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.
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.