Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 6, 2014

Taxi tip for Rome

The scene below is not one of Rome’s most photogenic. It is the taxi queue outside Roma Termini, the main railway station in the city.

Rome taxi

This is the official taxi rank where you will be able to get a registered taxi with a meter. I find the drivers to be courteous and helpful. Many speak a bit of English, but accents can be a problem, so it is a good idea to have the name of the street you want to go to written down. You will be charged the fare shown on the meter plus a couple of euros more for your suitcases.

You must go to the taxi from the queue. Do not go with someone offering you a car not in the queue. They will take you to an illegal taxi and charge you whatever they want, always much more than you should pay.

It is very easy to be taken in by them. Just yesterday I was led to a car and told my fare to Via Rasella would be €30. I happen to know the fare is about €8 so I told him where to go.

I went back to the queue and it happened again!  You really have to know what you are doing.  The second one told me there was a strike in the city and I had to take his car, which was absolute rubbish.

I can speak Italian and they still try to put it over me. It can be very difficult for strangers to the city who don’t speak the language.

If possible ask your hotel roughly how much a taxi fare should be so if you get caught by one of these illegal drivers or their touts you will know to refuse them.

It is a pity that this is the first impression many people get of this wonderful city.


Responses

  1. Thankyou for that information Debra! I personally have had excellent experiences with the taxi drivers in Rome as being honest and reliable(obviously the legal ones).. However my sister got in a taxi from the Termini station, who took her on a circuitous route around Rome, charged her 50 euros, and in actual fact the hotel was only a kilometre from the station! Not surprisingly she hates Rome whereas I love it!

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    • It is a pity that this can ruin your impression of Rome. Surely there could be an official in place watching these illegal operators.

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  2. We were just in Rome! Our taxi driver was very polite and helpful 🙂

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    • The legitimate drivers are usually great. It is the shifty ones you have to watch. I’m glad you had a good experience.

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  3. I had the same thing as Paula’s sister, only the driver covered the meter, I knew some of them did that and I knew he had done it, I didn’t know how far the address I wanted to go to was though and wasn’t aware I was being driven around in circles, but I did ask three times where the meter was, how much it was costing etc. Each time the driver just pointed to a screen and told me the fare would show when we arrived!!
    When we did arrive he tried to charge me 40 euro, after a huge argument where he grabbed my bags off me and threw them in the back of the car and wasn’t going to give them to me until I paid 40 euro, I managed to grab the bags back, started counting money – I was going to give him 10 euro (still too much) and he hit my hand as I was counting the money so I dropped the euro coins I had in my hand on the ground and walked away with my bags calling for the polizia!! That was when he gave up!
    I haven’t caught a taxi since, but I am very aware of the questions I need to ask next time!

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    • Yours was a particularly bad experience. Once you have been caught by one of these drivers you have not much option but to pay up or they can get a bit nasty. Even if they don’t have a proper licence I don’t see why they can’t play fair with the fare.

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  4. Wise words. Thanks for the tip.

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    • Quite a few of our friends have been caught. I always try to look confident and let them know that I know where I am going.

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  5. One does have to be so careful when travelling abroad. I don’t like taking taxis, but sometimes they’re a necessary evil. 🙂

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    • I use taxis where necessary. The metro in Rome is not that easy to navigate and thieves work the trains very efficiently.

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  6. We also had a bad experience at the station. Our first trip and very naive. We paid €25 for what we thought should have been less than €10 and the clever driver pick-pocketed Jim’s wallet for an extra €100 in the confustion of arguing the fare. One very expensive taxi trip. Fortunately we loved Rome and would go back any time.

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    • Oh dear! You win the Termini horror story. There really should be a police presence. The authorities must know what goes on. You would think the legitimate drivers would want these incidents stopped.

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  7. Great tip Deb. I do know how easy it is to be confused especially if you are tired

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  8. Deb. That anonymous comment was from me. New phone. Lyn

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  9. It is not one of Rome’s greatest attractions is it! We must have been lucky in the past although last month we walked to our accommodation.

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  10. Deb, thank goodness we had someone pick us up from Termini. We took the train from Florence. Termini is so crowded, it’s overwhelming. When we first arrived at the station, we looked around quite unsure, after our lovely and quiet arrival in Florence. We were constantly watching our pockets, purses and tried to look like we knew where we were going, although our maps would have been a dead give away. My aunt lived in Rome at the time – thank goodness she spoke Italian.

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  11. This is one of the reasons I try to always get off the train other than at Termini. These are much worse experiences than I’ve had with taxi drivers but I know that exiting on the side of the terminal puts you at much higher risk of those illegal drivers than exiting the front of the building where the legal taxi queue is.

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    • It is actually better than it used to be. The official queue was at the side and less obvious and the touts would approach from the front.

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