Out, Tout! Private College Tours Causing Chaos
Forget punting: touts are now offering sneak peeks of college life
Unofficial guides offering exclusive tours of ‘real-life Cambridge student’ cribs.
Pembroke grad Dr Stephen Halliday claims the touts, already under attack for posing as licensed badge holders, are ‘Cambridge’s answer to the timeshare touts of the Costa Brava’.
Mistaken for a tourist, he was offered a visit to a student’s private room, a college library, and even college lunch – all at his own college.
Last year a tout invited his party to snap pics of fellows and students eating lunch at Pembroke. The group were busted by the college librarian, after they tailed a ‘genuine’ student into the library for a quick book tour.
68 year old official guide Tony Rodgers explained that not all unofficial touts are bad, but many give Cam a bad rep: “It’s a bit like the punting touts.
“There has been a tout war going on for several years as everyone knows.”
Walking tours are now spreading rivalry to the streets. “It won’t break into all out war but it’s very irritating and is leaving some visitors with a bad impression of the city.
“A lot of the information they give is flimsy, they are not insured, and they give us all a bad name when we have done intensive training, but there is nothing we can do about it.”
John Milne, guided tours manager at Visit Cambridge, says it is easier to control punting touts restricted to certain points on the river.
He added that a bylaw is enforceable where touting causes annoyance or obstructs the highway.
While touting in general is not illegal, they seem to spend most of their time barricading King’s Parade with their tour boards when you’re late for a 9am.
Or drifting under Orgasm Bridge describing the Jerwood library as ‘named after Jedward’s hair’.
A spokesman for Pembroke says they’re not worried about reports of people getting into the college. Most of them are tourists who take a wrong turn, not touts spying on students while they nap.
This comes as students are warned against revealing details to creeps posing as ‘survey takers‘. Who knew the general public found Cantabs so interesting?