I have been to thirty countries so far and have ridden in taxis countless of times. This year I promised myself to avoid taking taxis if I can help it and find alternative transportation. This is a two part post about taxi scams. Part 1 will focus on the scams itself and Part 2 will focus on How to Avoid and Deal with Taxi Scams. Here are the Top 10 Taxi Scams Around the World (in no particular order):
1. Long Hauling – Basically the taxi driver knows you’re a tourist and takes you on a scenic route instead of the more direct route (without telling you).
2. Taxi driver asks if you want to take the freeway (highway) or streets (local) – This is a trick question and is mostly common in Las Vegas, but could be applicable in many parts of the world. Hint: The freeway is almost always the most expensive option, so know your geography.
3. Fake bill switch – Basically you hand over the driver a large note, $100 or $50 and the taxi driver pulls a fast one on you. Afterwards, he will tell you that you handed him a fake.
4. Surcharges – The driver may add a surcharge to your fare and give you a BS reason for it
5. Turbo meter – Basically the driver has installed a device in his taxi which speeds up the meter faster than usual, thus increasing the cost of your taxi
6. Giving you a high fare quote – This is common in Latin America where fares are negotiated before getting into the vehicle.
7. Telling you a certain road is closed – The driver tells you the main road is closed and you must go the “long way”.
8. The taxi driver picks up his phone and calls someone – This is a clear sign that a scam is going on.
9. The driver picks someone up – This is a clear sign something bad is going to happen.
10. No Change – The driver tells you he doesn’t have any change.
Continue to How to Avoid and Deal with Taxi Scams.