How many times have you had bad taxi experiences? For instance experiences like you had to pay more than you’ve bargained, you didn’t feel safe travelling with your driver, you were late for your flight/event, the taxi never arrived ,the driver had no idea about your destination. If you’ve been in any of above or similar situations you had probably chosen an unlicensed taxi service, something that should be on your don’t list. Not only the unlicensed taxi services cause inconvenience and discomfort, but also they can prove dangerous and threaten your safety. Unlicensed taxi service users have reported experiences where they were scared to bargain with their drivers fearing the dangerous turn of events. Tourists , people who travel more often and mostly to cities and places new to them fall victim to choosing unlicensed taxi services. The differences in language and currency really get some people practically robbed when paying the taxi fare. So here comes the real point, what are the practical tips on avoiding unlicensed taxi services.
Exploring and doing homework before choosing your taxi transport service is vital, this way your chances of choosing unlicensed taxi services are very low. Search for taxi services in your area, their websites and payment options, ask your friends/family/colleagues about licensed taxi services they’ve used and chosen from the best options.
If you are a tourist and you’ll need a taxi service for pick and drop from the airport, make sure you book a licensed taxi service beforehand to avoid inconvenience. Book online and check for the company’s credibility in their area, ask friends/relatives or trusted sources for recommendation and experiences. Sometimes the officials at the airport can help in choosing the right taxi service.
Know the fare rates plus any changes in them before booking. The licensed taxi services charge fairly around the local fare rates or even cheaper but the unlicensed taxi services have unreasonable taxi fares. Most of their drivers will bargain for a fixed price of a trip, especially if you’re not a local, to make extra bucks for themselves, avoid getting ripped off by using these unlicensed taxis.
Book before time, victims of bad unlicensed taxi service experiences are usually people who choose their transport at the last minute or are in a hurry, yes emergencies do occur but your personal safety is a priority in order to attend to the emergency. Have a licensed taxi service membership or call for a taxi instead of hailing one on the road, keep a backup licensed taxi service number so you can call at the last minute. Most countries/cities have helplines for emergency vehicle services or taxis, use those instead of falling victim to a scam
Look for real reviews, people who have been ripped by unlicensed taxi services to make it a point to post their reviews online and help another folk to avoid the XYZ service, this way it’s easier to make your way around choosing the licensed taxi service.
On the other hand, some unlicensed taxi service company are so popular with the locals that it’s easy to fall trap their hype, Google registered taxi services to avoid booking with such local unlicensed companies. For example, in Istanbul, the number of registered licensed taxi services are approximately 19,000, but the same is the number of unregistered unlicensed taxi services. The solution to this problem is always opting for the official cabs, knowing the custom taxi colors in the respective cities (yellow in Istanbul, Turkey, white in Riyadh, K.S.A). If you’re booking your taxi through an app, make sure the app is registered for the taxi service it’s offering, and don’t forget to check the car’s number before getting inside. In China there is a term used for unlicensed taxi drivers ‘black taxis’, the scary part about such scams is that they adopt all the features of licensed taxis, same colored taxis, and lights except that they aren’t official. Such scam taxi service providers make innocent tourists their targets. Precautions are always better than solutions. To avoid getting bluffed by such black taxis know the standard taxi fares in the city so you don’t get looted by the driver. Check for fake meters, usually, if you are riding in a licensed taxi the meter will show 0 (RMB for example) if this isn’t the case immediately ask the driver to stop the ride and report the taxi’s number to police/concerned department if you can.
Everybody falls trap to one of unlicensed taxi service scams once in a while if you’ve had such experiences to share with us, solutions can be worked out. Do practice the precautions and know that a healthy level of suspicion is better than blind trust, weren’t we told from childhood to not trust strangers.