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How can you report dishonest taxis in Budapest?

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Bath, United Kingdom
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How can you report dishonest taxis in Budapest?

We arrived today at the International train station. We had read about taxis being regulated in 2013 and we saw the cabs in the rank outside the station were painted yellow and had the approved rates posted on the door. We took a short trip and the driver charged us 4,500 lei. We knew this was a rip off and argued, strongly, saying it could not be right, but he insisted, and this was what the meter showed. We were tired after a long overnight journey and in the end we gave in. We took the registration number. We have tried in vain on the net to find somewhere where we can report this. Can anyone help?

And what should tourists do when such a scam takes place - should we simply refuse to pay and insist the police be called? Surely it is illegal for drivers not to to charge the rates advertised on the doors?

The drivers in the rank discussed among themselves who should take us. It seems highly probable they are all in on the scam. It must be common knowledge. The authorities know these drivers are preying on tourists and yet they are allowed to persist, damaging the tourist image of the city.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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1. Re: How can you report dishonest taxis in Budapest?

Did you get a receipt? If not, you really have nothing to report. And you probably paid in Forint, not Lei, unless you are in Bucharest rather than Budapest.

Berkshire UK
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2. Re: How can you report dishonest taxis in Budapest?

You need a signed receipt (preferably with taxi license number) stating journey start and finish points.

If there is a group of you, or you're bigger than the taxi driver, and your luggage is not "hostage" in the taxi boot / trunk, I'd walk ... let the taxi driver call the police if he dare !

Its widely known that you never take a taxi from the rank outside Keleti station. In the past you could go "off-meter" and agree a price, inflated yes, but you could haggle and know exactly how much you were being ripped off, and decide if it was worth it for the convenience of a car there and ready. I'm not sure if "off-meter" is legal anymore ?

Just last year after the new tariffs had come in, returning to Keleti with more luggage than I really wanted to take on public transport, I asked one of the drivers roughly how much my journey would be. He said about 4000 forint, for a 4 - 5km ride that should have been 2000 forint with generous tip included. Needless to say I refused.

These villians work off the principle that most tourists will not bother wasting precious hours reporting the incident over a 2000 forint overcharge, and that they will be long gone by the time a case comes to court and evidence needs to be given ...

What I don't understand is why the police don't set up a sting operation with pretend tourists, waiting for the taxi at the requested destination. It would be so easy to get these rogues off the road.

Budapest, Hungary
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for Budapest, Hungary
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3. Re: How can you report dishonest taxis in Budapest?

The police are in on it ? wash my mouth out with soap and water.

Berkshire UK
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4. Re: How can you report dishonest taxis in Budapest?

I was going to say that myself but refrained !

Greasing palms with crisp banknotes ...

nyc, usa
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for Budapest
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5. Re: How can you report dishonest taxis in Budapest?

There is actually a pretty aggressive taxi enforcement effort under way, with double the number of enforcement agents this year that were around last year, mostly targeting the airport. Keleti station remains an intractable problem area, but the major problem is that anyone with enough knowledge about what to do to be able to document a scam is informed enough likely to avoid getting scammed.

Now here's the Keleti problem: Nine tourists out of ten arriving at Keleti are going somewhere within a 2500 HUF honest meter ride ... most of those within 1500 HUF. The taxi line at Keleti involves a good bit of waiting on average for the drivers. If you call a taxi and arrange to be met at Keleti, the vagaries of train arrivals make it not worthwhile for a 1500 HUF fare unless a significant amount of waiting time is built back into the tariff.

In sum, the Invisible Hand, not the unscrupulous drivers make Keleti taxis a problem. Because of fixed pricing for metered legal taxis, the fares generated don't justify the wait for the driver on the line; so if the drivers were honest, there would be few if any drivers waiting.

The guys whom wait there now have various ways to charge as much as if they were being paid for their waiting time; I on;t think it's actually an unfair tariff. My problem with them is not how much they cost but how unreliable they are. So I book a driver I trust to meet me when I come in to Keleti, and I wind up paying about what I'd pay to the crooks; but I know what I'm getting and he's there like clockwork no matter how latte the train's arrival is.

Alternatively, when I've got little by way of baggage I call a legitimate cab company as we are pulling into the station, and agree to meet the driver at a landmark like Burger King.

nyc, usa
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for Budapest
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6. Re: How can you report dishonest taxis in Budapest?

Turns out that the taxi stands are administered by BKK and the contact information is here:

http://www.bkk.hu/en/main-page/contact/

nyc, usa
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for Budapest
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7. Re: How can you report dishonest taxis in Budapest?

+3613255255

Berkshire UK
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8. Re: How can you report dishonest taxis in Budapest?

Not sure if BKK licenses taxis ... if I had the time for a "stand off" with taxi driver (and for whatever reason couldn't just walk away) I'd punch 112 / 107 into my mobile.and refuse to move ... watch the price come down !

Berkshire UK
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9. Re: How can you report dishonest taxis in Budapest?

I live in Reading UK, fares are regulated as all over UK, and are @ 90% London pricing (regions can be half the price) .

So locally taxi fares are approximately twice the cost of the new Budapest taxi fares, which is about right as Home counties UK cost of living is 2x central Budapest, 3x suburban Budapest.

In Reading's mid-day quiet a taxi driver can queue half an hour for a fare, evenings five minutes or less, you get the odd grumpy driver who doesn't help with your luggage and feels hard done by for the short ride ... but cheating on fare is never ever an issue !

budapest
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10. Re: How can you report dishonest taxis in Budapest?

Actually BKK is indeed responsible for regulating taxi service in Budapest as far as i know and they are also inspecting taxis.

Here is a report from May budapest.hu/Lapok/…A9se.aspx.

PS. I do not know the situation in Reading, but indeed London there are taxi scams, usually by taking routes that are significantly longer than needed, or mini cab related issues (they are of course not legal taxis anyhow, but i have had to use them frequently as there has been no black cabs available). But that is of course very common in every city in the world.