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Ripped Off by Prague Taxis

In every single large city in the world, stories emanate about unsuspecting tourists being conned by unscrupulous taxi drivers, keen to exploit their lack of knowledge when it comes to local pricing and there lack of comfort in a foreign land. Unfortunately Prague is a city that is not exempt from this and, although this practice is widespread throughout the world, it is something that people are still shocked by when visiting this seemingly cosmopolitan city; a city that they believe to have shaken off its darker history and moved in line with the wealthier nations in Europe.

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The main problem with the taxi industry in the Czech Republic, and in particular Prague, is the fact that there are rules to prevent taxi drivers raising their fares when they take on an unsuspecting tourist. These are not enforced at all though by the police and therefore taxi drivers continue this practice with impunity, aware that they will never be caught. So it is clear that the authorities are not willing or able to help the tourists in this area, so what can tourists do to help themselves?

The first thing to do is to ensure that you are aware of local taxi prices before you even arrive in the city. The larger taxi companies will have their tariffs available online for you to look at and you will be able to get a good feel regarding how much you should expect to pay. For example, a taxi from the airport to the city center should cost about 550 CZK, but some taxi drivers will often double or even triple this! For a better chance of getting a good price, many hotels will offer airport pickups and generally these are priced very reasonably – take advantage of this wherever possible.

It is also prudent to agree a price with the taxi driver before you start the journey. Many of the taxis in Prague don’t even have a meter so you will be unaware of how much you are accumulating as you drive. Obviously it is tough for a taxi driver to say exactly how much it will cost them to take you to a certain area before they drive, so they might quote slightly high. Even so, paying 50 CZK over the price you would have paid is preferable to getting to the destination and finding that the taxi driver expects you to pay double the standard price!

So, as long as you have your wits about you, agree a price first and don’t allow taxi drivers to use their local knowledge to bully you into payment, taking a taxi in Prague should be a reasonably stress free experience! They are safe as well, unlike the taxis operated in some other Eastern European cities!

From Airport to the City Centre
When you arrive at Prague Airport, you may choose to continue your journey by taxi. The taxis are waiting for you outside the arrivals hall or you can book taxi online with Prague Airport Transferers. A ride from the airport to the centre of Prague should cost you about €25. It is advisable to avoid using unregistered taxis.

 

From Airport to the City Centre

When you arrive at Prague Airport, you may choose to continue your journey by taxi. The taxis are waiting for you outside the arrivals hall or you can book taxi online with Prague Airport Transferers. A ride from the airport to the centre of Prague should cost you about €25. It is advisable to avoid using unregistered taxis.

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5 comments

  1. I had this funny experience with one of the aaa taxis at Ruzyne airport. i arrived from phuket and required taxi to hotel Kladno which is about 18 km or 18 min drive and i was given some weird prices like 7000 CZK. Anyway i discovered a bus and it was 31 CZK and running every half hour. Stuff taxis, public transport in czech is brilliant,use it.

  2. I am very sad when I hear negitive comments about the country I love with all my heart. I am Czech but my family was split because of the war. I had a step father and have travelled the world.I did not return to visit my family until 1990 after the velvet revolution. From my experiences Prague and the rest of the Czech republic is no worse than many of the places I have lived and visited. I will be visiting my family again next week and have already sorted taxi. [ AAA] who I always use, good price friendly and safe. and bus from Prague to my Destination. [135 miles from Prague. and return. it took 20minutes on the internet. I actually feel a lot safer in Czech republic than I do in the major cities of uk.

  3. Avoid taxis waiting at tourist attractions and train stations or hailing a passing taxi. To get a decent price always reserve by phone.

  4. My wife and I are world travelers.
    PRAGUE is a wonderful city and the people in general are very friendly and willing to help tourists.

    Unfortunately the image of your city is blemished by the taxi Mafia at the Railway Station.
    Why do your authorities allow such criminal behavior by taxi drivers?
    They are aggressive, rude, and charge whatever they want. I felt like I was back in the old Soviet Union.
    Why not set up a bureau to control fees at the central station like in so many other civilized cities around the world? Manuel dos Santos

    We will never return to Prague, and will warn other travelers to avoid it. FYI “Prague” in my language (Portuguese) means “Plague”.

    • reply from local municipal office:

      Dear Mr Santos,

      First of all, we are truly sorry that you experienced problems during your visit to Prague. We are trying to make Prague as friendly a place as possible for visitors and would like to assure you that the vast majority of taxi drivers behave properly and decently. The times when taxi drivers in Prague represented a big problem for the city are long past thanks to continuous pressure and checks. Unfortunately, there will always be an individual or a small group able to blemish the honest work of others. If your complaint was specific, our action would also be specific; we can therefore only respond generally.

      The reality is such that we would like to take stronger action against taxi drivers who are breaching their obligations. In this respect, we have already drafted an amendment to the law, and this amendment was submitted to the government for discussion on September23. In it, we propose imposing more severe penalties on dishonest taxi drivers, the most severe of which is confiscation of taxi drivers’ vehicles in the event of repeated violations.
      The amendment also proposes further penalties, with our intent being to have immediate punishment imposed for a violation. The lack of immediate punishment is the biggest problem at this time: although we perform checks of taxi drivers and deal with customer complaints, the entire process – from the violation to the imposition of a fine – is relatively long: the taxi drivers’ legal representatives take immediately action and the proceedings then drag on for many months. It is our opinion that taxi drivers should be stripped of their licences to carry out their services in Prague immediately if it can be proven that they have committed a violation. All of our legislative proposals have been drafted with this intent.

      The Capital City of Prague has always made use of all statutory means available to punish taxi service operators and drivers who violate valid laws, and has done so successfully. From 2002 to the end of 2010, the municipal authorities have imposed CZK 175 million worth of fines in total. The number of violations committed by taxi drivers has fallen to a minimum.

      As regards your proposal to set up offices controlling the activities of taxi drivers at railway stations and similar places, the Capital City of Prague does in fact have a similar system in place: the taxi sites at these frequented locations have been leased by the municipality to operators that are bound by certain rules. These operators are thus responsible for the drivers who pick up customers at these sites, and if a driver breaches any customer-related obligations, he or she loses the privilege of picking up customers at these sites and is fined by the site operator. This system is successful, and problems today are practically confined to only those taxi drivers who are working illegally or are picking up customers outside the sites that we recommend that customers use and where taxi service rules are written clearly in a number of major languages. Taxi drivers are then controlled by the authorities. Therefore, additional offices would not solve the problem: this concept is intended for cities that have a different system in place. In our case, a change in legislation, as discussed above, would be the most effective.

      Nevertheless, we would like to thank you very much for calling our attention to the problem.
      We hope that your negative experience will not dissuade you from visiting Prague again and that you will not experience any problems next time. We would like to take this opportunity to recommend that you use the taxi sites marked Fair Play and, if you encounter any problems, to inform the Municipality of the Capital City of Prague, providing the specific licence plate number of the vehicle in question. We deal with such complaints immediately.
      Once again, we thank you and hope that your next visit to Prague will be much more pleasant.

      Jan Šprincl, Prague City Hall

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