How to Take a Taxi in Rome and Not Get Ripped Off

15 Nov


Photo courtesy of Aurora

Rule #1: It ain’t easy.

After seeing two guests in two days get ridiculously overcharged for a ride from Termini train station, I’ve come to the breaking point on this topic. I’ve seen this happen for years and have finally decided to throw my two cents in, with the hopes that it might help someone avoid getting taken advantage of.

Let me preface this by saying that NOT ALL taxi drivers in Rome are going to rip you off. My father in law was a cab driver here for 20 years, and as honest as they come. However, he personally refused to work at either of the airports or the train station, because he didn’t want to be associated with the group of taxi drivers most typically known for ripping off tourists.

Let me also say that getting ripped off by a taxi driver isn’t limited just to tourists or visitors who don’t speak Italian. Many Romans I know, including my own husband, son of a taxi driver himself, have been ripped off by a cab driver here. So it can happen to the best of us. Over my years of working with study abroad students and tourists, I have picked up a few tips (and horror stories!) to share.

1. Where it happens

Like I said above, the majority of the exorbitant fees are getting charged by cab drivers from Fiumicino airport and Termini station, but personally I think Ciampino airport is the worst. At Ciampino they won’t even take me and my husband as clients. They continually say “C’è da aspettare” meaning “You have to wait” while we observe a multitude of taxis actively soliciting English-speaking or foreign tourists, whisking them away with Euro signs flashing in their eyes. It’s a sort of organized ring of taxi drivers headed up by a gruff woman who farms them out to the unsuspecting tourists exiting the airport. Think Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf and you’ll get the idea.

I’ve seen at Ciampino that taxi drivers who aren’t part of this “ring” or scam won’t work there. They’re either intimidated or simply refuse, but I think it’s a circle closed off to drivers who aren’t in on it. The reason I say this is because, in addition to the level of organization (ie, refusing rides to residents who speak Italian), once when we took a cab out to Ciampino, the driver said he wouldn’t pick anyone up for the trip back into the city. He just alluded to the fact that he “couldn’t.” In addition, we’ve tried several times to get into taxis that had just arrived bringing passengers and weren’t part of this “ring,” and they have refused us rides and driven away from the airport without picking anyone up. There are police everywhere that turn a blind eye. I’ve even heard rumors that the drivers at Ciampino are police informants so are able to get away with ripping off tourists in exchange for the information they provide to the police. Boh. I have no idea about that, but I can assure you it’s a shady situation there and you’re much better off taking a bus service like Terravision or SIT Bus Shuttle.

The reason they won’t take us from Ciampino is that they know that we know how much it should cost for a taxi. One of the best city ordinances I’ve seen since I’ve lived here is one that came out last October, setting fixed rates for cabs from Fiumicino and Ciampino airport to the city center: €30 to/from Ciampino and €40 to/from Fiumicino. In my experience, the dishonest drivers are asking €60 from Fiumicino, making up reasons like extra baggage fees or extra passengers cost more. The fixed rates are for up to four people with luggage. For more information about the fixed rates, click here.

Termini is a bit trickier because it isn’t regulated by fixed rates. In general, a ride from Termini to most destinations within the downtown area should run you anywhere from €8 to €15. Unfortunately, I have had guests and students who have been charged anywhere from €40 to €75.

2. How they do it

I think most of the dishonest taxi drivers are preying on your insecurity regarding the city and lack of finesse with the local language. It always amazes me how many times people KNOW they are getting totally ripped off, yet still they fork over the cash, I suppose either out of fear, intimidation, or simply because they feel they have no way to argue.

There are many ways a taxi driver can manipulate the taxi meter to increase the fare, without you being aware of it. There are two tariff rates in Rome cabs: Tariffa 1 and Tariffa 2. Tariffa 2 should only come into play if you are leaving the city’s ring road, known as the GRA. Most tourists don’t need to go outside of the GRA, and although the airports are outside of it, they come under the fixed rate scheme so Tariffa 2 doesn’t count. In fact, with fixed rates, there’s no need for the taxi meter. Also, the taxi driver is obligated by city ordinance to inform the passenger when Tariffa 2 goes into effect. If they’re trying to cheat you, obviously they won’t tell you this. So keep your eye on the meter and when you’re within the city make sure Tariffa 2 isn’t turned on.

Some taxis have a timer below the meter that shows the time spent on the ride. Don’t let them try to trick you into thinking that the timer is part of the cab fare!

Often when an unscrupulous driver wants to rip off a passenger, he or she will purposely NOT bring the passenger to the requested destination. This unfortunately has happened many times with my guests, the taxi driver leaving the guests “stranded” on a nearby street. Why do they do this? Because they know that most likely the guests are going to a hotel or in any case to a destination where someone will speak Italian, and they are trying to avoid arguments when the Italian speaker at the destination realizes the exorbitant amount being charged. That’s why you should always be sure that you have a way of knowing exactly where you are before getting out of the taxi…either ask someone at your destination for a landmark or to wait for you. I always tell guests that if they have a cell phone they can call me and put the driver on the line so I can talk and give directions (a common refrain of drivers is that they “aren’t sure” where the address is, or in neighborhoods like Trastevere, that a particular street is “closed to traffic” which often isn’t true).

3. How to avoid it

Here are the steps I would take to protect myself against getting ripped off:

a) Don’t ever get into any car that isn’t an authorized Rome city taxi.

You’ll know the city taxis because they are usually white, and will have a coat of arms with “SPQR” marked on them, and should have a sign with “TAXI” on the roof. They should have a taxi meter and I highly recommend that you only take a taxi with a phone number written on the outside of the car. This is proof that they work with a radio cooperative and therefore theoretically the journeys are tracked by a dispatcher and theoretically you’ll have recourse if something goes awry during your journey. The phone number is four numbers and you have to add “06″ before those numbers if you were to call.

b) Always take down the taxi driver’s license number and be obvious about it as soon as you get in.

I’m not talking about the car license plate but the actual license number of the driver. Don’t be embarassed to make sure the driver sees that you are taking down his information. All taxi drivers are required to post their license number and name or taxi cooperative name on a plaque on the inside of the back seat door. Write it down. But don’t forget to ALSO GET THE PHONE NUMBER. It’s no good having the license number if you don’t know what company they work for. Again, the number is usually displayed on the outside door.

c) Be informed.

Try to know the general rate for where you’re going. Be vigilant about watching the meter for tricks with Tariffa 1 and 2. Know where you’re going, at least try to have looked at the route in advance or check for landmarks to make sure you’re going in the right general area. Don’t get out until you’re sure the driver has brought you to where you asked.

d) Don’t pay more if you are positive you’re being ripped off.

I know it can seem intimidating to argue about a fare if you don’t speak Italian. I speak Italian and have found it difficult to argue once the ride is over. That’s why it’s best to try to prevent it from happening by taking the steps above. But if you are absolutely SURE you’re being taken advantage of and you feel comfortable with trying to argue, don’t just pay what is being asked. If the driver insists that you pay, tell him you’re going to call the carabinieri (the number is 112). If you don’t have a phone and you are able to get help from someone at your destination who speaks Italian, get them to help you.

If all else fails, ask for a receipt and make sure you have the license number and phone number of the cab company written down. This will give you the information you need to try to get your money back.

