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2 Comments | Vintage
From a July 1958 Stars and Stripes article on the taxi fare *war* held following the arrival of the US Military to Lebanon.
>By JOHN WRIGHT | Stars and Stripes | Published: July 23, 1958 > >BEIRUT — For more than 150 news correspondents covering the Lebanese landings here, this has become the “taxicab war.” > >Newsmen use taxicabs to race from one sudden and unexpected development to another. Military officials, on non-tactical errands, take taxis to surmount the shortage of official vehicles, and diplomats, rushing from conference to crisis, hail a cab to keep their appointments. > >The taxicab drivers are having a picnic and are among the very few in this “Paris of the Middle East” who do not miss the foreign money lost by the sudden decline in paying tourists. > >Taxicab drivers have compensated for the tourism decline by inclining their prices accordingly. > >A typical example of the spiraling increases in fares was demonstrated when marine-carrying ships of the 6th Fleet moved into position opposite “Yellow Beach,” four miles north of town. > >For those few newsmen who were well enough informed about the landing or could outguess their competition, the fare from city to landing site was 10 Lebanese pounds ($3). > >As the news of the amphibious assault spread and more writers, photographers and onlookers hailed cabs to race northward along the beach road the prices raced with them. > >At one point the spiraling price reached 40 Lebanese pounds ($12) for the four-mile ride. > >Again, when the paratroopers of the Army task force began arriving at the airport the $2 ride became $10. > >When these exorbitant prices are challenged, the drivers shrug their shoulders and reply, “It is hazardous work, monsieur.”