It happens all the time. When you arrive tired and disoriented in a foreign or strange city at an ungodly hour at the airport or train station and lacking the local language, you get into a taxi and give the driver the name or address of your hotel. Not so fast!
Taxi drivers in many big cities recognize a tourist or stranger a mile away, and most, if not all, are ready to rip you off.
There are many ruses they use. If there is a meter in the vehicle they claim it to be broken and say: “ I will take you there”, or something like that in their language. Beware!
In most cases the charges will be at least twice as much and more often than not many more times.
Then the driver takes you on a circuitous route to reach your destination if the meter is functioning.
You may be charged extra for each piece of luggage, or a special night-tariff.
All these and more innovative and creative ways you may encounter even in developed countries.
These days, you can easily check how long it would tae from the airport or train station to your hotel on
the IT. Better yet when you book from the reservation office how much taxis cost.
Before you get into the car, you will tell the driver how much you will pay, or write it down on a piece of paper the amount you are prepared to pay.
When in Prague, years ago, the taxi driver indicated that his meter was broken and he would charge a flat rate! When I asked he quoted a price and I quickly agreed to half that amount and he accepted.
More recently, in Yerevan, Armenia, I approached a taxi and asked how much he would charge for the ride to my hotel. He quoted 1500 drams (the local currency). I refused and waited for the small buses that travel on specific routes and charge only 60 drams for the distance I was going to travel. Five minutes later the same driver cam back and said he would take me to my hotel for 500 drams.
In many cities, unscrupulous taxi drivers specialize in ripping off unsuspecting tourists, even businessmen who speak the language.
Here is a list of cities in which you should be very careful before getting into a taxi: Mexico City, Sao Paulo (Brazil), Athens (Greece), Moscow (Russia), Caracas (Venezuela), Naples and Rome (Italy), Bangkok (Thailand), Manila (The Philippines), New York (the USA), Yerevan (Armenia), and Istanbul (Turkey).
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.