On an amusing side note, don’t worry if your receipt ends up advertising the Cica-Cica Boom Night Club. Most receipts I’ve gotten look like this:

Thanks to Kitchaboy for the photo. I’m wondering where the friend could have possibly gone that cost €65, but that’s another story…

This is the official city form you can use to make a claim. Personally I don’t know if filling out the form would do much good or actually help you get a refund, but I suppose it couldn’t hurt trying. Another tactic would be to call the taxi company directly and report the offense, and see if they will try to help you get a refund.

I’ve never been able to try to help someone get a refund because usually the person doesn’t have any information about the cab, driver, company, etc. What’s more, I think that most people who take that information down don’t get ripped off because it’s not worth it for the driver to even try. So prevention I think is the best step to take.

4) General information about fares

A couple things to note before you get a taxi:

When you call for a taxi, the meter starts running the minute the taxi is dispatched to your location. So, for example, if the taxi dispatcher or recording tells you that “Taxi X” is arriving in 5 minutes, you should know that there will be 5 minutes’ worth of fare on the meter when it arrives.

There is always an initial fare on the meter, as follows:

€2,33 from 7 am to 10 pm on weekdays
€3,36 from 7 am to 10 pm on Sundays and holidays
€4,91 from 10 pm to 7 am all days of the week

Baggage is charged at a rate of €1,04 per bag

The taxi meter will go up 89 cents for every 141 meters (about 460 feet) on Tariffa 1, when traveling at a speed of 20 kph or more.

There is a lot more general information about how to call for a taxi and about taking taxis, identifying official taxis, cab company phone numbers, etc. to be found at this Slow Travel page.

Like most things, knowledge is power in this situation. I wouldn’t worry too much about riding in a taxi within the city limits, especially if you take the information down. It’s pretty safe to say that most rides of about 15 minutes in the center will run you anywhere from €8-€12. The riskiest rides are from the airports and train stations. I always recommend public transport as a better alternative if feasible.

Does anyone have a Rome taxi story to share? Or any taxi tips in general?

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79 Responses to “How to Take a Taxi in Rome and Not Get Ripped Off”

  1. L Michelle November 16, 2007 at 1:03 am #

    EXCELLENT ADVICE!!! This brings back SO many memories of taxi rides in Rome during the 80s and 90s. I used to pick up my visitors just so they wouldn’t be ripped off by the drivers at Fiumicino or Termini. If I couldn’t, I would insist that they go to the taxi stand outside where the legitimate taxis (most were yellow taxis at that time) were and not pay attention to the hacks inside offering to take them to Centro for a mere 70,000 or 80,000 lire (approximately $50-$80 at the time). I also told them if the meter didn’t work and the base prices weren’t posted in the cab, to get out and find another one. I was only ripped off a couple of times before I got up the nerve to protest when the price was not what I knew it should be.

    Love the part about the receipt from the Cica Cica Boom Club!! I remember getting a few receipts like that from taxi drivers. The club was close to where I worked and I used to pass it all the time. There were always guys standing outside trying to get people to come in. Some Italian date took me in there once but I was too young and dumb to know exactly what it was until someone told me later. Oh, the joys of living in Rome…. (I really do miss it though!)

  2. jessica in rome November 16, 2007 at 9:17 am #

    I really like taking taxis in the center and have never run into any problems. Not only do you not have to wait for a bus that may or may not come, taxis have access to a lot of restricted areas(like the Trevi, ect). This is my preferred way to go when I am alone or have to get somewhere where the metro doesn’t go. I hate buses so paying 8 euro is definitely worth not being felt up by the local pervs. Great advice Shelley! This will help people just be cautious and that is always a good thing in any big city :)

    • Lori July 21, 2014 at 3:55 am #

      “ect” ??

  3. gillian November 16, 2007 at 11:36 am #

    SUCH good clear advice…very helpful!

    I just had to turn in a dolce vita – lap dance taxi receipt to my 10 year old’s catholic school for reimbursement…imagine!

  4. Robert November 16, 2007 at 12:37 pm #

    Wonderful advice and thanks. Would you mind if I linked this post into an Italian forum I am a member of?

    I think it would be very good advice for visitors to the forum to read.

  5. Robert November 16, 2007 at 12:42 pm #

    When I flew into Ciampino with my mother (her first trip to Italy, only her second to Europe) I arranged a taxi via the hotel we were staying at – this cost us the flat rate of €40 and the driver was waiting for us on arrival (the fact that it took nearly an hour for our luggage to appear might have helped him with that though).

    Depending on where you are staying in Rome, if you do not want to use the public transport from the airports (though the train from Fiumicino and the Terravision bus from Ciampino are excellent) then try and book the taxi ahead of your visit to prevent being ripped off.

  6. Shelley, At Home in Rome November 16, 2007 at 12:56 pm #

    L Michelle: OMG, that’s funny that a date took you to the Cica Cica Boom. Not the most romantic date, eh? Good story.

    Jessica: I agree, I haven’t had too many problems with taxis taken from taxi stands within the center. I think many of those drivers are just looking to make an honest day’s pay and they know that the faster they get you to where you’re going, the sooner they can pick up another fare. But of course it’s always good to get the information, just in case… you never know.

    Gillian: Gives new meaning to the idea of sacred and profane! Why are all the taxi receipts for lap dance clubs? Wait. Don’t answer that. I don’t really need to know.

    Robert: No problem linking, thanks for asking! I hope this information helps and welcome anyone to link back to it as long as my blog is attributed and the material isn’t just copied and pasted. Good advice about booking a taxi in advance. I actually didn’t know that was possible with taxis, I thought it was only possible with shuttle companies. I learned the hard way that once you’re at Ciampino, you can’t call a taxi. No taxis will come out there if you call. Chalk it up as another suspicious sign that there is something shady about the way taxis are handled there. But I’ve never had trouble booking one to take me out there for a departure.

  7. kataroma November 16, 2007 at 1:08 pm #

    Shelley – I agree with you about the drivers at Ciampino. I really think that they are some kind of mafia. Once, Rene and I arrived back at Ciampino quite late at night from the Netherlands and we had a lot of bags so we thought we’d try a cab. We walked over to teh cabs and a very rough group of cab drivers were salivating at our obvious foreign-ness. But when Rene said ‘how much to the center” (of course he knows the fixed rate but he wanted to test their honesty before we got in the cab and ended up dumped in a dark alley somewhere) they said “50 euro”. Rene cursed them out and we hotfooted it over to the cotral bus (which costs euro 1.50 to Anagnina metro station -from which it’s a straight ride to our metro stop or to Termini).

    I actually think it’s best to avoid Terravision (which has a deal with Ryanair so they’re advertised on the plane) and take one of the other bus companies from Ciampino. “BusShuttle” buses go to Termini for euro 6 – cheaper than Terravision and don’t have to wait for the bus to to completely full like the Terravision buses and there are a couple of other companies which to to Termini directly and charge around euro 5. Alternatively, if you’re going somewhere along Metro Line A, then the quickest and cheapest way is to take the cotral bus to Anagnina and then hop on the metro.

  8. qualcosa di bello November 16, 2007 at 3:23 pm #

    this post makes me so glad for my good health that allows me to travel with just a backpack & hop the leonardo express to the termini & then walk to my roman destination without the hassle of the taxi.

