from operating in Canadian waters, does not impact the small-ship operations of St. Lawrence Cruise Lines and its 32-stateroom CANADIAN EMPRESS.

“We are excited to offer travellers a small ship option for the 2021 season,” said President Jason Clark. “Our overnight cruises stay close to shore in Canadian waters and our COVID-19 Health and Safety program has been recognized for its high standards.”

This past December, the cruise line was awarded the Safe Travels Stamp by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) for adherence to global standards of health and hygiene. The program includes a wide range of safety measures, including reduced passenger loads, masking, physical distancing and hospital-grade electrostatic disinfecting for both private staterooms and shared spaces. Plus, all staterooms have access to fresh air, climate controls and views of the river.

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Here’s How Canada’s ‘Screening Officers’ Will Check On Travellers During Quarantine

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The federal government is reminding all travellers in Canada that “Screening Officers” may pay them a visit post-arrival.

In a statement about the country’s latest travel restrictions, Transport Canada confirmed that newly-trained officials would be tasked with checking up on travellers during their two-week quarantine period.

The role of the Screening Officers will be to visit travellers’ quarantine locations to “establish contact, confirm identify and confirm that travellers are at the place of quarantine they identified upon entry into Canada.”

This is to make sure individuals are complying with Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement.

The checks will be conducted across 35 Canadian cities, having already started in Montreal and Toronto back in January.

The officials will provide “compliance education” and will be able to issue verbal warnings, but stronger enforcement action will be referred to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and then law enforcement for follow-up checks. 

Failing to comply with the Quarantine Act or with Screening Officers’ instructions could result in fines of up to $750,000 or even jail time.

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