Travelling, Tourism & Culture

How to avoid taxi scam while visiting a foreign country

Taxi scam is normal in almost every country where tourists are easy targets who are visiting a country first time having not much knowledge about new place. In this blog, I will give you some useful tips and advices to avoid taxi fraud.

Always use Uber if possible

Uber and other similar services are best the options to avoid taxi scam because everything is agreed automatically by the app before journey is started. But not every country has Uber and such services. Another problem could be no internet service.

Never use an unmarked private taxi

You should never use unmarked taxi. Make sure that it is an official taxi with taxi sign at top of vehicle’s roof. You will find such taxies at airports and train stations where driver is waiting inside airport or train station and asks you if you need taxi. Don’t look at them and don’t talk to them because these are the real scammers. They use fake meters to calculate price.

Couple of years ago, I went to Tbilisi Georgia, I hired an unmarked taxi from airport and it’s meter was too fast. The total price should be 30 Lari according to the distance but his fake meter was showing 93 Lari which was 3 times more than actual price. I started an argument with him at 03:30 of morning. At the end I gave him 50 Lari.

Even If you accidently hire a private or unmarked taxi then follow these advices:

  • Such drivers always try to be friendly by asking questions like in which country do you live?, are you visiting first time? What do you do for work?. They are basically calculating the amount of scam according to your answers. Tell them, it is not your first visit or don’t give them any impression that you are a wealthy person.
  • I will not advice you to start an argument with taxi driver at the end of the journey when you find out that he is trying to scam you.
  • In case you want to start an argument, first make sure, all your luggage is in your hand.
  • Avoid an argument If driver does not speak English or any language that you both can’t understand. Avoid argument If you are standing at a place where there are not much people.

Hiring an official taxi

Even If you hire an official taxi, you can’t be sure if you are going to get scammed or not. You can’t trust the meter. Make sure you check the meter before start of the journey. Another trick the taxi driver can do is to choose the longest route. Try to track the route on google maps on your phone if possible.

Tips to avoid taxi scam

Now, I am going to explain you exactly what you should do to avoid taxi scam. I myself follow these points while hiring a taxi.

  • Before reaching the country, search on internet about approximate taxi prices. If you are lucky, you will find some fare idea from any travel blog. For example, this blog tells you that taxi fare from Tbilisi airport to old town must not be more than 30 Lari.
  • At the airport or train station ask the approximate taxi fare from any local person. I remember, I asked a local guy about approximate taxi fare from Sofia international airport Bulgaria to old town and he told me it should not be more than 20 Lev. He was very much right.
  • Always try to agree the total fare before starting the journey.
  • Either or not you have an idea about the taxi fare, reach the place where taxies are waiting for passenger in que. Go to first taxi and ask him the fixed price then go to the second taxi behind it. The driver of second taxi will be watching you shaking your head to say no to first taxi driver. If you create such situation which is very easy then second taxi driver will tell you the correct fare. I tried this trick once at Sofia airport where first taxi driver told me 37 Lev and the second driver told me 20 Lev.

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