Taxi services around the world range from the very good to the hopelessly corrupt and downright dangerous – if you’ve just landed at a foreign airport, taxi trouble is the last thing you want. You’re tired, weighed down with luggage, and you just want to get to your hotel without any hassle. The bad news for travellers is that at the airport taxi drivers are most likely to try and rip you off – they know you are tired, they know you are new to the country and they know that they have the chance to trick or pressure you into paying more than you should. But forewarned is forearmed: here are five cities that are renowned for having some of the worst taxis in the world…
Cairo is infamous as being one of the most infuriating places to catch a cab. Whether you catch a cab on the street or at the airport, taxi drivers in Cairo have a nasty tendency to be rude, aggressive and consistently overcharge. Even if you’ve agreed on a price before you start the trip, Cairo taxi drivers will invariably ask for much more when it is time to pay. Cairo veterans claim the best tactic is just to give them what you think is fair and walk away without getting into an argument – it might just be worth getting a pre-booked airport taxi and saving yourself the hassle!
The standard white cabs of Caracas are of a good enough quality, but there is a fleet of pirate cabs (usually nothing more than unmarked cars with a paper taxi sign stuck in the window) who are notoriously unreliable. When you arrive at the airport, your taxi should be pre-booked through an airport shuttle service, or you are liable to get more than you bargained for on a ride through the Venezuelan capital.
In Moscow, there is a “gypsy cab” culture – if you stand by the road with your thumb out, pretty much anyone will pull over and give you a lift, looking to earn a little money as they drive through the city. However, this service is completely unregulated, and can lead to arguments over fares. Unless your Russian is up to scratch, it’s best to stick to the official taxis!
Sometimes taxi fares feel like daylight robbery, but in Mexico this is no exaggeration! The taxi fleet in Mexico City is made up of white and green VW Beetles – they may look cute, but don’t be fooled. There have been persistent reports of passengers being driven to an ATM and forced to withdraw large sums of money. Using airport transfer services and only taking taxis that you have contacted in advance are the best ways to avoid the problem.
The taxi drivers in this Nigerian city aren’t the problem – it’s the thousand and one petty officials who will flag your cab down looking for a bribe. “Official” checkpoints pepper the roads, and travel through the city can rapidly become very tiresome, so catch a cab in the street at your own risk!
By far the best way to avoid taxi trouble when you’ve just arrived in a country is to get an airport transfer. In many countries, the actual licensed cabs tend to be reliable and honest – it’s the unlicensed ones who are most likely to try and scam you. It may be tempting to jump in the car of the first cab who offers to pick you up, but it is well worth sticking with the big licensed taxi companies and airport shuttle services when it comes to finding your way around an unfamiliar city.