Sunday, August 2, 2009

Taxi Scam Stories

Avoiding Taxi Scams

Developed-world cities regulate the number of taxis on their streets so every driver will be assured a certain amount of business. In return every taxi is periodically inspected for safety, and must charge the same metered rate--about $1.50 or $2 to get in the cab; about $1.50 per mile; and wait time of about $12-$30 per hour, which kicks in when the cab is stationary or moving less than ten mph. (This compensates the driver for traffic.) Thus a two- or three-mile trip costs about $5 in rich countries.
In much of the developing world, however, there is little or no regulation of the taxi business. Anyone who has a car can become a taxi driver. It thus becomes dog-eat-dog for customers, with a bargaining system evolving that favors locals who know the score, and rips-off those who don't.
What's the best way to save money and avoid being cheated when traveling by taxi? read more...

How to Spot the Taxi Money Travel Scam

Taxi scams involving money are one of the most common travel scams. Overseas travelers should be especially aware of this scam. Not knowing the native language of a country or its currency can lead to a driver taking advantage of them.

  • Check that doors can be opened and unlocked from inside the car before stepping into it. Some taxi drivers use child-locking features or remove handles to demand money from riders before unlocking the doors and letting them out of the vehicle.

  • Keep an eye on the meter. Taxi drivers who claim that the meter is broken, unnecessary or not part of the taxi driving protocol may be interested in overcharging you for your fare. They may also try to start the meter using an increased rate. Learn how much the usual starting rates are for taxi rides so that you can determine if you're being ripped off

  • Taking a taxi in other countries can be a harrowing expirience according to MSN Travel Guides
    "Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, has a reputation as a scammer's paradise, with legions of con men swindling doe-eyed visitors. I'd spent two hassle-free weeks in the beautiful, fascinating country before I got to Hanoi. Once there, I ended up setting a personal record: I was scammed three times in one day — and was nearly scammed a fourth.

    First, my taxi driver had a meter that sped faster than he did; my ride to the Temple of Literature ended up costing four times what Lonely Planet had advised. Then, on the return trip, a different driver tried to drop me off in the middle of nowhere — unless I paid twice the fee we’d agreed to before we left. (I thought I’d outsmarted the speeding-meter scam. I was wrong.)

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