Taxis: Cities with the best and worst!

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by HiIslands, Mar 20, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    Since a lot of us rely on taxis to get us to and from our meetings, I think a thread might be worthwhile about where you can implicitly trust the drivers and where you need to WATCH OUT!

    A few of my experiences to get started:

    Tokyo: OK-- very trustworthy and gentlemanly drivers-- (but they do sometimes get lost)
    Taipei: WATCH OUT-- the drive from Taoyuan airport to central Taipei can be one of the scariest experiences of a lifetime. But if you tell the starter at the airport you want the driver to slow down, they will.
    Also, in the city, check the meter to be certain you're not being charged the night rate (higher) during the day.
    Saigon: OK- my experiences here have been pleasant and positive. Driving in Saigon can be difficult but these guys do a great job.
    Siem Reap: OK- trustworthy, hard-working and pleasant drivers
    Singapore: OK- the taxis have alarms that chime when the driver exceeds the speed limit. One of my trips from the airport was ding-ding-ding all the way, but the drivers here are generally safe ones-- and honest.
    Istanbul: WATCH OUT-- one of the drivers I had was a quick change artist; I handed him a bill and it magically changed into a different (lower) denomination. Get agreement on the amount to be paid before you start and pay as close to the exact amount when you exit, so there's no "change" involved.
    Honolulu: OK- safe and pleasant drivers. Take out a second mortgage on your house before departure, however.

    I'd be interested to hear your experiences, especially your "WATCH OUTS".
     
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  2. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    The cheapest: Bangkok ... and even when they try to rip you off, it is usually for a mere $1-3 :)
     
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  3. fotosdelviaje

    fotosdelviaje Silver Member

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    Buenos Aires: WATCH OUT. From EZE it is not so bad as you can pre-pay at a counter and the rate, though expensive, is not far from the best you can get. But in the city there is a chance that every trick in the book will be tried on you.

    From AEP do not take the ones in the line outside the exit. Get a number from a friend or the internet and book in advance.

    Source: I'm a local.
     
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  4. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    Wow. I'm surprised to find that there is any city with good taxis. Yes, in Tokyo I had some good experiences, but worldwide, this is something I try to avoid, and I'm resigned to dealing with when needed.
     
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  5. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Being mostly a Domestic US Traveler, I generally find the NYC Taxis to be decent. The Drivers know that you want to get where you are going quickly and they usually get you there. (they also want to empty the cab quickly so they can get another fare.)

    Hate to take a cab in Las Vegas. Just don't trust them even if I have not been cheated. It just seems like everyone in Vegas is trying to make a buck off a sucker (me!)

    Chicago Cabs are decent, but there are so many other options to get where you want, that I don't really use them.

    FLL is quick and Clean.

    MIA is too.
     
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  6. fotosdelviaje

    fotosdelviaje Silver Member

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    Sydney was one of the best experiences I have had. I was very vigilant as in any big city and it was not necessary at all. The fare is standard from the airport and pretty reasonable.

    Auckland is similar, but there are better options if you book in advance.
     
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  7. joejones
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    joejones Silver Member

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    In Tokyo, taxi fares are like $6 a mile. I don't consider Japanese taxis to be comparable with taxis anywhere else in Asia, where $6 will get you across town and back.
     
  8. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    Buenos Aires Taxis can be a mixed bag... there are some bad apples out there that may give you fake currency... so its best to use Radio Taxis that you call or else get a local to flag down a car for you. Also, carry small change to pay fares...
     
  9. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Agreed, only good experiences so far in Bangkok and yes, they are cheap!:)
     
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  10. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Vilnius, Lithuania: Always double the price from the airport to hotel // half the price from hotel to airport!:eek:

    Tokyo, Japan: Very clean, reliable taxis, expensive yes, but they know what they do and offer!

    Abu Dhabi, UAE: Only one bad apple so far in our experience, he had no meter and wanted serious money! We got out of this taxi fast!:cool: But all the others encoutered had great taxis and meters plus they have known what they do!

    Madrid, Spain: They try nearly every trick in the box to make more money in our experience, eg. especially from the airport the driver adds charges or suddendly stops the meter!:mad:

    Dublin, Ireland: So far nearly only good experiences beside a driver who drives by red traffic light and thought he is on a race track! Overall medium prized and good experiences!
     
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  11. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Agreed.

    For all the crap you see in the movies, NYC is actually one of the best places to ride around in a taxi. The trick is that if you're the passenger you have little to worry about as the fares are either fixed (from the airport) or metered (in town) and cabs are relatively predictable -- if you know what to look for. Cabs will get you there, and driving "enthusiastically" is at times necessary to make synchronized green lights or avoid traffic problems.

    As long as you know how traffic flows and the best places to go to at specific times -- like when the theaters let out or being at popular intersections to maximize your chances -- you generally don't have any problems getting picked up either.

    With that said, anybody that drives in Manhattan knows that a cab with their light on (looking for a fare) is the most dangerous driver in the world, as they will do anything to pick up someone that hails them. :)
     
  12. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    Could there be an airport pickup surcharge? That's standard practice at many airports around the world.
     
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  13. Valentine

    Valentine Silver Member

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    With all the surcharges piled onto the fare, you'll be hard-pressed to find a taxi half an hour before the surcharges kick in. ;)

    A local friend told me that it's much cheaper to take a taxi cross-city than the BTS/MRT (subway/metro), especially if you're in a big group. The only time I'd beware is if you're looking to go to the seedy areas, as the drivers probably have arrangements with some of the establishments to bring unsuspecting foreigners to them.
     