  9. Nancy November 16, 2007 at 3:57 pm #

    I guess I was pretty lucky, or at least vigilant, on my first trip to Rome. I made sure not to get ripped off. When we arrived at Termini, we haggled with a driver who wanted to charge us 25 euros to go to the Campo de Fiore! Luckily, a nice honest cab driver came along and charged us 15 euros (3 people and 3 suitcases). Even though the meter said it was about 8 euros, we gave him the 15 since he didn’t take us around the world and back. We hired private car service to get back to the airport at 40 euros, so no complaints there!

  10. Janie November 16, 2007 at 4:40 pm #

    Great info Shelley. I was aware of problems with taxis from Termini and we thought we were were being cautious but still got into the wrong cab. I was actually watching the meter and all of a sudden it jumped up to about twice the amount. Yes, the driver would not drive us to right to the hotel and made excuses. The whole time during the ride he spoke to us in English, then when we started to argue about the price, he only spoke Italian. I stood guard over our bags while my husband continued to argue-I thought he might drive off with our luggage! In the end we paid him half of what he wanted-20 euros instead of 40!

  11. Zadok the Roman November 16, 2007 at 5:20 pm #

    The huge disadvantage with the ‘Cica Cica Boom’ taxi receipts is that it makes claiming expenses from a non-Italian source very difficult/embarrassing. I mean, would an English or American accounts clerk believe you if you told him that that was a taxi receipt and not the bar tab from a strip club?

  12. nyc/caribbean ragazza November 16, 2007 at 5:49 pm #

    Great advice Shelley. So far I have been pretty lucky. I always ask in Italian “How much” before getting into a taxi.

  13. Jason November 16, 2007 at 5:53 pm #

    My first trip to Rome a few years ago, my wife and I got ripped off. I had researched their tactics and thought I’d be “smarter”. Like Janie, our driver spoke English very well. However, when he insisted on dropping us off a block away from the hotel, I argued. He argued that since the street was a one way, it would cost us more to drive around to go the right direction. Ultimately, he charged €80 for a ride from Da Vinci to the Vatican. He added the time display and cost, plus the charge for luggage. However, unlike Janie, he wouldn’t take our luggage out of the car until I paid. When we told the hotel manager, he was quite angry and I’m certain I learned a few Italian curses that day! :)

    On another trip, we took a ride from the Vatican to the Colosseum area. He didn’t overcharge us, but short changed us. I gave him €20 but as he was making change, I lost track of where he placed the bill…then when I got only a couple of coins back, I protested but he argued that I only gave him €10. Now, I only give small bills or a handful of coins as I’m getting out of the taxi.

    Great post though! Thank you!

  14. Jenny November 16, 2007 at 8:31 pm #

    There’s now a fixed rate from the airport – 40 euro from Fiumicino and 30 from Ciampino to the city center. There are huge signs listing the price in Italian and English next to the taxi stands at the airport.

  15. Stefano Ulissi November 17, 2007 at 2:44 am #

    Excellent post. Will share with my renters. Grazie tanto!

    Casale in Abruzzo
    http://villacasale.net/

  16. TNP November 17, 2007 at 5:38 pm #

    Hey! New York isn’t much better. My husband and I, country bumpkins, flew to New York and ended up paying out the whazoo for a taxi ride from the airport to the hotel. Turning off the meter as soon as we got in should have tipped us off, but that was my first – and last – ride in a taxi. Who knew?

  17. fashion survivor November 17, 2007 at 10:13 pm #

    The taxi ride that sticks out in my mind was during the days of the lira, when a driver (from Termini) did the old “you gave me a 5,000 note” when we really did give him 50,000L–he switched it out with some swift handiwork. I can only say that we were exhausted from our flight from the US, otherwise I would have been more alert. Fortunately they can’t pull that one too often anymore–it’s a lot harder to confuse tourists with euro bills.

  18. Janavi November 18, 2007 at 12:10 am #

    TNP-there is a fixed rate in NY from the airports-that is why the meter was turned off-I think it’s about $45 now from JFK & is posted in the cab, so I think it’s pretty hard for them to rip people off these days & they can get a big fine.

  19. Flambeaux November 19, 2007 at 3:53 am #

    I’ve always arranged for private transport with a car service from the airport to my lodgings, usually a convent guest house, so I’ve never dealt with the airport taxi ripoff.

    I must say the two times I took taxis in Rome I did not feel cheated.

    I asked the driver, up front, how much the fare to the nearest major landmark (in my case at the time the Bambino Jesu Hospital, I was staying across the street from the NAC). He quoted me a rate that I deemed reasonable. He then drove without deviation up there, and the meter read about half a Euro more than he quoted me.

    The first driver, when I paid him, placed my Euro note on the hood/bonnet of his taxi under a paperweight of some kind, proceeded to give me change, and then pocketed the bill. I was impressed.

    Sorry so many had rough experiences, but it’s part of what makes travel so interesting.

    I miss Roma.

  20. Robert November 19, 2007 at 10:50 am #

    Hi Shelley,

    Thanks, I have posted this at http://www.italianfever.com/forums/showthread.php/take_taxi_rome-1777.html and it has generated a good bit of discussion already.

    Just as an almost related aside, if any of you are ever travelling to Dublin via Dublin Airport, be aware that we have frequent taxi strikes there. You can also arrange a taxi via your hotel to collect you and these will normally operate regardless of the strike (they remove their plates though and will collect you from the Departures Hall rather than the Arrivals Hall where the taxis normally stand.

  21. Cinzia November 19, 2007 at 4:51 pm #

    Grazie Shelley, informative and clear as always. I payed 8€ from Piazza Irnerio (Boccea) to Campo de’ Fiori and 15€ same way back. But going back it was midnight (tariffa notturna I guess). Plus the driver was a nice young guy who waited (I had already payed him the ride)until I was safely leaving a dark parking lot in my car. I didn’t know if to appreciate it or be offended when I said “Grazie” and he answered: “I would have done that for my mom too”! So, I’m definetely in my middle age and a mom, nothing to complain about it.

  22. sara November 19, 2007 at 7:55 pm #

    My mom and I were ripped off. We were at the train station, got in a cab, and gave him the hotel address. He acted like he didn’t know where it was. Drove us around for quite a while. He finally delivered us to our hotel. We paid probably about $25 or so. (It was still liras back then). We went about our stay, always exiting our hotel and turning left. After about the 3rd day we decided to try a new destination. We literally turned right, (not walking, jsut turned right) and saw the train station. It was RIGHT in front of us, literally right across the street! We paid a huge cab fee to literally go about 50 steps.

  23. Valeria February 24, 2008 at 7:37 am #

    What is your suggestion for going from FCO to the cruise ship port in Civitavecchia? I’m a travel agent checking on options.
    Val

  24. Rooster_kool March 12, 2008 at 12:23 pm #

    Yeah….very helpfull. I will visit Rome next 2 weeks and i even don’t talk Italian…I worry about it as well.

  25. Francine March 13, 2008 at 5:46 pm #

    Thanks for the great information! I myself was cheated by a Roman taxi driver in november 2006 (even though I spoke Italian with him): he asked for the fare while we were still in the cab, and I paid with a 20€ bill. While I expected to get back my change, he turned me over a 5€ bill, saying I had mistaken and given him the wrong bill. I was sure that I had given him 20€ – and a check in my wallet later at the hotel confirmed this – but I was with my young daughter and our suitcases were still in the trunk, so I was afraid he would drive off with our luggage and preferred to pay. But I will never forget this guy’s face, because he looked like Mr Bean! So beware of this taxi driver if you plan to take a ride from Stazione Termini!

