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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bad Company: Twin Hearts Express, Taos, NM


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Travel is full of indignities. This afternoon in New Mexico it just got fuller. Here's what, in a fit of righteous indignation, I just submitted to RatePoint:
On the morning of March 13, 2008, I reserved a seat on the 1:30 p.m. Twin Hearts Express shuttle from Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ) to Taos, NM. At 1 p.m., I got to the Twin Hearts ticket window and purchased my $85 round-trip ticket. The Twin Hearts driver/cashier told me I should be at the waiting area beyond the escalators at 1:30. I was there at 1:25. I waited there about twenty minutes until a shuttle driver for a different company called passengers for a Santa Fe trip and everyone around me got up and left.

Back on the other side of the escalators, the Twin Hearts counter was deserted, but staff at adjacent transportation services told me she had left not only me stranded at ABQ for two hours (the next shuttle is at 3:30) but an elderly woman in a wheelchair. I tried phoning Twin Hearts and got a busy signal for 15 minutes. When I finally got through, what sounded like a teenage girl answered the phone and had no idea what had happened or what recourse I had. She suggested I call back in 15 minutes, refused to take my name and number, and hung up on me mid-sentence. Helpful adjacent transportation staffers made some calls on my behalf, and word came back that the Twin Hearts driver/representative had no memory of speaking with me or taking my money. And yet, somehow, there's a receipt in my wallet.

As I was writing this review, I got a call from Robert Noga, the man in charge at Twin Hearts. He said he'd spoken to the driver, who had no idea how she'd missed me (us!). One wonders what ideas she does manage.

Meanwhile, Noga said he'd give me $10 off my ticket. I like to think my time is worth more than $5/hour, but it's the thought that counts so I'm upgrading my rating from one to two stars.

3 comments:

Helen said...

Twin Hearts Express must enjoy offering us the unexpected -- the chance to leave behind our habitual routines and expectations. Last summer '07 it was fleas in the seats and an unnervingly random departure process. As far as I know, however, everyone who needed to get to Taos made it. To return to Alb., I chose to stay overnight in Santa Fe and then take Sandia, very sweet and simple.

Anonymous said...

This was the WORST service I've ever experienced. First, they charged us twice what they quoted us and made us wait over two hours. Second, the owner picked us up in his personal F150 (in disgusting condition) with his entire family. My boyfriend and I had to squeeze into the backseat and couldn't even buckle our seatbelts. The driver was on the phone the whole time and his grandson kept grabbing the steering wheel (he was two). They drove through a town and said they had family who got shot a week ago there, then pulled over to eat and left us outside. Needless to say, we called and cancelled our return trip. Someone called the following day to "confirm we still needed pick up." When I said we were cancelling because we were very unhappy they replied "ha, you know you're not getting your money back, right?" Then replied "whatever lady" and hung up. This is hardly a shuttle service, and very unprofessional to say the least. It put a damper on our whole vacation.

Paul Festa said...

Witness the horror of monopoly.

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Paul Festa’s first film, Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006, 51 min), captures the responses of 31 artists to the apocalyptic music of Olivier Messiaen (with Justin Bond, John Cameron Mitchell, Harold Bloom; screenings: Grace Cathedral, Barbican Centre, Library of Congress; “Remarkable”The New Yorker; “Stunning”Chicago Sun-Times; “Sublime”Globe & Mail; numerous awards). Festa performs the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, opposite members of the San Francisco Ballet and The Cockettes, in his award-winning second film, The Glitter Emergency (2010, 20 min), a silent-film drag ballet comedy (“Enormous visual and musical inventiveness…full of pleasure and joy...Festa gives a bravura performance."—Film Threat). He produced, wrote and edited, with director Austin Forbord, and was chief archivist, for the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco (2010, 80 min: with Robin Williams, Bill Irwin, Peter Coyote; screenings: Geary Theater, KQED; “Intriguing...entertaining...a valuable record”—Variety). Performances as violinist and actor: ODC Theater, Center for Performance Research, Kunst-Stoff, TheatreFIRST, North Bay Shakespeare, Albert Fuller's Helicon Ensemble (Merkin Hall, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall). US, Boston, NYC, SF, LA and DC (Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress on the “Betts” Stradivarius) premieres of Messiaen’s Fantaisie for violin and piano. He is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, based on Apparition of the Eternal Church, and several anthologized essays, and has written for The Daily Beast, Salon, Nerve, and The New York Times Book Review. Current projects include a novel and Tie It Into My Hand (2014, ca. 80 min), a documentary feature that has screened as a work in progress at the Cannes film market and at ODC Theater in San Francisco (with Alan Cumming, Gary Graffman, Peter Coyote, Mink Stole, Robert Pinsky; "A fascinating exploration of the artistic life, as rollickingly entertaining as it is insightful and stirring."San Francisco Bay Guardian). Education: Yale (B.A.; prizes, honors, distinction), Juilliard (Cert., Adv. Cert., scholarships). Residencies: Yaddo, MacDowell, ODC Theater, Centre des R├ęcollets.

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