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He Musta Saw Us a-Comin': A Brief, Cautionary Tale about Taxis in Rome

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Oct 16th, 2017, 08:41 AM
  #1
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He Musta Saw Us a-Comin': A Brief, Cautionary Tale about Taxis in Rome

I haven't been one to write trip reports, but feel that I must put this confession out there: I was fleeced by a taxi driver in Rome, and have (more or less) only myself to blame. Here is the brief tale, and a lesson for us all.

Upon arrival at Termini Stazione from Perugia, my wife and I hurriedly helped our DD2 and her husband purchase tickets and find their imminently departing train to Naples. Then we staggered out the front doors and were met by a very kind man who helped us with our luggage into his waiting taxi. We told him our destination near the Pantheon and its address, and he whisked us away. Reaching the hotel, the driver charged us 42 &euro , and after helping us with our bags, was impatient to get on his way. I handed him 45 &euro and told him to keep the change. Only then did I notice that there was no meter.

Later, when asked, the desk clerk informed me that the usual fare to the hotel was 10-12 &euro !

What I learned from this experience (actually already knew, but neglected to do):
1.) Be very wary when persons approach and grab your luggage (duh!).
2.) Don't get into a taxi that isn't in the taxi line.
3.) Don't get into a taxi that doesn't have or use a meter.
4.) Don't fail to ask in advance how much the fare will be.
5.) Don't allow yourself to be rushed or flustered when dealing with a cab driver.
6.) Don't spend 45 &euro when the fare is only 12 &euro.

The fare from Termini Stazione to most of Rome's historic center is only around 12 &euro. You can get all the way from Rome's historic center to Fiumicino Airport for 48 &euro, for crying out loud!
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Oct 16th, 2017, 08:53 AM
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Sounds like the chemistry between you and the driver wasn't the best. Thanks for the warning.

(PS - some people here strongly dislike phrases like "... and a lesson for us all". They give lessons here, they don't take them.)
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Oct 16th, 2017, 08:55 AM
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good advice. (4) isn't much true in cities where the taxis are metered as the driver can't tell you what the fare will be, although maybe they can give you an idea. I imagine drivers are leery of that also due to tourists who would then refuse to pay more if something happened and the traffic was worse than usual. But (4) also wouldn't do much good if you had no idea what the fare "should" be.

I think some people get very flustered when they travel and do things they would never do when at home, partly due to lack of sleep upon arrival and being in a strange country, also. It's understandable.
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Oct 16th, 2017, 09:00 AM
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Good reminders, Dave.

I was fooled by a taxi driver in the actual taxi line at Termini.

We got in the taxi, were whisked to our address (via del Teatro Pace) and told the fare was 25 euro. No, we said, it isn't. Yes, he said, you have to pay or I will take your bags away. We were in an alley with no one around. We argued, he argued, we gave up.
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Oct 16th, 2017, 09:26 AM
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>>> 4.) Don't fail to ask in advance how much the fare will be.

This has been the most reliably way to sort out scam drivers for me. The concept of "taxi line" can get ambiguous at many places. Termini, for example, has the "taxi" sign on three sides: NW, SW and NE directions. At the times I have used taxis at Termini, the NW at Piazza del Cinqauecento large one, the one pointing to the Spanish Step direction, had been most reliable. They would quote and charged approximately the expected fare to my hotel. The one at NE Via Marsala one had a legitimate stop as well as other scam taxi drivers "near" the taxi sign, but rogue. The ones at SW Via Giovanni Giolitti had "taxi" sign, yet, the driver would try to grab my luggage, which I did not let go when he mumbled and would not answer how much it would cost. I walked over to the Piazza del Cinquecento taxi stop to find a legitimate driver. When I asked the taxi driver I found at the Piazza del Cinquecento exit about the taxi drivers on Via Giovanni Giolitti, he said to be careful with those guys.
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Oct 16th, 2017, 10:04 AM
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XC: Clever! I actually thought our chemistry was excellent. He confessed to not speaking much English, so I wowed him and my wife with my grasp of the Italian language. If only I had better grasp of my senses at the time!
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Oct 16th, 2017, 10:26 AM
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Also: Where did I see that &euro will give me a € symbol? And what the @#$& happened to "Edit"?
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Oct 16th, 2017, 10:56 AM
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There's never been an edit.

I think you need €
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Oct 16th, 2017, 10:57 AM
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That's ampersand-euro-semicolon.
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Oct 16th, 2017, 11:05 AM
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I did the same thing my first trip to Rome many years ago. Happens to all of us sometimes.

To get euro and other symbols I go to edit, scroll to emoji and symbols, click on the euro symbol, click again, and there it is.
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Oct 16th, 2017, 11:18 AM
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Hmm, we took a cab from Termini to our apartment near the Pantheon a couple weeks ago and the driver said there were now flat rates for all taxis from the station. I can’t remember what we were charged, I think 20 euro. I hadn’t heard about a flat rate before but didn’t dispute it. Did I get taken for a ride?
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Oct 16th, 2017, 11:19 AM
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So sorry, bvlenci. "Preview," if not "Edit." I plead rimbambito.



:-B
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Oct 16th, 2017, 11:39 AM
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>>> I hadn’t heard about a flat rate before but didn’t dispute it. Did I get taken for a ride?

If there is a flat rate, it should be prominently displayed on a window sticker or at more organized station/airport, on a sign at the taxi stand itself. In my experience, oral and so called flat rate sheet printed on a printed material not visible from outside (inspector, police, etc) had always been bogus.

I always email/phone my hotel ahead of time how much it is supposed to cost in a taxi to use as a sanity reference.
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Oct 16th, 2017, 11:56 AM
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Hold down the ALT key and type 0128 for the euro symbol.

€, €
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Oct 16th, 2017, 11:58 AM
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Don't beat yourself up. We all make mistakes and get taken one time or another. Strange surroundings, unfamiliar language, fatigue or excitement--all contribute to us not asking questions or recognizing problems when traveling.
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Oct 16th, 2017, 12:35 PM
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on a Mac with a UK keyboard, you press fn and alt simultaneously to select the r hand upper case symbols on the number keys - € is the RH symbol on the no 2.

Dave - if that is the only scam to which you fall "victim" whilst travelling, you'll have done well.
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Oct 16th, 2017, 12:44 PM
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I feel sorry for OP and feel he/she was scammed - despite 'laziness' - thanks for posting as a word to others not to blindly trust anyone! Hope AutoEurope does the right thing and rectified things for such an old customer.
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Oct 16th, 2017, 12:47 PM
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Oops posted on wrong thread!
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Oct 16th, 2017, 01:00 PM
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PQ: "... for such an old customer."
-----------
You really know how to hurt a guy.
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Oct 16th, 2017, 02:15 PM
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If that happened to me, I would pretend to myself that I had arrived at the airport and the fare wouldn't seem so unreasonable. And the ride was so quick!

In order for this to work, you have to be particularly vulnerable to self-deception, but you end up beating yourself up less.
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