Traveling is always fun, for various reasons. Being new in the city always makes you excited, and a little nervous at the same time. When you think of new experiences to have in a city, where you’ve never been before, your happiness knows no leaps and bounds. But the nervousness comes from that anticipated experience, not being particularly good for you. One among such reasons for being nervous, during your travel in a new city, is being scammed.
From time to time, we hear from friends and fellow travelers, who have been scammed on airport taxi rides to their hotel, or any other part of the city, about their experience. So, if you happen to be traveling in a new city, it’s best to learn how to avoid scams on airport taxi.
11 Ways to avoid airport taxi scams
It is easy to scam foreigners as well as first time travelers in a new city. Because, you are feeling mighty jet-lagged and tired after the long flight, you’ll feel disoriented when you land at the busy airport. It further complicates things and makes you more vulnerable, if you don’t speak the same language.
During such occasions, you can steer clear of airport taxi scams with a bit of research, strategy and preparedness. So, here are a few simple ways to help you avoid common airport taxi scams:
1. Ask for airport taxi rates
Do a little research, ask your friends who have traveled in the city, consult a guide book or check the prices for airport taxi service on particular routes on the internet. Knowing the taxi fares of different routes, to get in and out of the city from the airport, helps you avoid being blindsided by taxi drivers looking to scam you.
2. Hire licensed airport taxi
For safe rides to and from the airport, always hire licensed airport taxi services. You’ll see that such taxi services are registered with drivers who are professionals. They keep their license and their photo clearly on display for the passengers to see.
You don’t want to get in a cab with a shady driver, who is always seen hanging around in airports, waiting for unsuspecting travelers. They are the ones who later hold off your luggage hostage, until you pay an expensive taxi fare.
3. Get smart apps
Smart apps in your phone helps you find licensed airport taxi service provider on the go. Get smart apps like Taxi Magic is available in over 25 cities in United States.
4. Agree on a price
Before you hire an airport taxi, ask how much it will cost you to reach your destination, whether you are travelling to the airport from a specified location or vice versa. Be sure to make it clear, the fare you are agreeing to pay, should also include luggage transportation. And, if you are traveling in a group, the taxi service rate should cover the transportation of the entire group, as well as the luggage.
5. Have small change in local currency
Make sure that you have exchanged the currency, and have small bills and coins to pay for the airport taxi. You can get easily scammed if you don’t have change. After the ride, when you pay a large bill as your fare, in order to get away with the change, taxi drivers pretend of not having smaller bills to return. It is a very popular excuse, and foreigners especially fall for it pretty easily.
6. Keep a map
Keeping a map of the city, you are traveling in, is pretty useful, to say the least. It is helpful when you are in a maze like city, and there are several routes to take you to your destination. Sometimes, cabbies may want to take the long way around, to hike up the fare. This is one of the most common scams a taxi driver can pull on you. He will ask if you would like to take the Scenic Route into the city, which may happen to be the longest route and not at all scenic.
At times like these, you can show the cabbie a particular route you want to take. This gives him a hint that you know about all the possible routes. You know how much time the shortest route takes and the cost.
7. Get the details
Ask the licensed airport taxi service provider, you hired, to give you the details of your transport. For example, your airport taxi’s color and model, as well as the contact details of your taxi driver.
Don’t go around talking out loud about who or what company you hired for your airport transport. Also, don’t go around asking if they are the airport taxi you hired. Taxi drivers who are looking to scam passengers can approach you with this information. They can take you for a ride, literally!
Your taxi driver will approach you first, as they know all the details of your travel. Before you get into the airport taxi, ask for your taxi driver’s identification, just to be on the safe side. He will be more than happy to show it to you.
8. No broken meter
Another common taxi scam is the broken meter. A cheating taxi driver will say that his taxi’s meter is broken, and to pay the fare he asks, or more like decides. Know that in this scenario, you’ll be paying more (read: expensive!) taxi fare.
So, what can you do? The answer is simple – take another airport taxi. I would suggest you to get a licensed airport taxi that can be hired with just a short phone call, for emergencies such as this.
9. No better hotel
Most taxi drivers especially in developing countries are paid by cheap hotels to bring them customers. So, asking them if they know a good place to stay is a big mistake! You are not going to see these taxi drivers once they drop you off at a crappy hotel.
Book a room in a good hotel beforehand and stick to your plan.
Sometimes along the drive, a taxi driver may ask you, where you are staying at. After finding the answer, they might say that the place is not good, or even closed down. Then they will suggest you a great hotel to stay at. There is no better hotel!
10. Get off at your destination only
This happens rarely but you can never be too sure. Sometimes you hear news about a taxi driver leaving a passenger stranded in the middle of nowhere and taking away his luggage. This is more of an out and out crime, than a taxi driver trying to shake more money off of you.
As they always say – Prevention is better than cure. Do not get out of the airport taxi unless it’s your destination or hotel.
11. Be respectful
While trying to avoid getting ripped off by an airport taxi driver, keep in mind that not all airport taxi drivers are scammers. It may not be intentional but your action may lead an honest taxi driver to believe that you are belittling him. So, when you are in a new city, be polite in your dealings with taxi drivers. Otherwise, he may be tempted to do the same that you are unintentionally accusing him of.
Chances are, you’ll meet more licensed and courteous airport taxi drivers than dishonest ones.
Knowing these common airport taxi scams increases your chances of avoiding them. But for a reliable and safe transport to and from the airports in New York,Call: (518) 423-5752. Chet’s Airport & Taxi Service is a professional and licensed airport taxi service company. You can also reserve your personal taxi online here in advance.