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Negotiate taxi rates before getting in?

Toronto
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Negotiate taxi rates before getting in?

If I am taking an official city SPQR taxi from a stand, or find one to flag down, is it legal to negotiate a flat rate from point-to-point before getting in, and agree to keep the meter off?

For example, an offer of 12 euro from Pyramide metro area to Spagna metro (just as an example).

If this isn't something that isn't commonly done, and I do decide to just let the meter run, other than making sure I'm in a licensed taxi, what can I do to protect myself from overcharging? If I have a GPS phone - I can make sure they take a direct route. Is there anything else I should watch out for? I know the starting rate for night taxis is approx. 6 euros, correct?

If I feel I am being scammed, for example, the driver demands extra money on top of what the meter says when we get to our destination, what should I do? Will they get violent if I refuse to pay the extra?

Also, are taxis so bad there that I need to be concerned some cabs with SPQR on them are actually FAKES that take people to dark streets where they are mugged by a gang? (Yes... this is serious question!)

St Paul, MN
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11. Re: Negotiate taxi rates before getting in?

"If I feel I am being scammed, for example, the driver demands extra money on top of what the meter says when we get to our destination, what should I do? Will they get violent if I refuse to pay the extra?"

Possibly because I don't take taxis that often, the only times this has happened to me was when I was in Naples. And yes, the "discussion" broke out into an agrument. Being jet-lagged at the time, I talked him down from a truly rediculous price t o something less, but I jsut paid him to be done with it. On the way back I did not get into the taxi until I had negotiated a price (which was still in excess of the legal rate). The drivers still did not accept my "offer" until I said loudly to my daughter that we were walking to the Alibus stop and forgoing the taxi.

Wilmington, DE
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12. Re: Negotiate taxi rates before getting in?

On two trips to ROme we havent had an issue with cabs yet. In fact, yesterday one driver stopped me from getting out because he had not given me all the change yet.

Civitavecchia, Italy
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13. Re: Negotiate taxi rates before getting in?

the following information and more is fount at the Rome's official Tourism Site: www.turismoroma.it/infoviaggio/taxi?lang=en

USEFUL ADVICE

- Make sure the taxi meter (placed above the dashboard or attached to the upper part of the front windscreen) is switched on prior to starting journey, if not ask driver to get it going.

- Always ask to be given a receipt. The receipt must include the following information: details of the journey, the licence number, the fare and the driver’s signature.

- In the event of a problem or dispute, call Traffic Wardens at the number of 0667104282 or send an e-mail to tutela.consumatori@comune.roma.it and report it on the site www.turismoroma.it.

- Complaints/Demands for compensation may also be sent to:

Dipartimento Mobilità e Trasporti, Commissione di Garanzia,

Via Capitan Bavastro 94, 00154, Roma.

- Taxi drivers may not refuse service; may not select passengers; may not carry more passengers than is indicated in the vehicle’s logbook; must charge the amount indicated by the taximeter except for those routes where there is a fixed tariff; must request that passengers fasten their seat belts if they have not done so.

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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14. Re: Negotiate taxi rates before getting in?

Mark, you've been watching way too many scary YouTube videos. I'm afraid you'll ruin your vacation with your fears. There are scary videos about crime in Toronto, too, you know.

I've only once had a taxi driver try a little sneaky trick on me. She put the meter on "zone 2", which was a higher fare for outside the city center, instead of "zone 1". When I pointed it out to her, she pretended that her glasses were giving her trouble, but she put it back on zone 1. Now they don't have zones any more; the fare increases slightly once you've gone 10 kilometers, but that's not something the driver can change. I read that some drivers are getting their meters adjusted to run faster. You should have a general idea of what the fare should be. For short rides, it's €1.10 per km, plus the drop fee, which is usually €3.

I have sometimes asked a taxi driver for an estimate of how much it would cost to get to a certain address, just to see if he was on the up-and-up. If it was more than I thought it should cost, I've just told him I don't want a taxi, and walked away.

I've never had a taxi driver pull the banknote switch on me, but I've read about it enough to be sure it happens sometimes. The solution is to keep some 5s and 10s in your wallet for paying taxis. The scam was to say that you'd given him a 5 instead of a 20, because the colors were similar; or a 10 instead of a 50. Since 5s and 10s don't look like anything smaller, nobody's going to pull a switch with those notes.