  26. Richard Callaby March 28, 2008 at 8:36 pm #

    Oh how right you are with these tips! i am so glad someone else actually came out and stated them for everyone to see. Hopefully more people will follow your advice and not get ripped off. it is far better experience when you do not.

    Although I do not see any advice on what to do when your official Roman taxi gets into a car accident. That happened to me. It was a nightmare as the taxi driver just left the meter running. It was nothing just a scrape against the car but still we had to get out and get another taxi because car accidents take so long in Italy and everywhere else. Nightmare!

    Thanks for the tips I am sure they will help many people out.

  27. Arnoldo April 4, 2008 at 2:18 pm #

    We took the terravision coach as we travelled with ryanair to Ciampino to the city centre (station). As we arrived however the terravision coach parked on a narrow road, to the side of the station. As we got out, we were swamped with grubby looking taxi drivers as we were waiting to get our luggage out. It was our first time in Rome, and as it was late at night we decided to get one of these taxi’s to our hotel. The driver had his dad (or someone he knew) in the front seat and took us to a well known hotel within the city. The journey took about 20 mins, with the guy running numerous reds and some bizare driving skills. As we arrived, he dropped us of at the end of the road, charged us 25 euros. I paid him 30 euros and got out the bags, as we were doing this he began complaing that we’d only given him a 10 and a 5. So he gave us 5 back and we gave him (another) 20. All was well, until we realised in the hotel that we didn’t have any 5 notes, as we had not spent any euros at this time and we only had 10′s and 20′s. The next day, we got a tourist map and decided to walk to the same station to get a bus. The journey, on foot to the same destination, took us 10 minutes and we followed two main roads that we did not take on the taxi
    ride.
    Those drivers know exactly when and where the coaches are going to be, filled with tourists. Its easy pickings. It would not surprise me if the coach driver and taxi driver were part of the same organised ring.

  28. Mary Kay April 14, 2008 at 7:02 pm #

    Ok…I have a problem with taxis in Rome, but of a different nature. A few days ago my daughter, who is a student in Rome this semester, took a cab with friends from Campo di’Fiori to their apartment late one night. Right after the cab left them off, she realized that she left her large green purse in the cab. Of course the girls only know that the cab was a registered white taxi, but have no clue what company it was. She e-mailed radiotaxi, and they don’t have it. Any help on how to procede next would be very appreciated. All of her ID, keys, plus lots of other personal stuff was in that bag. Tried the office of lost & found Rome, but got no answer! Needless to say she’s freaking out!! Big lesson learned here. If anyone has any ideas, I would appreciate it!

  29. John April 21, 2008 at 11:15 am #

    I got ripped-off by rome taxi – we were dropped off several hundred feet from front of rome cavalieri hilton. It was very dark – we handed driver 20 euros – then he tells us we only gave him 5 euros. He switched bills on us. After thretening to call police – he told us to get out and drove off – we ended up paying 20 instead of 40 euros from rome train station to hotel. Also – cab fares ranged from 10 eros to 30 euros for same trip – unbelieveable. Just off topic – it also seems so many restaurants chargs 23 euros per person extra charge just to sit in restaurant.

  30. Mary Stupek May 27, 2008 at 2:25 pm #

    I arrived last week at Roma Termini train station and went outside and caught an official taxi to Via Nationale street. I didn’t realize it but it was only a 10 minute walk but I was tired from traveling and somewhat dazed. I only had three $50 Euro bills on me. I asked the taxi drive “how much” and he said “on meter madame” but the meter never went on (been in several taxis around Italy so I know what they look like). Got to my destination 5 minutes later and suddenly the “meter” read $37.50 but it wasn’t the regular meter – it was bright red LED so I think it was fake and below the real meter. I was surprised but pulled out a $50 euro bill and paid the driver. He held up a $10 euro note and said I’d made a mistake. I was confused so I pulled another $50 euro bill out of my wallet and paid. He said “madame, this is my business, are you making a joke?” and help up a $10 euro note. I was embarrassed and confused so I paid with another $50 euro note and was give change for $37.50. I went into the small hotel & they said it shouldn’t have cost more than $15 euro. They said it would be difficult to get my money back. I looked in my wallet and had two $10 notes and $15 – so about $35 when I should’ve had $115 euro. I realized the driver tricked me with the $10 bills. I was nearly broke and really mad! I walked back to Termini Station. Met 3 policemen on the way. One spoke some English and said it would be difficult to get my money back. I decided to do it anyway!!!! I stormed back to the taxis waiting in line and as luck would have it, there was my taxi driver!!! Loading up some other unsuspecting tourists! I screamed that he was a bad man, he had cheated me of $100 euro and the tourists got out of his taxi and grabbed their bags. I quickly wrote down his license plate number (didn’t know about the inside driver’s license number) and was yelling at him in English about cheating tourists and being a bad, bad man! His “manager” came running over and quickly paid me $100 Euro to get me out of there and tried to rip the paper out of my hands with the license number saying all the while “but madame, you have the money, you don’t need to make a police report, please give me that paper”. I went to the police station and filled out two copies of the report but after waiting almost an hour I figured I’d gotten my money back so what the heck!!!!! BEWARE OFFICIAL TAXIS AT TERMINI STATION!!! I’m sure they were surprised that this one single 50-year-old American woman would make such a scene but I walked away quite happy with myself!!!

  31. Roij June 5, 2008 at 5:08 pm #

    I just returned from a trip to Rome. 10 years ago I was scammed by the taxi solicitors in the lobby of termini so this time I felt like I was prepared. I refused the solicitors and headed straight for the taxi line where the official white taxi’s were waiting. I jumped in the first one and headed to my hotel feeling secure that I was in an officially marked cab until I noticed there was no meter. I looked around for ID, the stickers on the window; looked official. Then at the hotel which was about 6 blocks away, the driver turned to me and said, “ok, flat fee from termini. 23 euros please.” I got scammed again! Just when you think you’re prepared and on your toes, you find out you’ve just been hit over the head. I should’ve looked for a meter first before getting in! Who would of thought. It was an official looking cab with a taxi sign on top parked in line at the taxi stand.

  32. Milton June 14, 2008 at 12:36 am #

    What size are the average city taxis in Rome, how many people can they accomodate and will they carry walkers?
    We arew going to be there in July, but my wife has to get around with a walker.
    I sue hope you can get me an answer

    M.McNew

  33. Paul Stamatiou July 13, 2008 at 8:35 pm #

    Thank you for this info. I have been in Rome for the last 5 days and there have been countless times when the cab driver changed it to tarrifa 2 and we’ve had to tell him to change it back.

  34. Gary July 24, 2008 at 6:45 pm #

    A Nun Friend, one other Priest, and 2 lay folks went with us to Rome. We were stranded in one of the Airports in Rome, and never having been there before, we were approached by a person offering to take us to our destination, said they were a sort of taxi service….it was a black limousine, we were so excited to be in Rome, to visit the Pope, we just hopped in, but oh , do not ever do that people, we were taken to a location that bore the Arm and Sickle and over 2 hours we were drilled…..I was adamaant and had to get aggressive…I am of irish descent, but look very italian, finally I told them: in italian to take me to the monastery now, or connections in Italy by the last name of Catalano would be paying them a visit…told them I was related to the Catalano family…lol. In any event they finally took us to the monastery and the superior there told us we were held by the Red Brigade (communists) They didn’t fear the Catalano’s…..the Priest said they must have liked me or thought I was a strong person or something of that nature…in any event, God was surely with us…..please be careful. Fr. Gary

  35. Francesca Maggi July 30, 2008 at 1:12 pm #

    Great post. I’ve added the link to my site in the Caveat Emptor section.
    Meanwhile, you can’t believe how many times my straight-laced Company accountant asked me why I was spending money on Strip Clubs???
    I kept trying to tell him it was a TAXI receipt!!!

