A word on porters at Rome Termini

Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 08:53 AM
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A word on porters at Rome Termini

After reading much discussion on this site on the subject of porters (some said yea, some said nay)I think I know why the discrepency.

We took the train from Rome to Florence about 2 weeks ago and there were many "porters" milling about the tracks, but not in the terminal itself nor outside the doors.

Now if you were looking for a "Skycap" as we used to call them, you would not have seen them. These were just normal looking guys in street clothes (mostly black clothes) who offered to help clueless-looking people like us with their tickets and their luggage.

One guy offered to help us at the ticket machine when we arrived early and tried to switch to an earlier train. Didn't work, so he pointed out the track that our train would probably be at and told us he would help us when the train arrived. Which he did, very nicely in fact.

I got the impression these guys don't actually work for the railway but are independent porters and work for tips. Which brings me to another story.

I watched a porter drag abourd 2 of the largest rolling duffle bags I have ever seen for a group of 3 American women. He hefted them up above their seats (at one of the ladies's insistance), then carried 3 or 4 other bags on board which he stowed above and between the seats.

This woman handed him 2 euros and said that was all the change she had. He bowed and smiled and said he would be happy to get change for her. She said no, she would have to go to the bank and there wasn't time. More back & forth, and he said something like he loved his job and he loved helping people but this was what he did for a living and they had agree on (couldn't hear this part). She said she hadn't understood and he would have to take it or leave it.

The other ladies just snickered into their hands and ignored the guy and he finally went away. They got a good laugh out of how they had stiffed this guy. I wanted to go after him and give him some money but the DH wouldn't let me.

I know tipping is a controversial subject but was I wrong to be upset over this?
Linda431 is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 09:01 AM
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Hi L,

This is our first post (I think) about tourists stiffing one of the locals.

Very, very bad tourists.

ira is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 09:02 AM
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Since they do not wear badges i susgest being very careful of the help of these folks

You got honest ones

but there been reports of such non-descript 'porters' porting your bags away - away away

be careful IMO
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Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 11:50 AM
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Absolutely. I made sure the guy went ahead of us onto the train. He was the same one that tried to help us with the ticket machine and I saw him help several other people with their bags about an hour before our train left. I figured if he stuck around that long he was probably legit.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 11:59 AM
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right but i just wanted to warn others as there have been quite a few reports of fake porters who are really thieves in Termini.

thanks for telling me about the informal porters that are in fact real porters, if under the radar - i'll look for them next time

But i do advise anyone in Termini to be leery of anyone coming up to them - so do like you did - be careful.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 12:00 PM
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General Information A to Z - www.stuardtclarkesrome.com
There is also direct service between Rome's Termini Station to ...... These are con artists that pose as porters and will often try to insist on carrying ...
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Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 12:02 PM
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We had similar experiences in Naples - very aggressive men at the train station wanting to help with bags. I can't remember how it came about that one time they ended up "helping" us with bags as usually I would not let anyone near my bags (especially in Naples!)So he escorts us onto the train and "seats" us, then says 5 euros please! And as it turned out, he had just deposited us and and our bags in the nearest seat - they were actaully reserved seats, not for us. After that I posted several times on the board for people to be very wary of these guys - they are quite aggressive, maybe even representing themselves as train employees. I don't remember seeing them before in Rome, there I had problems with helpers at the taxi que.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 12:45 PM
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Bummer about the Naples train. Our guy, and the one I saw helping the 3 women were very nice, cordial, and stowed the bags where ever you wanted them to. Now that I think about it, they may have had a badge of some sort on a lanyard, but no real uniform.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 12:46 PM
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We had the same experience at Napoli Centrale. VERY agressive and would not take NO for an answer. Carried our bags to the platform and DEMANDED 20 Euros. I said I didn't have 20 Euros on me, all I had was 8 (which I had in my pocket but more elsewhere). He was a huge guy and started yelling at me, cussing us, etc. I said that's all I have and he took it and left. We also saw a family of 4 going through the same thing at the same time and the guy was trying to extort 30 Euros from them. The father was resisting but the wife appeared terrified and kept yelling to give him the money. A big brouhaha ensued, cops showed up and escorted the independent porter away.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 12:47 PM
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We had a similar experience in Naples train station almost 3 years ago. "Porter" practically grabbed our luggage out of our hands and walked us from the train to the head of the tracks and demanded 10 euros/bag (total of 40 euros for 2 couples for 4 bags).

We "stiffed" him. Each couple gave him 10 euros to get rid of him. He went off in a huff. Our driver (we'd hired one to take us to Positano) told us that Naples "porters" were a persistent problem.

A word to the wise.

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Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 12:50 PM
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There are porters in Termini that have badges and thus are officially allowed to operate there

If you don't see any badge or sign of legitimacy i'd be leery.
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