Using a taxi in Prague
Unfortunately in Prague taxi drivers have become a scar on its reputation. Fortunately, getting around Prague by public transport is so easy and convenient that you may be able to forget about using taxis. Taking a taxi is a good choice when: you are travelling with a lot of luggage, especially from Prague Airport; it is freezing cold; you need to get to a distant part of Prague; or you need to travel at night when the metro isn't running and the trams and buses run less frequently.
From the press: Taxi drivers in Prague cruelly beat up and rob a customer over forty Czech Crowns (approximately 2 EUR)
Taxi Fair Place
- The campaign is the latest part of City Hall’s ongoing effort to address the taxi overcharging problem in Prague. The operators are obliged to guarantee a fair price, high quality service and safety.
Taxi services in Prague can be divided into three sectors. There are major taxicab companies, operating call-for-taxi services (radio-taxi) or from regulated taxi stands, where overpricing is rare and regulation mostly in place. There are independent drivers, who make pick-ups on the street; cheating is mostly associated with these cars. The problem with overcharging is so huge, that it's mentioned in Lonely Planet guide books and it was featured on CNN and BBC couple of years ago. Tourists taking taxi in Prague are being advised to be very careful, request a receipt and make sure to know the approximate amount to be charged before entering the cab.
Have you been overcharged, robbed by a taxi driver? Submit official complain
or report dishonest taxi drivers at firstname.lastname@example.org
and to the operator of the relevant taxi stand. In order to proceed your complain please keep the receipt from the taxi-meter with clearly legible price, rate, registration no. and name of the driver.
How to Avoid Being Cheated by Local Taxis in the Czech Republic
There are different licensed taxis, black unlicensed and ‘Uber-type’ operators in the Czech Republic. Some are quite honest but some of them engage in sharp practices. They use several means to cheat unsuspecting tourists. They overcharge visitors, and some even go as far as passing through a longer route to charge more when they could have gone by a shorter route, adjusting the taximeter to ‘turbo’ to run faster, or simply not turning the meter on and demanding a higher fare.
Many visitors find using alternative companies like Uber for shorter city rides or private airport transfers companies much safer, rather than risking taking taxis from less respected companies. Even though Uber and other shared ride companies don’t comply with local laws, they are safe and customer-friendly. For customers with luggage or travelling from or to the airport or train station, Prague Airport Transfers sro is the best choice.
Another problem with Prague taxis is timeliness. Some of them usually arrive late which could be dangerous, especially when a visitor arrives in the night or needs a transfer to the airport or train station. Some of these taxi operators are very corrupt if you just flag them on the street, so you need to be very careful with them.
To avoid falling into any of these situations, there are a few tips below. Once you arm yourself with all these tips, it will be difficult for you to be cheated.
Another tip is to ensure that any taxi you want to take is a registered one. They usually have a yellow roof lamp permanently installed and they have the word “Taxi” boldly written on both sides of the car in black letters. Apart from that, the name of the company that operates it is also written too. You can also see the rates and the licence written on the front doors. Isn’t that transparent enough?
You might need to write down the company name and the license number in case of necessity. It is advisable to write the information down when the driver is watching. There is a reason for that. If he complains or objects to it, then don’t take the taxi. It is a sign that he is not 100 percent honest. Remember, writing the rate on the body does not mean that he can’t take you by a longer route to make you pay more. It is just that such a situation is less likely with registered, respected taxi companies.
Another reason to let him see you is that it sometimes makes a driver be at his best. They usually discard their ulterior agenda when they see that you have taken down all their information.
To avoid argument, it is advisable to ask exactly how much the trip will cost and if the price is right, you can pay in advance. Not only that, you can search online before you even come over. You can browse to have an idea of how much it will likely cost to travel by taxi from that particular station or airport to your destination. You can get a good estimate online. So, when the taxi gives you a figure that is much higher, you know what to do.