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  14. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    I understand surcharges from airports into the city, we had them many times, but they were never double the amount!

    In Vilnius, you should know, in this city the meters goes faster per unit [ maybe every 200 to 300 m ] driven from the airport to the city, because even the officials tolerate this scam and maybe profit from it even too. This scam goes on only from the aiport to the city but not vice versa.

    SOURCE: http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/taxi-cheats-in-vilnius-avoid-this-country.cfm


    We could also take a hotel limousine of course, but they are even more expensive than the scam is!:eek:

    I understand from some press reports that the Airport authorities begin to wake up and do something against such taxi drivers!
     
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  15. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Same scam as in Madrid!:mad:
     
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  16. LONDJC
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    LONDJC Silver Member

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    Very topical discussion given that I'm sitting here wide awake at 1am in my hotel room in Shanghai stewing over the fact that I got taken by a taxi driver whose meter appears to have been running double. I had my suspicions but given the language barrier, couldn't challenge the driver and when I asked the bellman as he unloaded my bag he just said that taxi drivers in the city are very unreliable with the front desk telling me it would be better to use the hotel's own car service.

    So here's my question - in a city where there is a definite language barrier, should hotels do more to positively try to assist guests who are in that sort of situation? In Saigon and Bangkok, for instance, I find that the hotels are absolutely scrupulous. You'll see the door staff checking your meter, and I've often had them write down the taxi number as one pulled up, tell me what the fare should be and tell me to bring the matter up with the hotel if that's not the case. Here was a situation in which I had the cabbie standing right in front of me, I had the receipt showing the fare paid, etc. At the end of the day, it was $15 that I was overcharged and I'll survive - it's more the principle of the issue that burns me.

    I'd include London on the list of good taxi cities. Yes, they're definitely pricey but the drivers are generally really helpful and knowledgeable (although I think that's declining somewhat) and the cabs are hugely comfortable. Singapore is great for the various options for booking, etc.

    My general rule of thumb is that if a cabbie claims he's missed your turning or the entrance to your hotel, there's a chance you may be about to be stiffed with a doctored meter or something...
     
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  17. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    We've not needed a taxi in London so far, glad to hear that they are good, but sad to hear that's declining!:(
     
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  18. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    I don't know if this applies to your situation, but in some Asian cities, night rates are MUCH higher, even double. The meter calculates this higher rate. The bellman should have advised you whether the amount you paid was appropriate. If it wasn't he should have intervened with the cab driver on your behalf.

    A taxi driver in Taichung, Taiwan tried to cheat me by starting off with a meter that already had a fare on it. I couldn't see the meter because he had a pile of papers in front of it. I should have demanded that he remove the papers, but when I got to the Tempus Hotel the fare was twice what it should have been. I got out of the cab, told the bellman on duty what had happened, and before I could even pay for the ride the cab abruptly departed. The bellman got the license plate number and reported it to the police. This what I think a good hotel should do about dishonest cab drivers.
     
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  19. LONDJC
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    LONDJC Silver Member

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    I wondered about the late night premium fare but I spoke with a couple of contacts that I had meetings with here today who are local and they all agreed that I was taken by a guy with a dodgy meter. They also think that I should bring it up with the hotel (one person told me to wave my lifetime elite status around) but I'm disinclined to do that.

    Another city with cabs to watch out for is Prague. The city lends itself to taking "long routes around" and we've had a couple of instances where drivers have done that (particularly later in the evening if weather's bad and it's not as easy to get a read on the route you're taking back to your hotel).
     
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  20. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    When I was in Prague, everyone, from the hotel people to the guide books to the people selling tours on the street, said not to take a cab. Not at all. Nightmare. I've never heard such a chorus. It's amazing that they get any fares at all.
     
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  21. LizzyDragon84
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    LizzyDragon84 Gold Member

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    Lima, Peru has a rather interesting taxi system. None of the taxis have meters- instead you haggle with the driver on a price for the trip. It's a little time-consuming to haggle each time, but none of the drivers tried to change the agreed-upon rate at the end of the trip. Plus, taxis are plentiful in the city, so if one driver offers a high rate and won't bring it down, just walk away and flag down another taxi.

    It does help if you know a little Spanish- drivers tend to charge more if you appear to be a tourist.
     
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  22. USAF_Pride
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    USAF_Pride Gold Member

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    VEGAS: My experience shows some are good and some are bad. Most try to "extend" the ride farther than it actually needs to be.
     
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  23. LONDJC
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    LONDJC Silver Member

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    Just a follow-up to my Shanghai experience. I had a chat with the duty manager at the hotel, showed him my receipt and he immediately offered to file a complaint with the taxi company on my behalf. Checking out today, he came over and said the taxi company had agreed that the driver had swindled me, refunded half the fare (fair enough - I'll pay what I should have) and couriered the cash over for me on check-out. The manager also apologized for the staff not trying to fight my case for me and offered one of the hotel cars to take me to the airport gratis. In my mind, that's above and beyond and it also shows that Shanghai taxi companies take business seriously.
     
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  24. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    Wow - glad it worked out!! :)
     
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  25. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    Great! Glad this worked out for you. It's a terrific illustration of how we can right some of the travel wrongs. I bet this cab driver will think twice about cheating a fare-- at least when the destination is an international class hotel.
     
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