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Watch Out For Taxi Scams
cwo3ward @ 09/ 05/ 2010

It really pays to be aware of the taxi scams that you might come across. There are a lot of cab drivers who will try to take the tourist for all they can get. The first scam that you might run into is the "meter" scam. It's really simple and it depends on the passenger being unaware of the rates that the taxi should charge. During the day, taxis in Rome for example, are supposed to charge the rate for daytime transport. The meter has two rates - day (about 5 am to 10 pm) and night (10 pm to 5 am). The driver sets the meter to the night-time rate and you pay the much higher night rate for your trip across town. If you don't say something, you'll get charged the higher rate. When getting in the taxi, look at the meter and see if it is set to "1" or "2". If you are traveling during the day, it should be set to "1". We took a ride once in Rome and after the trip, it dawned on me that the meter had been set to "2". I didn't catch that when we got in the taxi and we paid a much higher price for the ride.


The second scam involves the taxi driver demanding to see that you have a large enough Euro note to pay for the trip. He might insist on seeing the yellow money (50 Euro note) before he will agree to take you to your destination. When you hand it over, he examines it and gives it back, satisfied. He then gives you a ridiculous price to take you to your destination. When you balk at the price, the driver might get angry and tell you to get out of the cab. He removes your luggage from the trunk (if you have any) and gets in the taxi and speeds away. You are stunned at what just happened. Then you realize that the 50 Euro note that you gave the driver is just a blank piece of paper. You've been scammed. Never give the driver any money to examine, since you can expect him to switch it for a worthless piece of paper or a bill of a smaller amount.


The third scam is of course, the scenic route taxi ride. Most taxi drivers are honest, but some will take you on a long ride through side streets to run up the charges on the meter. If you take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the route and distance to your destination, you can recognize the dishonest taxi ride and pull the plug on it right away.


Another scam is the trip-to-the-airport scam. Many times, it is cheaper to go to the train station and take a train or bus to the airport. Some taxi drivers will try to convince you that the trains are not running (strike, etc.) and that they will take you to the airport for a flat fee (usually very high - 70 or 80 euros). If you just insist on going to the train station anyway, you can check to see if the trains are actually running or not. Don't let a taxi driver con you into thinking that the only way to get to the airport is to pay them a ridiculous fare. When going to the airport, allow plenty of time to get there so time won't force you to make a decision that will cost you dearly.

Scams  Taxi Rides  
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