  36. Francesca Maggi July 30, 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    P.S.. I believe that in Rome they’ve disbanded with the luggage tariff, but added a 2 euro ‘city surcharge’ to all fares (although it doesn’t show up anywhere on the meter nor in the rules) …

    And, the flickr photo you have above is no longer available.

    fmaggi

  37. Bruna September 4, 2008 at 12:54 pm #

    I am a Roman taxi driver and I admit that some of the things you say are true. But fortunatly there are still alot of onest drivers i Rome. I would just like to advise you the the fares have been changed since january 2008, you can find the new ones on http://www.comune.roma.it.

  38. Joan Wells October 9, 2008 at 3:10 pm #

    Hi,

    We were at Termni station 10/4/08 around
    noon.
    Went to the taxi stand and got a taxi that
    had phone # on it.
    We knew we were close within mile of where we
    needed to go.
    Wrote on a piece of paper the address.
    The driver spoke fairly decent english, but when
    he was saying what the fare was I thought he
    was saying 34E which was way too much, but he
    was I think saying 14E.Suggestion have them write the fare on a piece of paper. My husband had a 20E and a 5E and think it was 34E I pulled out a 50E which the driver pocketed quickly in his wallet, my husband holding the money he had. Finally,I asked where is the 50E and after several time the cab driver pulled out his wallet and started giving me 25E in changed and I waved my fingers for the other 10E – he still got 15E instead of 14E, and then we were dropped off at 72A and our address was 72 a half block away.
    Just had read Rick Steves book and should have
    gotten his cab # to turn him in to the Taxi
    company. We are in our 70′s so he probably
    thought we were an easy target.
    We hired through a recommendation a private
    limo to take us to the FCO airport because the
    pick up was 5:30 a.m. 60E if it was later
    I would have gotten to the train station and
    taken the train out. Very nice driver.

    Joan W

  39. Paul A. Buechler October 18, 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    We are seniors and will be making our third trip to Italy this coming week (October 24, 2008).
    I hope prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is reading this web page. These horror stories of thievery are appalling. Every Italian who is proud of his or her heritage should be outraged. During our last two trips I was almost robbed by a pickpocket, a lady with a baby, while getting on a subway. I yelled out and made a scene before she could get the wallet out of my pocket and scared th sh## out of her.
    Now after reading these comments we are going to try and take public transport where ever possible. We too are in our seventies and I hate trying to lug suitcases around but I don’t want to give these thieves the satisfaction of ripping us off.
    And to Bruna above I say if we need a taxi I hope we find an honest one like you. It’s always the bad eggs that ruin it for the whole group.

    I’m going to follow up with another comment if we live through this.

    Paul B.

  40. Luis R. January 5, 2009 at 5:05 am #

    I visited Italy for a business trip in Bologna last December but also brought my girlfriend with me to spend a few more days enjoying what we could of Italy. We took the train to Rome on a Friday night and got to Roma Termini during the night. Sure enough, there were the taxi drivers outside waiting for us. I had already received some advice regarding the looks of the official taxis and to ask the driver how much it would be to get to the hotel before taking the cab. The driver told me it would be whatever was in the meter and that there was some kind 2 euro charge in addition to that pointing to a sign right next to the taxi. I found it odd that another guy that helped us with the luggage also got in the passenger seat in front.

    He took both of us and our luggage to the hotel which was just a block off Piazza Barberini. Since this was our first visit to Rome and we had no idea of where we were going, I didn’t notice anything unusual about the trip. About 10 minutes later or so he drops us off in a corner next to the hotel and asks for 32.40 euro. Seemed a bit steep but I had no problem paying for it. The other guy is taking our luggage off the car in the mean time. I had already got off the car but was paying him through the open passenger side window. I handed him two 20 euro bills and suddenly I see one of the bills fly and land on the floor next to the driver’s foot. Out of nowhere he got out a 10 euro bill and told me that I had paid 30 euro. Fortunately, I was kind of weary since the other guy got in and was paying very close attention to what he was doing. I also knew that I handed him two 20 euro bills because the only smaller denomination I had with me was a single 5 euro bill. The fact that euro bills have different size based on denomination definitely helped because it was dark and hard to tell the denomination from color or by reading and also I am not very familiar with euro currency with this being my first European trip.

    The driver could not argue because I pointed to the bill next to his foot and he gave me 5 euro as change. He gave me this unique look but he still managed to get 2.60 euro as a “tip” without asking me. I didn’t argue about that part and decided to just live with it. I felt so proud that I was not ripped off…. :-D

    But the story is not over yet. Next day during breakfast I grabbed my map to find out our location so that we could start planning the day. Right away I noticed that the hotel seemed to be much closer to the Termini station than what we saw the night before. Then during the tour we took around the city I remembered a few places the taxi took us and I looked them up in the map and realized he took us over a very long route just to charge us more. Then later on the same day I noticed that there was a metro station right there in Piazza Barberini at walking distance from our hotel even with luggage.

    The day we returned to Bologna we just walked to the Piazza Barberini station and took the metro back to Termini. Just 2 euro for both of us!!

  41. Linda January 18, 2009 at 2:35 am #

    I’m writing a novel at the moment and a taxi rip-off incident is going to be part of the opening scene. Been to Rome many times and am using own experiences as inspiration. Your blog has some great advice.

  42. Matt C March 1, 2009 at 5:45 pm #

    Thanks! Just got back from Rome today, followed your advice and saved myself £20!

    I arrived in Ciapino with some trepidation having read your blog, but was heartened to see a Commune Roma fixed price tarif leaflet at tourist information in arrivals. I hoped things had improved as our hotel was located on the far side of the city centre from the station and required a taxi.

    We found the taxi rank no problem and got in. I noticed the metre was off so thought we’d be ok, as long as his driving didn’t kill us on the way (but Roman driving is a different story). Then as we pulled up at our hotel the driver complained he couldn’t stop as he was blocking the narrow street, which tripped alarm bells having read your comments and having never known a taxi driver to care about blocking a road! Low and behold as he we got out just round the corner I spotted him turn on the metre, which showed a whopping 50 euro’s! But I wasn’t having any of that, once we got our cases I gave him the 30 euro’s due (plus tip as I already had it counted out) and had a good old row. “No no no, metre 50 euro..”etc I told him Fixed Price and pulled out the leaflet. He tried to claim we weren’t within the city walls but we clearly were, Banchi Vecchi 5 mins from Piazza Navona (u could see Castel Sant Angelo across the bridge!). I can’t speak italian but I know when someone is calling me names, but he realised he couldn’t win as we were already out of the car, with luggage, close to our hotel and we had given him the correct change! So after some more aggressive histrionics (spitting on the floor, arm waving etc) he threw the tip on the floor and stormed off to his cab like a pantomime villain. Though I think he regretted missing his tip as he started shouting again when he saw me pick it up and pocket it (he obviously planned to pick it up after we left!).

