Meterless taxi scam

If the taxi has a "broken meter," your feet were made for walkin'.

Gypsy cabs and other unofficial taxis are usually rip-offs, and always illegal.

As in the U.S., most cities require that true cabbies and car services get a license and their vehicle a "medallion" number and a meter to keep track of your fare.

Ones that don’t have this are usually run by some branch of the local underworld, and they can also charge whatever they think you'll pay, since there's no meter.

That said, many cities do have an official flat rate for trips to and from the airport, in which case the meter might not be turned on. As always, check your guidebook (or the local airport or tourism authority website) for local norms.

If you need a taxi, never accept a ride from someone inside a train station or luggage claim area of an airport. Walk outside and directly to the official taxi rank.

In most countries, you don't really hail a taxi headed down the street they way you would at home. You can try, but it's really unusual and the driver is unlikely to stop. Instead, you either:

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in November 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.