Simon Calder: Cabbies in Europe's capital cities are inclined to cash in
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
Monday 02 July 2012
For any villain intent on self-enrichment, the newly arrived tourist is an excellent prospect. And because taxi drivers are often the first people that you and I encounter in a strange city, they are in a prime position to capitalise. You are naïve about every subject from the city's geography to the regulations about taxi fares. So if a smiling gentlemen informs you that fares are fixed according to destination, and that a six-mile ride will cost €27, you pay up (as I did in Cyprus earlier this summer).
It is unsurprising that taxi drivers in countries previously behind the Iron Curtain perform worst in this and similar surveys. Under communism, taxi drivers in every country from Yugoslavia to Ukraine, used their relative entrepreneurial freedom to act as middle managers of the black economy.
Cabbies in EU capitals are also inclined to cash in. In its guide to Athens, Lonely Planet lists taxi drivers under "Dangers & Annoyances", saying: "Athenian taxi drivers have an awful reputation."
So what is the unsuspecting tourist to do? Ask locals what the price should be, and walk away from cabbies who overcharge. Better still, use public transport until the authorities in the offending countries sort out a sensible regime for taxi regulation, as we enjoy in the UK.
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Too upsetting? Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 - £18000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client is a high-end niche t...
£20000 - £40000 per annum + Award-Winning Benefits: Flight Centre Business Tra...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Increases in tourism, the introduction of new...