    Luckily everyone else I met in Rome were lovely otherwise it could have really soured our trip, looking back I just find it hilarious. He obviously realised he didn’t have a leg to stand on and he couldn’t argue with me as I couldn’t understand him, but felt he had to make a performance. But I can see why so many people cave in and pay, especially more vulnerable people than a large bloke who says no to people for a living (I’m a bank manager).

    The taxi driver back was superb, he even had the fixed price list hanging in his cab!

    Surely Roma council can sort the airport taxi drivers out its easily done with a couple of big signs at arrivals or an official dispatcher like other big cities. Plus they could easily fine the cabs who don’t have the fixed price notices showing.

    Its a crying shame that such a major capital and cultural city lets itself down with such blatant abuse of its visitors.

  43. Mehdi March 25, 2009 at 1:35 am #

    Being in Rome for one day and ripped off twice!, I googled for some advise and found your very nice article. I would like to suggest to update it with summing up the other experiences (like changing the notes) and the updated tariffs.
    In my second case, the amount on taxi meter was 7.70. The driver said that I have to pay 10 Euros because a fixed amount of 2 Euros should be added to all those staring from termini and showed me some text in Italian. I did’nt find anything on this in “comune” site.

  44. H.O. May 8, 2009 at 9:07 am #

    I traveled to Rome few days ago and also cheated by the driver of an authorized taxi arraged by a 4-star hotel.I had no time to argue before boarding my flight. I only have the number 6645 on the body of the car, which may be the phone number.But I can tell the time, the hotel name,and the figure of the driver and car. Is there any way to penalize the driver?

  45. Jesus Cabrera May 11, 2009 at 9:08 pm #

    Just on the first week of May 2009,I had a terrible experience with a taxi driver from Pronto Invio company. I inadvertently left my cpap machine on the back seat. I immediately called the company, but they told me the driver had finished his shift. Then the following day I called, and they even gave me the taxi number and told me they were going to leave a note to him. The following day, they changed the story: they said I took the taxi for only one leg of the way [from a restaurant to my hotel], but not from the hotel to Termini railway station. Again the third time, they assured me I had never taken any taxi with the company!
    I went to the police station to have a deposition, but nothing happened.
    So please,never take a taxi with Pronto Invio!

  46. Steve August 9, 2009 at 7:28 pm #

    I had exactly the same thing that Mary Stupek had happen to her. We got a taxi from Termini to the Pantheon, i have been to Rome a few times so i was checking the route and it was all good. When we arrived he quickly opened the door so my wife got out, I asked how much and he said 20 which lets face it is way too high, but i was in a hurry and we had only got the taxi because we only had 4 hours in town as i would have got the metro, anyway i had a 50 in my wallet and a ten and a five, i knew this as this was the last of our holiday money. I knew he may moanm about the 50 but obviously being 20 i had to give him the 50 i watched as i took it out the wallet and looked at the note waiting for him to moan, he took it and then exactly the same as Mary he held up a ten and said you have given me a ten not a 50, at first i thought he was asking ro a ten so he could give me two twenties, which maybe thats the only change he had. but no he was telling me that i had only given him ten and need another ten, That s when i said i had given him a 50 and he said no it was a ten. I then thought on my feet and told him i only had a 50 in my wallet so it had to be a 50, he wasnt happy about it but funnily enough he gave me 30 change and that really left a bad feeling with me for a while, i love rome and usually do not use taxis we either walk, get the terravison or tube, and now i know why, they lose long term because tourists will use them less and less. Well done for this website it is fantastic and well done Mary for getting your money back.

  47. daniele September 18, 2009 at 9:59 am #

    Hi,
    i’m a taxi driver in Rome.
    take a taxi in rome it’s easy and you can be safe too if you follow few sample advises.
    about the airport, there are two fix fares for Fiumicinoi and Ciampino: 40 and 30 euros for rides from the airport to the downtown and viceversa.
    In general (airport and train station): never, never, never give attention to persons who come to you and ask “taxi” or “where are you going”. Regular drivers sit into the cab waiting for you. Join the line, in case, and take your taxi.
    Taxi are wait, no other colors. Hotel reception use to sell a limousine service (huge dark Mercedes or something like that). They are not taxi and cost a lot more (60 or 70 euros). This is so because doors men keep a percent.
    When you take a cab along the street (reaising your hands or pick in a rank) check the meter: it havs to be on and it has to display just the price in euro and another number the it has to be mandatory “1″. It means you are running on urban fare.
    About all the aother possibilities to be rippede off, just keep your eyes wide open.
    For any other doubt, you can contact our association to the addrress below
    daniele

  48. Jackie Ryan October 19, 2009 at 1:31 am #

    We got ripped off. Firstly a charge of 25 euros for a trip we got subsequently charged 8 euros. We were taken from the station to the hotel on our arrival to Rome. We gave the taxi driver a 20 and 5 euro note. When we got out of the cab to get the luggage from the boot he had switched the 20 for a 5 and we had to cough up another 20 . Always count it out in their hand! He had smashed his side mirror whilst backing out so probably felt that this was a great way to pay for it.

  49. Gavin Duggan October 22, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    Thanks much :) Having this (well written too!) should give us the confidence and info we need to avoid any problems.

  50. Jen December 27, 2009 at 2:51 am #

    Hi, I live in Rome and am wondering if anyone knows how much it costs to go from Fiumicino to BEFORE the Mura Aureliane (i.e. outside the city centre)? Specifically, I need to be dropped off in the area of Magliana (Via Trullo), which is much, much closer to the airport than the city centre. Given how much closer it is, I’m assuming (hoping!) that it would be a lot less than €40, but would like to confirm this.

    My own tale of taxi ripoffs: I’m pretty certain that I got “taken for a ride” a few weeks ago when I took a taxi from Via Trullo to the Magliana train station (not EUR-Magliana, but just Magliana, on the FR1 line that goes directly to Fiumicino). The entire ride was less than 5 minutes – probably less than 3 minutes in fact – and it came to €10!! That is what the metre said, but I can’t swear the driver reset it when I got in. It was a Sunday and I did have a big suitcase in the trunk, but still…

    At any rate, I came to realize how small a ripoff that was compared to the €200 I lost 5 minutes later when two girls stole my wallet as I boarded the train to Fiumicino. Even if I do get ripped off by a taxi driver on my way back, it can’t be as bad as that.

  51. Kenny January 4, 2010 at 11:36 pm #

    Got caught by the note scam by a taxi driver, license 2904; I passed him a crisp € 20 note for an €11.50 fare, and as I looked away to get my bag ready, he waved a tattered €5 note and claimed I gave him too little. Both are bluish in color, and if his thievery was ever in doubt, he accepted another €5 (which should have still left us owing him another €1.50) but he was happy. We were running late to see the Colosseo before the sun went down and the loss of €13.50 didn’t match the loss of being able to see the Colosseo before day turned to night.

    If you are in this situation, summon a police officer; dirt-bag taxi drivers like this sorry excuse for a Roman are enough to ruin your trust in so-called licensed taxi drivers and if I had the time, I would have summoned the police and had them search the weasel for the crisp note which would probably have been sequential to the other crisp euro notes I received from the bank back home before I traveled.

