Taxi you cry, one arm waving. A ramshackle car pulls over. Do you get in? Well you are in another country and you do need a lift to your hotel. But, still have you ever been confronted with this situation? Sometimes when Im abroad I cut out the middleman and rent my own car for the duration. But car hire, Gatwick Airport for a tour of London is a far cry from getting someone to chauffeur you around and make you forget about the tedium of your working commute.
Not everything is as it seems. In fact many cities across the world have a reputation for harbouring some of the most downright untrustworthy and even dangerous taxi drivers. So heres my guide to the worst cities for taxi rides and some tips on how to stay safe. Itll make car hire seem a much a much better option.
Now, Im not trying to put you off your well-earned holiday so in among these images and warnings of disaster Ive added some fabulous pictures of the city in question. After all, it doesnt do to get a completely bad image of some of the most interesting and stunning cities on Earth.
And, remember, if you manage to hail a officially licensed cab then you should have fewer worries; there are plenty out there for tourist or businessman in the know. Just keep your fingers crossed that you dont hail an unscrupulous one!
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
A couple of years ago a Malaysian-produced magazine aimed at expats subtly called The Expat condemned Malaysias taxis as the Worst in the World. According to it 200 foreigners from 30 countries took part in a survey and among 23 countries compared, Malaysia finished last when judged by taxi quality, courtesy, availability and expertise.
The seat of Malaysian taxis carry this sticker
Translating roughly it says, Please be polite, do not do anything indecent in this taxi
Makes a change from the typical Do Not Smoke/Eat/Drink I suppose.
Moscow certainly is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Try to put the stereotypical harsh, perpetually snow covered image out of your mind and you wont look an idiot coming off the aeroplane in your boots and winter woollies.
Moscow has an incredible variation in its taxis. Some cater for the less affluent:
And some are for the wealthy. Nice Maybach, Porsche and a Porsche
Driving in Rome is a chore at the best of times and a dangerous one. Typically over 200 people die each year on the capitals roads. Motorcyclists weave through pedestrians on zebra crossings and general courtesy seems to be ignored. As a passenger, whatever you do, dont sit in the front seat. Youll be forever instinctively braking and it wont do your blood pressure any good!
According to the Hotels.com annual poll of 2010, Rome was voted as worst city (although Paris and New York had the dubious honour of having the rudest taxi drivers).
Lagos is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. This is one of the cities where the ‘officials’ that are more of a problem then the drivers. So called check points and spot checks can be an expensive way for unscrupulous people to scam you.
Congestion is somewhat more extreme than you find in other cities.
In Caracas you really must find a legitimate cab. The city has a plethora of unlicensed taxi that will likely take ages to get to your destination, racking up a huge fare.
Mexico City, Mexico
Large fares may be a pain but its not the end of the world. In Mexico City the fleets of green and white VW Beetles were the most dangerous place for women in the city and stories about kidnapping and robberies in taxicabs were part of everyday lives, according to Alex Villarino. Read More
Infamous for overcharging passengers, immoral taxi drivers will often pretend to have no change so you are forced into handing over some big notes.
On the plus side the taxi fleet comprises 4 colourful and distinctive liveries thus making it easy to identify a genuine cab.
With a population of 12 million people congestion isnt helped by Manilas propensity for large taxis. The Jeepneys are extraordinary vehicles and a big departure from what you may expect.
If you approach a taxi and there appears to be someone else in other than the driver then dont attempt to get in. Ive heard too many stories to believe this is anything other than a robbery set up.
No set fares and no meters spell trouble for the unwary traveller. Try not to look like a tourist and get a set fare from your driver up front and you should be ok.
The bona fide taxis have a distinctive black and white colour scheme.
So take your time, get a bit of local knowledge, learn a bit of the culture and use your common sense for safe taxi trips.Post Categories: Green transport reviews