You could let him know the price you got. When you tell him that you were told that it costs around a certain amount to take a taxi, he will reduce his figure if he had earlier planned to cheat you. However, this idea can also be counter-productive. Sometimes if the real fare is a little lower than what you have in mind, he will just accept your own figure. After all, you came up with the figure.
When the car begins to move, you need to pay attention to the taximeter. You need to be sure that it corresponds to the rates written on the body of the car. If it does not correspond, the chances are that the rate of the taximeter is higher than that of the car. When you discover this, you should get him to stop the car immediately.
Once you discover this, you have the right to disembark without paying a dime. But some drivers may want to push their luck with you by asking you to pay for the distance already covered. You need to counter that argument by telling him to take you back to the exact location he picked you up from. To avoid this kind of argument, it is better to check the taximeter immediately the car begins to move.
You must always ask for a receipt even if you don’t need it for anything; it will confirm that you have not been short-changed. This is because a taxi that has cheated you is often unwilling to issue a receipt. Some of them will tell you that their printing machine just packed up or it just ran out of paper. And some will say straight to your face that they will not issue a receipt. At this point, you should also make it very clear that without a receipt you are not paying a dime. He will issue a receipt and sometimes issue a receipt for the right fare. If the amount on the receipt is lower than what he had charged earlier, it means he would have cheated you. You don’t need to waste your time arguing with him. Just pay the amount on the receipt and leave.
The value of one dollar and one pound is much higher than the value of one CZK. But some of these taxis do not want you to know. They often make you believe that the fare is the same whether you pay it in dollars, pounds or CZK. This is why you should always find out the current exchange rate at the point of your arrival or even before the trip at all.
For inner city taxi trips most people seems to recommend Profi Taxi and AAA taxi. But even though, they seem to have good advertisement and media reputation, still occasionally passengers encounter problems with them. From my personal experience of 10years of using taxi companies I can say it is getting better. But still tourists should be on watch as they are and probably always will be "like an alarm for Prague Taxi drivers" thinking this passenger has "money" so we should rip him off. Many Prague taxi call centres including most reputable one like AAA a Profi taxi still have to deal with "on time arrivals" and some of them with driver’s arrogant behaviour. Especially if they have to provide sort ride taxi transfer they seems to be very unpleasant. Yes, rule to avoid been overcharged is to call or pre-book taxi in advance. It reduces chances from unmemorable trip experience.
Prague Taxi safety tips
Here are some tips that might save you nightmares and a few hundred crowns:
• Don't get into a taxi that is parked in front of the train station or at a tourist site. These are waiting for unsuspecting tourists and are known to charge rates several times higher than they should be.
• If you need to catch a taxi on the street, make sure it is a real, registered taxi. The yellow roof lamp must be permanently installed and must say TAXI in black letters on both sides. The company name, license number and rates should be printed on both front doors.
• Try to find out beforehand how much your ride should cost. If you're stopping a taxi on the street, you can ask the driver before getting in and even pay in advance if the amount sounds reasonable. If you're ordering a taxi by phone (always a good idea), you can get a price estimate from the dispatcher.
• Once in the car, make sure that the rate on the taximeter corresponds to the price list posted in the car. If it doesn't, bring it to the driver's attention or have him stop the car and get off.
• You have the right to request a printed receipt from the driver. If he refuses to give it to you, you can refuse to pay the fare.
There seem to be more stories of fraud, extortion and violent attacks committed by Prague's taxi drivers than in any other city in the world.
Reasons for this were that there were too many licenses issued and no regulation of their activities. However the final straw appears to have broken the camel's back. One passenger objected to being charger 8,000 CZK (250 USD) for a ride of about 3 kilometres and the City Hall had to step in with a solution. The deregulation of rates from October 15, 1996 had been cancelled and instead the strict guidelines were introduced. Unfortunately it didn't help much.
We having reports from many tourists that Prague Taxi drivers are happy when they can accept foreign currency. Not because they need it but it is a chance for them to rip you off. So be aware and keep in mind that 1 Pound is not same like 1 CZK .. It seems that many taxi drivers there don't want to know exchange rates.