    For the rest of my time in Rome, I treated each and every taxi driver as a thief and moron, very loudly announcing each note as I handed it over to them. My wife thinks I was over-reacting, but I just don’t see it that way: one rotten apple DOES ruin it for everyone. If you get a nice taxi driver in Rome, bonus for you. If you get ripped off blind by a morally bankrupt thug, it’s probably par for the course. Such a disgrace – I have long had great affection for Italy and Italians, but Rome’s taxi drivers are pure scum

  52. Candy January 24, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

    We are going to Rome to embark on our cruise and will need to get to the cruise terminal. How far will we be traveling from airport to terminal and how much should it cost??

  53. Graham February 14, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    I am doing the same – however my cruise company is transporting us from our hotel. My travel agent told us it is a long way….like one and a half hours and would have cost us …PLENTY !

  54. Karen March 2, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

    Hi All – Thanks for sharing your stories. I’m a little scared, but definitely better informed. I’m travelling to Rome next week w/ my family…4 adults and 2 children. I was wondering if the cab cost is more than 40 euros from Fiumicino since there are 6 of us? Also, can anyone recommend a site where I can pre-order a car from? I found this one through my google search http://www.taketaxi.com/

    Thanks in advance!!

  55. Aaron W. March 15, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    Hi guy, for avoiding this type of situation I used a Limo service from the airport to the hotel, I spend 50 euros but I was on a Sedan Mercedes E Class. WOW. I used http://www.limoserviceitalia.it

  56. Eric April 27, 2010 at 12:41 am #

    Well,
    Shame I saw this great blog only after being ripped off.

    The sheer dishonesty of some individuals is quite discusting, In my case the crisp 50 turned into a crisp 10 and ontop of that the not so modest 60euro fare for 15min drive was not to be discussed. The guy was prepared to get physical about it too.

    Shame on an otherwise fantastic city. Strange how its not better regulated since it seems to happen quite often.

  57. Bonnie May 10, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    Thanks Aaron W. !!!
    I took your advise and used the Limo Service to and from the Airport…what a treat !! Great price, no hassle and fancy car….email : http://www.limoserviceitalia.it – family operated business, I dealt with Francesco…amazing personalized service….
    Euro 50.00 all included….

  58. Lin May 31, 2010 at 1:15 am #

    Just a note for all the women planning on taking taxis in Rome: if you sit in the front seat, some cab drivers may grope you during the ride and then refuse monetary payment when you arrive at your destination. This happened to me three times during my recent stay in the city, and while I don’t think it was the norm, I’d rather have paid the measly €10 and had the drivers keep their hands to themselves.

  59. Paul August 4, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    We got ripped off in Sorrento, 40 euros for an 8 minute trip so I was very wary when we returned to Rome. I picked up on the 30 euro flat fair to the airport from the train station and ignored all the taxi touts and got in line. The first available cab wouldn’t take us, clearly he wanted a more lucrative fair. We were very careful about checking the fare before we got in, but as we started moving the driver started talking about additional charges. He wouldn’t drive us for the 30 euro fare and stopped at the exit to the station at which point the rest of the family got out of the back of the taxi. My family were very upset by the whole rip off thing, we got ripped twice on the train as well and the ‘helpful’ person we rented a Rome apartment from arranged a car from the airport when we landed and loaded the fare by 30 euros for herself I later discovered.

    The driver who took us to the airport eventually was straight as a dye, and was tipped. So they aren’t all bad.

    I came away from this trip to Italy feeling very very negative about Italy and the Italians. Which is probably really unfair to all the 99% of honest decent people there, however I don’t want to return to a country where I don’t feel I can trust anyone. That isn’t my idea of a holiday.

  60. Dode Henderson August 9, 2010 at 11:31 pm #

    I was charged 30 Euros for a two minute walk from Termini to my hotel. The taxi driver knew I was vulnerable as I was with my wife and six year old child, and it was 1 am and my first time in the city which he established as soon as we got in the cab. When I paid him the fare he then went on to switch a 50 euro note I gave him for a 10 Euro, simply by turning away from me then turning back to me. I was confused but very jet-lagged and tired, so I gave him another 50 Euros! Didn’t realize what had happened until I got to my room and checked my money. Rome may well be lovely, but in my few days there I came across an attempted bag snatch and was approached by two conmen at Termini station who moved in on me as soon as I attempted to use my credit card to by tickets at the automatic ticket machine. Watch out!!!

  61. Francesco at Limo Tours Rome September 1, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    I’m Francesco and I have my limo company in Rome (http://www.limotoursrome.com/) and I want to say that there are some honest people that know how to take care of the people because everybody is important. Rome is famous for the scam but not averyone is there to scam you.

  62. Svets September 3, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    I was reading all these comments with horror and immense relief: how lucky we were last January.
    I do confirm that there are honest drivers in Rome.
    Being obviously tourists (2 tall blonds, non-speaking Italian) we went from Colosseo to Testaccio area discos (a/r) at least 4 times, by simply taking a cab on the taxi parking near Colosseo. We have never had a trick with banknotes and we have always paid a fair price (between 11 and 12 euro for about 8-9 km ride in the night time).
    So, watch out, but remember: it is not an obligation to be ripped off by taxi drivers in Rome :)

  63. Dana September 15, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    I think taxi drivers are the same everywhere.. no matter which country, city or nationality.. Some are really cheeky and greedy.. plus they are being ‘clever’ drivers annoying any regular car drivers.

    Hail to the decent and honest ones. You are rare, but we respect you.

  64. sacha September 16, 2010 at 12:18 am #

    going to rome in 2 weeks. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !!! i know with 100% certainty,
    everything that happened to all of you, would happen to me. what you all have done here, is a movement! lets continue to look after each other.
    thanks again….

  65. Edu September 17, 2010 at 12:56 am #

    Thank U for all the advices….We are traveling to Rome this coming October and we’re arriving at Fiumicino Airport, and will be taking taxi to a hotel near Roma Termini. Does the fixed taxi fare works with this distance? It’s almost like 45 minutes between airport and hotel. or renting a car would be more safer? Do they rip-off renter as well?

  66. SirWired September 17, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    We just got back from Rome. The thing I would add to this is to MAKE SURE THE METER IS RUNNING and set to the base fare. Our tour guide warned us that they would either fail to reset the meter or turn it off and then make up a price to charge you. He said most of them will turn it on once you ask (and they figure out you are wise to the scam.) He said that if they still don’t start the meter, to simply ask to get out of the cab.

    We were going to the Vatican from Piazza Venezia (outside the mounument.) The first driver we hailed saw us tourists and stuck his hat over the meter has he pulled up. When we got inside and gave him the card from the restaurant we were going to, I asked him where the meter was. He replied “No meter. Fixed price.” (Which is a lie: the only fixed price is to/from the airports.) We asked to get out and he stopped the cab so we could. (They have no interest in kidnapping you…) He then yelled something in Italian after we got out… I can’t tell if he was cussing at us or agreeing to turn on the meter. I don’t care. We found another taxi in about five seconds, and he did what he was supposed to.

    To Edu: Yes, the fixed price covers from the airport to just about any place you, tourist, would want to go in downtown Rome, including near the train station. DO NOT get a rental car. Roman traffic is a complete chaotic mess, and that is going to cost WAY more than the flat taxi fare anyway.

