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Joyce15 Jan 2nd, 2010 07:34 AM

Were we ripped off by airport taxi?
Our hotel in Madrid made arrangements for a taxi to pick up the next day to bring us to the airport. The fare was approximately 35 euros (started at 7 euros before we even got into the cab). Once at the airport, the cab driver added another 8 euros and when questioned, said that it was becuase the cab was reserved by the hotel. Is this customary or were we ripped off?

ira Jan 2nd, 2010 07:39 AM

Hi J,

I thought that you were going to tell us that it cost 100E. :)

In many European cities you have to pay from the point at which the cab starts (usually a cab stand) to where you are, if you call them. In addition, there are charges for luggage, special trips, night fare, various locations, etc.

35E is not unreasonable.


Joyce15 Jan 2nd, 2010 07:53 AM

It was 35 euros before the extra 8 euros was added for the reservation fee. Total was 43 euros. I agree it was not unreasonable for Europe. Just wanted to know whether the additional reservation fee was customary

Nikki Jan 2nd, 2010 08:12 AM

The reservation fee added at the airport sounds like a ripoff to me, although I can't be certain. We had our hotel in Madrid call a taxi, and the driver tried to charge us a surcharge for luggage at the airport. I had read in Maribel's guide ( that the surcharge for luggage had been eliminated some years ago, and I pointed to the sign on the back window as Maribel suggests. The driver just shrugged and took the amount showing on the meter. He said nothing about a reservation fee.

ipod_robbie Jan 2nd, 2010 08:21 AM

What price did you discuss with the hotel when you made arrangement for the pick-up?

This must really be eating at you since it's the single thing you have to write about your trip to Spain.

Yep - sounds like a rip off to me. I'd write a certified letter to the hotel, with a copy to the taxi company, and another copy to the local chamber of commerce demanding an explanation and a refund. Or at least a voucher for a free taxi ride next time you visit.

If my ex complained about an 8 euro charge I'd tell her to lighten up and stop sweating the small stuff. Maybe that's why she's my ex - that's all she did was nag about the small stuff.

(yep, that too)

Ackislander Jan 2nd, 2010 08:51 AM

ipod_robbie, no offense but the reason that scams continue is because people don't protest. Do you have enough disposable income that you don't mind dropping $12 to support the local swindlers? If so, I have some stock you might be interested in buying.

One of the functions of this forum is to make travelers aware of potential scams, whether taxis in Spain or gold rings "found" at the Eiffel Tower. Joyce asked a good question; Nikki gave a good answer.

janisj Jan 2nd, 2010 09:06 AM

Almost everywhere in Europe - it costs more if you have the hotel call for a taxi instead of just hailing one on the street. €8 doesn't sound like enough to be concerned about IMO. If he was going to scam you, I'm sure he could have added more than that just by taking a more congested street/route.

Christina Jan 2nd, 2010 09:39 AM

I think no one on here can answer the question, only that particular hotel can. So if you really want to know, why not contact them as they arranged for the taxi. Who knows, maybe that company does have a deal with them for that fee, and maybe it gives them priority (ie, that if they have several calls waiting, they go to the hotel first over a random cusotmer off the street). Maybe the driver totally made it up, but I don't think anyone on here can answer that question. Whether it is customary or not doesn't really matter if they do have such a deal with a taxi company.

annhig Jan 2nd, 2010 09:50 AM

hi Joyce,

IMHO part of travelling is learning to deal with the inevitable rip-offs to which one is subjected. sometimes the ripper-offers win, sometimes we do.

my advice is to enjoy the triumphs [the uneaten extras that crept onto the restaurant bill that you noticed, the phone calls you didn't make from the room that they had to remove] and forget about the times that they get the better of us.

is the hotel really going to send you those €8?

did you enjoy Madrid? that's the important thing!

lincasanova Jan 2nd, 2010 11:29 AM

The meter reading when he arrived was indicative of where he was when he was called out.

The airport supplement should have been 5.50 euros, added to the meter reading. There is no luggage surcharge, but YES, an arrival at airport, bus or train station surcharge ALWAYS.

I understand how non-trusting you feel. Very few times have I taken taxis to/from the airport and have it be what I assumed it was. A shame it is always so confusing or contradictory.

lincasanova Jan 2nd, 2010 11:56 AM

excuse me.. the surcharge is arrival or departure from airports,( I had called about that one) and I BELIEVE only DEPARTURES from train and bus stations.

See?! I can't even keep it straight and I live here! The problem is, I don't take many taxis!

suec1 Jan 2nd, 2010 12:11 PM

Well I know that 10 or 15E is not really a huge deal in a European vacation budget BUT it does annoy the crap out of me too when I suspect I am being ripped off. It has made me very wary of ever taking taxis and I try to find other ways to get around. Plus I have been terrified on several occasions by the driving - the taxi in SF that was going over 100 miles per hour across one of the bridges - then we had the SLOW taxi in Paris where we thought the man was having a heart attack! I do think 43E was a bit much to get to the airport in Madrid - its really not far, is it? So I know why it bugs you! My strategy now is when I get in a cab, state a price that I am expecting to pay - at least it puts out the premise I have some idea what it should cost.

letsgo39 Jan 2nd, 2010 12:49 PM

After being totally ripped off in London and Rome by taxi drivers I have just decided to use other means of airport transfers.I just don't know Europeon cities well enough to determine if they are going in the correct direction.It is not really about the money when you spend so much traveling but rather just the principle of the thing.I'll be in Paris in April and although I usually take the advice on here I will avoid taking a taxi.

thursdaysd Jan 2nd, 2010 01:02 PM

"totally ripped off in London" - really?? I thought London's black taxis were the most reliable around. What exactly happened?

hetismij Jan 2nd, 2010 01:09 PM

If you have the receipt and feel you were ripped off then this page tells you how to make a complaint:
You can work out what your taxi fare should have been here:

FrankS Jan 2nd, 2010 01:15 PM

The taxi q's @ Madrid airport are miles long(probably because the metro is just a couple of dollars pp), so those guys getcha for whatever they can. Whebever you feel you are being ripped off, just ask for a receipt. You will find that alone is enough to get a true price so there is no need to get angry w/em.

I betcha its just a game w/them too

letsgo39 Jan 2nd, 2010 01:34 PM

Driver took the "long way around from Paddington" to our hotel. We did not realize it until our return journey that was about 1/2 the price of our initial trip.I'm originally from Chicago so I thought I could handle a crooked taxi driver but I guess not. Live and learn I guess.I'm more familiar with London now but that was our first time there so I really did not know my way around.Now I would just take the Metro.

thursdaysd Jan 2nd, 2010 01:42 PM

One-way streets could explain some difference but that's pretty big! Was it a regular black taxi and did the driver use the meter? (BTW, you'd have to go to Paris for the Metro. In London it's the Tube.)

letsgo39 Jan 2nd, 2010 02:14 PM

Yep,Used the meter and black taxi picked up in line at Paddington.Driver kept saying some streets were closed??? I don't know maybe they were. I don't care anyway. Was a long time ago,my first trip to Europe.I'll be taking my 7th trip in April. I'm always just happy I'm in Europe. Not much matters after that and I don't take it personal at all.Sorry,Tube! Chicago it's subway.Who can keep track?

CathyM Jan 2nd, 2010 05:12 PM

"The taxi q's @ Madrid airport are miles long"

Hmmm.....I've never had this experience. I've only had to wait in a line once for a taxi at the Madrid airport - and that was only for 5 minutes. I've seen very long lines at Atocha station but still they move quickly and the total wait was under fifteen minutes.

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