I know some cabs can be very dishonest here in the states, I assume that there are some that will be in Europe also. There are a few nights where I will be needing cabs fairly late at night, after going out with friends and such. Are there certain things I should look out for when taking a cab late at night? One of my friends said that his cabby drove in a circle way out of the way to his destination and almost tripled the cost!
Foreign taxi drivers are not out to rip off traveling Americans; it happens, though -- learn by studying the top five ways to avoid being ripped off in a foreign taxi. If you *are* ripped off in a taxi, try not to sweat a buck or two. If you feel it's important, you can get the cabbie's name and license number and report it (look for a sign on the back of the front seat with a governing authority's phone number or address) - but don't hold your breath while waiting for a refund.
1. Use Taxi Stands
Find a taxi stand on the street in any country -- even if you can't read the words, you'll notice taxis congregating near the sign. Generally, only taxis authorized to carry passengers are allowed to stop at these taxi stands, meaning the taxi driver is licensed and therefore using a locally set metered fare. Look for these taxi stands at airports, too: don't let aggressive taxi drivers or their helpers steer you into a taxi without sussing out the scene for a sign first.
2. Look For a Taxi Meter
A legitimate foreign taxi should have a meter, just like taxis in the US. Look for one before you get into a foreign taxi -- if you don't see one, you can always wave the cab on. Check to see whether the cab driver turns on the meter -- if not, ask him to do so. If you've negotiated a price, you can watch the meter to see whether it's going to be close. Some rides, like to and from airports in mini van taxis, may not be metered -- just try to stick to the original price when paying.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
Most taxi drivers are honest and would rather pick you up and drop you of relatively quick , so they can go get another customer , two or more customers is better than ripping off one customer. so they usually do go the quickest way available to them.
If you have used taxis during the day to get around or something , you may have rough guide prices in your mind to how much your fare should be. but depending at what time at night it is , some drivers may charge more.
just ask for the price to your destination once you get in, they will no doubt know the cost it will come to if they have done the route before which they probably will have.
that way they can really only the charge the price you agreed, assuming you were happy with it and didnt think it was inflated.
I have traveled all over Europe, make sure you can say the destination in the local language. This at least gives the impression that you are informed. Also, if you have the opportunity, ask a waiter, bouncer, bell-boy, news stand guy etc... approximate travel time to your destination prior to getting in a cab. This will give you something to measure your actual travel time against.
As always in Europe, or any foreign land, the best way to avoid getting hustled is to be prepared.
Where are you going in Europe ?
I use taxis quite frequently in Spain and have (touch wood) never been ripped off. Sometimes a taxi driver may take you by an indirect route but its normaly because it is actually quicker than the straight line route.
Also bear in mind that in most countries there is an official supplement after a certain time of night (may add a couple of €uros to the price)
In Spain, If you feel that you've been "ripped off" then you should ask for a reciept which should include details like date , time , taxi licence number and pickup and dropoff points. This can then then be used to make a formal complaint (you can find out where you need to complain to on the local town halls website). But to be honest I doubt its worth the effort to recover a couple of € !
[ Edit: Edited on 18-Mar-2011, at 02:01 by BadlyBurnt ]