  67. olandese1 September 19, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    any tips on how to retrieve property left in a Roman taxi? we have been living in Rome for a year and have not had any taxi problems (except the late night ‘extra charge’ for picking up at Termini once but this was just a few euro’s) until this weekend, when we went home late on Friday night from Trastevere, piazza Belli, and forgot to get a small suitcase from the trunk. naturally we did note neither taxi license number or the taxi’s telephone number so we have been calling ALL of them, no luck yet. we were in a nice, new Mercedes with white cream upholstery, which is quite rare in Rome. if you end up in this taxi please ask the guy about the suitcase… and we would really appreciate any tips & tricks since we are by now pretty worried that the suitcase has not been turned in to the lost & found or taxi company. so please, whatever you do, do note license number & taxi company phone number! because without them you are quite lost when something like this happens.

  68. kevin October 8, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    Surely the answer to this note switching problem is to get all your cash in fivers before you set foot in Rome but a taxi driver who wants to rob you will probably have some sort of answer to that. Is it safe to book a taxi beforehand on-line etc. or is this another scam. This is all very frightening as I am going to Rome in a couple of days with my physically handicapped wife and the prospect of being robbed like this is appalling…………….

  69. Vicky October 17, 2010 at 7:16 pm #

    I am going to Rome in one week. I will be staying at the Grand Hotel Flemming (Piazza Monteleone di Spoleto) just outside of central Rome. In a few days after arrival, I need to get to the Termini station from there.

    Does anyone have any advice on how I can get to Termini from my hotel safely and without spending too much money or being scammed? I heard some horror stories about being mugged at the Metro so I’m afraid to take it.

  70. Metal Cabinets : October 31, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    it is quite sad that most train stations these days are horrendously overloaded ::

  71. Lisa P November 3, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

    Reading this website has shocked me! I’m going to Rome at the end of this month and am very much looking forward to it. I didn’t realise the taxi scams were so bad though. I now feel so much better after reading this and I am definitely going to keep a look out for all the signs.

    I am travelling with 4 girl friends and luggage and we want to take a taxi from Fiumcino airport to a hotel abot 15 minutes from the Vatican. Will this come under the flat rate charge?

    Thanks,
    x

  72. Christopher November 24, 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    I’m a canadian taxi driver in the frosinone area and don’t rip off tourists especially if english speaking, I might be tempted to do it to italian tourists but not english. If you think it might be interesting to try an honest taxi in the frosinone area check the website and give me a call. I’ll come and pick you up at airports and drive you around. Cheers!!!
    Christopher 0039-333-944-2693

  73. Robert December 21, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

    That being said, maybe it’s just best to order a limo? I have seen them advertised for 70 euros from airport to any hotel for two people.

    Sure it’s more, but no hassle.

    Any thoughts? We’re travelling in August, and I figure, screw it, just get a limo service instead of a cab.

  74. George January 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    We just came back from Rome having never been there. I thought let’s check with information to get an idea of the cab fare BEFORE going to the taxi line. I was told $40 Euro by a not so helpful lady. Anyway there was 3 of us and 3 large suitcases, 2 sports bags and 2 carry on bags. Then a guy approcahed us before heading out and soon another guy who had looked at us whilst waiting in the information line started getting angry with him like he had spotted us first. He daid do you want a van to Rome $85 Euro, I said no we will get a cabl $40 Euro, he then said if you share van $55 Euro. I thought to save the hassle and for $15 Euro plus possible (more than likely) issues with Taxis and our luggage $55 Euro seemed ok. He was ok except for the first attempt to overcharge us as I am certain we were always going in a shard van as the 2 girls were waiting for him and the additional passengers. That was not that bad and I have his number and will possibly use him on our next trip there. We had not booked a hotel and arrived at the Grand Hotel Plaza (via Del Corso) as it looked magnificent on their wbe-site and “extremely grand” The web-site was deceiving, this looked like a hotel out of a hitchcock movie and we were in the phyciatric ward…. Lucky we asked to seem the room first. We then decided to try another 2 hotels and asked which hotels of 3 others were close by. We had the bell boy get a cab outside waiting and he pretended not to speak English. we then went form this hotel to the Intercontinetal. The Meter started on $8 Euro and I knew this was wrong. We then ended up at the hotel it was $13 Euro after waiting for my wife to check the room whilst I stayed with the luggage. He then said $18 Euro for the fare. I went to change money to pay him and ask the staff is $18 Euro too much form the hotel to here and he sadi yes and I should not pay him. I had waitied with the luggage whilst my wife went in to check the room and finally I detected an Australian Accent and when I questioned him his English was more than Adequate. Anyway just to let you know we went from the bottom of the Spanish Steps to the Top for $18 Euro. I did question him, it got heated and the 5 Star Hotel did nothing to assist us even though they had acknowleged we had been ripped off. 2 days later I asked the same guy about fare to the Airport and he said $40 Euro to / from Fixed Fee regardless of time and luggage. Yet when we left the Cab driver the hotel organised charge $55 Euro. I was tired and just wanted to get out of Rome so did not argue. These people are almost enough to put you off such a beautiful country. More needs to be done in this area. Let me not start on the Hotel and Concierge and the saga at the aiport for tax Refund… Even 2 of the 3 short trips in Rome they went the long way but at under $9 euros not worth worrying about….
    Be safe and stand up to these Thieves who destroy a country’s reputation.

  75. Ignatius February 11, 2011 at 7:03 am #

    Got rip off from taxi fare and change from 50 euro to 10 euro when taking taxi from campioni airport to Vatican city .first mumbo jumbo about luggage and 4 people and about payment from airport to highway . And then the meter etc. Total fare in meter is 62.50 euro + 2 euro + 9 euro . When give 2 x 50 euro in his hand and suddenly the money change to 1 x 10 euro and 1 x 50 euro . Thus have to give another 20 euro . Get 5 euro back bal as tip . When you get rip off blame yourself and not other people . I like people who are smarter than us people who got rip off so long they do not take as for a ride . As a tourist we try not to be rip off but our biggest fear is to be stranded . Any way it is their occupation . As for pick pocket if the take money is ok but do not take our documents

  76. andreas February 22, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    Thanks all of you for sharing these stories of horror that I may very well be facing in a few months… well I’m wiser thanks to you, but you never know…

    Now having traveled quite a bit across europe, taking taxis here and there I have yet to be scammed by one. This probably thanks to the honest taxi drivers, not due to my vigilance or smartness… In Finland you will not get ripped off by a taxi as long as it is a licensed taxi, and they will never solicit you, you come to them or order through a service…

    My only question still is having red this blog is payment methods in taxis in Rome? Purely cash or is creditcard accepted form of payment in a taxi?

    Cheers!

  77. Lindsey May 8, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    To Andreas – surely if taxi drivers are as bad as this blog is saying, why would you trust them with a credit card??? just imagine what they could do with THAT.
    We have taken the advice of Aaron and Bonnie (March and May 2010) and arranged a limousine for 50 euro – sounds so much easier than having to fight your way through touts and cheats and at least you are sure of getting your luggage back at the other end!!

  78. Flykestrel May 23, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    YUp even the best of them ! Just made trip to Roma by train and even as a local living in Firenze for 5 years got stuffed by real taxi !!!!! Why well I was very late for conference and only taxi lefdt said 50 to 60 euro (which should be 30/40!) so the urgency of my presentation (and stupidity) I said yes on arrival at hotel the driver took my bags To reception then said he needed to go back for change and receipt ….. Ciao later he disappeared ! I had not follwoed the golden rule note the cab number and name!!!! Live and learn , but what amazes me is the fact that its generally seen as normal in Italy to rip people off, and yet as a country that is struggeling with trade deficit and financial melt down , tourist are a lifeline , so why P them off ? Hey find that out and you make millions ……..

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