Thursday, March 14, 2019

Where is Spring in Prague?

another wet and windy day today - the Czech Republic has been taking a beating with powers outrages and trees down.

A couple of late night flights had to be diverted and those that landed the clients said it was a bit scary. We have been busy with more Jazz musicians. This morning I took back Richard Bona 


 
Richard Bona in Prague




 and I picked up Justin Kauflin another Jazz Pianist, I also had a pickup from Glasgow. Six very funny young fellahs 


Original Party Animals

........







Monday, March 11, 2019

Ringo Starr in Prague

I have been very lucky to have worked many shows and met a lot of interesting musicians over the years but the most emotional moment had to have been when I drove Ringo Starr to the John Lennon wall in Prague.

John Lennon wall in Prague
John Lennon wall

I was his runner and spent quite a few hours just parked outside the Four Seasons hotel in Prague. At one point his tour manager came out and asked me if I could take them on a tour of the city and of course I said yes!

Twenty minutes later they both came out and before we took off I asked if there was any place in particular they wanted to visit and they asked me what do I suggest?  So I asked if he had ever heard of the John Lennon wall, he hadn't so off we went. 


Airport arrival, I am the bald guy in the back :-)
On the way I explained the history of the wall. When we got there is was not very busy, just a young couple in their wedding attire, and we all got out to have a look. I was standing beside him and after a couple minutes he said to me "I used to know that guy". It was one of the most emotional moments in my whole life and one I will always remember.

After that we just went back to the hotel...


airport transfer in Prague
Outside the Four Seasons by my VW Multivan

 I got up enough courage to ask him for a picture 😇 something I rarely do...

I also worked Paul McCartney But I could was just too busy to try and get a picture 😒



Sunday, March 10, 2019

Prague Tourism season

It is said that the season starts tomorrow! To be honest it does not look too exciting as far as forward bookings are concerned but we shall see. Today was a rainy Sunday, just a few transfers including several transfers for Tesco.






 

Friday, March 8, 2019

some band transport in Prague and Europe

Yesterday I drove George Cables/Victor Lewis Quartet to their next show in Stuttgart. It was a bit of a hike, 980 km round trip. Some serious rain in Germany and we got into Stuttgart around 1700 only to have to deal with


I drove back afterwards and got  home about midnight. Today we are quite busy, we are picking up some of the crew for Mirielle Mathieu







and at 1430 I need to go pickup Camille Bertault a French Jazz singer..

 

We are very fortunate to work with a lot of promoters here in Prague :-) We sometimes provide transport for the artists but more often we provide runner vans for concerts and shows in Prague

 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Danube river cruise transfers

In 2011 I made the decision to rebrand, I started using www.praguetransport.com because so many people had copied my original name prague airport shuttle - looking back on it it was a bad choice, I should have named it differently but it is what it is - that it was really confusing and there is no doubt that I lost (and still am losing) clients.

I also wanted to get away from the airport business - we still do them and enjoy them. I love bringing in first time visitors and showing them stuff and then talking with them when they leave. I just did not want to be dependent on them.

We had been doing long transfers before, mostly Vienna and Krakow, sometimes Budapest. I started looking into transfers from Nuremberg to Prague or Prague to Passau. Over the years we have worked with many travel agents in North America so I mentioned it to them and just like that we started doing them 😅

Prague to Nuremberg transfer

Passau toPrague transfer

 I am really happy to say that side of the business has really taken off, last year (2018), even with the low water levels, we did over 100 Nuremberg to Prague transfers and Passau to Prague trips. This year it is looking even better

So here we are, March 2019, almost 18 years since we started. We have been kind of busy over the winter with Christmas and New Years. We also worked with Invasion, a UK travel agent that handles mostly University kids, We worked the Shania Twain show and yesterday I picked up George Cables and Victor Lewis 



That's it for today - thank you for reading if you did. Please have a look at our Instagram  and maybe even join our Facebook group





 

Prague airport taxi blues

In 2013 our share of the Prague airport transfer market kept declining. 

More and more competitors were offering their services. Many new companies that had really no idea what was going on (not that I did when I started of course) and thought it was and easy way to make money. But is not.

Big companies came in with deep pockets dumping transfers. We charge now CZK 650 per transfer and the big companies charge CZK 500. Our drivers are paid by the transfer and they are some of the best paid in the business. The big companies contact their transfers  out to a Czech company who may have their own drivers or may contract those transfers out also and each company wants a cut. The end result is that the driver actually doing the job gets 300 - 350 and he/she must pay for the gas, the insurance, car upkeep etc. etc 

Then, of course, along came UBER and they were/are charging CZK 350 or something for the airport transfer. I am biased of course but I do not like Uber simply because I feel they are exploiting their drivers - join any Facebook Uber group and read what the actual drivers say. The problem in Prague is, and I am treading on some thin ice here, it is said that many of drivers here are Ukrainan guys with no work permits nor resident permit. They work for an organization that pays them a very low hourly rate and they work 16 hour days and sleep in their cars..


Prague airport itself was becoming more and more problematic. They have 400 taxis that are allowed to park in front of the terminals, it is two companies - every four years companies bid for the right to pick up arriving customers. Each driver must pay CZK 60.000 a year to be able to work out of the airport. That is just the right to work, not the car payment, the gas etc etc. If you do the math that means they have to do at least 6 jobs a day at CZK per job just to break even. Of course with all the cheap transfers it is very difficult for them and they are not happy with the airport itself. 

So the airport is doing its best to stamp out what competition they can. They have raised the parking fees and now (July 2018) you even have to pay to drop off CZK 100. They have also implemented a huge no parking zone which the Police monitor like hawks :-)

More and more companies and individuals like me have finally given up. We are very fortunate, we have been operating since 2001 and have a lot of good reviews on TripAdvisor Prague forum as well as Rick Steves and Fodors.

That was a bit long winded, sorry






 

Prague concerts and show transport

In 2004 I was approached by another regular from Jama in Prague and asked if I could provide transport for James Brown and so we did, a limo, armed guards in a chase van and a luggage van for the hair dryers (yes we needed two - not easy to find but we did and they had to be like these





Then the concert work just kind of took off. We sometimes provided transport for the entire show from artist limos to production runners and sometimes just crew/staff transport




Over the years we have provided band transport in Prague for small bands and big bands, some very famous people and some you never heard of. Some were lots of fun and some were not. Green Day outside in the absolute pouring rain was one I remember the most.



  Bon Jovi had the best stage for a concert in Prague







My favorite is Elton John, we worked that show 4 times in Prague. The last show I just sat on a folding chair literally 10 feet away from him . It was fantastic.

Elton John transport in Praague

conference and show transport in Prague

VIP Transfers in Prague


We were also doing Rock for People every year moving all the international bands, lots of work lots of stress but very good moneywise :-) This is located 150 km from our house and the big problem is that it was (and still is) every 4, 5 and 6 July.  Our wedding anniversary is the 4th and Alice has her birthday on the 5th so I stopped doing this event. 

here is actually a long long list of what we have done 

Meanwhile the Prague airport transfer business continued...