Very Sad Story, Taxi Scam
Hi, I would never visit Prague again after myself and my partner were completely conned by a Prague taxi driver. I had heard there was some sort of taxi scam going on there, so I said to my partner we would only negotiate fares before we got into a taxi. On our second night there we negotiated a price of 300 with the taxi driver, he drove us back to our apartment. My partner gave the taxi driver 500 CZK, and he saw very clearly the taxi driver produce a wad of notes put the 500 in with the wad of notes and produce a 50 and stated to my partner, that is what you gave me. My partner said 'no way we gave you 500 and I just saw what you did' the driver denied, with that my partner said call the police then because I am not moving out of this taxi until the police arrives. The taxi driver got out and walked around to the back of the cab and dragged my partner out, and was laying into him. I intervened (natural instincts to help defend my man) and I got a wallop in the mouth from the taxi driver, and I fell to the floor banging my head. I got up off the floor with blood oozing from my split lip there was blood all over my hands and down my jacket, my partner had by this time as you can imagine was fighting the taxi driver, good and hard, I staggered to a pub I saw and asked people to come out and help us, a few people came out and the taxi man jumped back in his cab and sped off. The police were called, but we had no recollection of what the cab number was as it all happened so fast, then an ambulance was called for me.. I did not go because they wouldn't let my partner come and there was no way especially after what had happened, and being a woman in a foreign city that I would go alone. This happened last Thursday the 16th February 2006 and I am sure that I am still in shock about it all. Prague is a very beautiful city but my opinion is there is a very big taxi scam going on out there, and as you can appreciate. I will never visit Prague again. It holds too many bad memories for me. Karen and Chris.
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 is call or pre-book taxi in advance as 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.