There are some legitimate extra charges, but they're small. 1 euro for extra suitcases, a few euros for late night or early morning pickups, 1 euro for more than four people, and a few euros if you (or your hotel or restaurant) calls a taxi instead of getting one at a taxi stand. Why don't you print out this tariff explanation so you can show it to a driver if he invents some creative fare calculation?

…roma.it/PCR/…tariffario_taxi_luglio_2012.pdf

Scroll down for the English version.

Another thing you could do is tell the driver before you get in that you need a receipt. That would tend to keep the driver honest.

Here is a good page about Rome taxis:

http://www.viviromaintaxi.eu/index-eng.php

They tell you where to send your complaints, and where to find the driver's name and license number. You can use this form to file the complaint:

…roma.it/PCR/…moduloreclamoinglese_new.pdf

Massachusetts
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15. Re: Negotiate taxi rates before getting in?

We were in Rome in Oct., 2012 and absolutely loved our visit. We took 7 taxi rides and were charged too much in two of them--one driver becoming irate when questioned the cost (more than twice what we had paid in the morning for the same point to point). We will be back in Rome in October and will use these suggestions.

Toronto
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16. Re: Negotiate taxi rates before getting in?

I feel a LOT better hearing your advice and scenarios. I will go by with what the meter says, and try to get an estimate before I get in. I will make sure the Zone meter is set to the right Zone (1?). If he takes a long route, I will mention it.

Once he hits "end" on the meter, are there usually extra charges (like taxes, etc.) calculated at that time, or when "end" is pressed, the fare it was ended at, and that you see, is the fare that you pay?

rome
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17. Re: Negotiate taxi rates before getting in?

You can get an estimate and discuss a route only if you speak italian, most taxi drivers do not speak english. Trying to get an estimate with poor language skills on both sides might lead the driver to think you want a fixed rate as opposed to the meter.

You *can* hail a cab on the street but cruising taxis are less common than in other big cities. Calling one is the easiest method, but will add to the price (meter starts the moment the taxi takes your order, not when he really picks you up).

There are no zones anymore. There are only night and sunday surcharges.

No extra charges at the end, except the luggage fee. (in europe in general, all prices you see are final prices, including sales tax, vat, etc).

Relax and enjoy your vacation!

Melbourne, Australia
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18. Re: Negotiate taxi rates before getting in?

Gosh! I spent 9 days in Rome last year. I took many taxis. I travel solo and I'm so glad that I didn't read this post before I went.

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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19. Re: Negotiate taxi rates before getting in?

Mark, as I said above, "Now they don't have zones any more; the fare increases slightly once you've gone 10 kilometers, but that's not something the driver can change." Please read the document carefully before asking more questions.

Also, for wine_girl, radio taxis no longer can start the meter when they get the call. Now, there's a fixed supplement of €3.50 if you call the taxi instead of hailing it or going to a taxi stand. This is all explained on the document I gave a link for. The "extra charges" on that document can all be added after arriving at destination.

Before I spoke Italian well, I used to ask for an estimate, adding the words, "più o meno" (more or less pronounced more or less "pee-OOH oh MAY-noh".) There is also an Italian hand signal that means "più o meno": You hold your hand out, palm down, fingers open, and wag the thumb and little finger up and down, as in a see-saw. That should make it clear that you just want a rough estimate.

I would never get into an argument if the fare were just slightly over what I thought it should be. You never know if you're aware of all the circumstances and it's always better to keep things friendly.

New York City, New...
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20. Re: Negotiate taxi rates before getting in?

How will you know what a "long route" is? You may look at a map and think you know how to get there but you won't know which streets are one-way, etc.

Approaching all this being well informed, going with the expectation that people are out to rip you off is just kind of sad and a waste of time.

I have gotten estimates even with my very limited Italian - it is easy to communicate using the gesture Bvlenci mentions above - and with many taxis, I have never had a problem.

I do write down the address to which I am going and hand it to the driver because even though I can usually say it properly in Italian, there are difficulties at times with people understanding so I make it easier for me and the driver by giving him/her a written address. If I am going to be dropped somewhere general like Campo de'Fiori or near Piazza Navona, etc - then (obviously) I don't write it down.

The streets in Rome are a tangle and you will only make yourself nuts if you are monitoring and thinking the driver is taking you in a indirect way.

You may want to stick to the buses/metro/tram as much as possible - but do not forget to validate your transportation tickets in the validation boxes. Wouldn't want to read about any more complaints from people claiming to be being ripped off by ticket inspectors for on the spot fines when they don't validate their tickets.