Taxis in Prague
If you use a taxi (cab) when travelling in Prague, it is useful to familiarize yourself with the following information. Taxi services are offered and bookings are taken, either by drivers or at taxi ranks or from taxi radio dispatchers, on publicly accessible roads and other public places. Unfortunately in Prague taxi drivers have become a scar on its reputation. Fortunately, getting around Prague by public transport
is so easy and convenient that you may be able to forget about using taxis. Taking a taxi is a good choice when: you are travelling with a lot of luggage, especially from Prague Airport
; it is freezing cold; you need to get to a distant part of Prague; or you need to travel at night when the metro isn't running and the trams and buses run less frequently.
Taxis in Prague are fairly expensive. The official rate for cabs is 40 CZK flag-fall plus 28 CZK per kilometre and 6 CZK per minute while waiting. On this specific basis, any trip throughout the city centre - let’s say, from Wenceslas Square to Prague Castle - should cost about 250 CZK. A trip to the suburbs, based on the distance, should be around 200 CZK to 400 CZK, and to the airport between 550 CZK and 700 CZK. For your peace of mind you can book a taxi online for a fixed price, or an even cheaper shuttle bus from the airport
. Although the number of dishonest drivers has slightly fallen recently, taxi rip-offs remain an occasional problem, especially among drivers who congregate in tourist areas.
Every other taxi driver going from the centre to the airport overprices his fare - you may be charged up to five thousand crowns
(source: Czech press - AUGUST 2010)
Have you been victim of Prague taxi drivers? Share your story with us .. email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Taxi Driver Rips Off
How Taxi Drivers Overcharge in Prague – Every Second Taxi Driver Rips Off
At the beginning of December 2013, a Swedish tourist made a video on how taxi drivers overcharge in Prague and posted it on YouTube. It is rumoured all over the world that Prague’s taxi drivers often rip customers off, and also most guidebooks about Prague warn about it. Consequently owner of this video was threaten by AAA Taxi for abusing their logo and was forced to delete that video in order to avoid been sue.
The tourist got angry that he paid double prices for two trips. “So I began to shoot the taximeter,” said Emilian Sava from Gothenburg. When driving, the taxi driver pulled a place near the gear lever – the so-called turbo – and the amount on the taximeter began to grow rapidly. Why did the tourist begin to make a video? He noted that the taximeter ran quite quickly during one trip and he was surprised at it. “I was ripped off during four out of five trips in that way and I shot it twice.”
“Every second taxi driver rips off,” says the managing director of AAA Radiotaxi. The paradox is that it was just that company’s driver who was captured on the video ripping his client off.
We were even more shocked by the executive head of AAA Radiotaxi. He posted the information that he knows about the turbo button on the company’s Facebook page: “Everybody knows that one half of the taxi drivers has this button.” Although this harms his company, he allegedly cannot do anything about it. “They are not my employees. Our cars are contracted and we are not allowed to control anything. This can be done by the Council,” protests Kvasnička, saying that the company’s lawyers are dealing with the case. According to the executive head, the driver with the turbo button on the taximeter has left AAA Radiotaxi. The chief of AAA Radiotaxi, Jiří Kvasnička, also apologized for the initial weekend reaction when he stated that dishonest taxi drivers should be controlled by the Council.
The video of the trip during which the driver increased the amount on the taximeter using the button placed on the gear lever appeared on the internet on 9 December. The driver’s face, the features of AAA and the registration number are clearly seen on it. However, according to Mr Kvasnička, the registration number did not correspond to the numbers of the fleet that runs for AAA Radiotaxi. “The company had essential doubts about whether the video is true or not,” said Kvasnička. However, when checking the distance travelled using the GPS, it came out then that the record was true and that the trip was really overpriced. “Moreover, the contracting company exchanged the vehicle registration number and did not report it,” he added. Employees of subcontracted companies account for roughly one-tenth of the contracted capacities of the control centre; the rest are drivers who drive using their own licences. According to Kvasnička, more problems occur concerning the first and less numerous group of taxi drivers.
“Whoever gets his licence mostly values his trade; he is glad that he can determine when and how to drive,” said Kvasnička. According to him, the difference is in the form of liability for possible offences. “While a tradesman’s entire property is liable, it is only triple his salary in the case of an employee,” added the chief of the largest taxi control centre in the Czech Republic.
Roughly one thousand drivers are currently driving for AAA. According to Kvasnička, there are between 110 and 120 thousand transports daily, and consequently the control centre solves five or six complaints a day, on average.
Advice in conclusion – take a proven taxi service. Taxi services that have been operating in the market for a long time are a guarantee of trustworthiness. Their goal is that a client takes them repeatedly, and so they can offer better services to the client, such as positioning, payment by credit card, and also a better price, for example.
Most taxi services operate through an intermediary. This means that the control rooms conclude a contractual relationship with individual drivers who drive under a certain brand, and thus also guarantee a certain price. If you catch a taxi on the street, you are riding with a »private person« according to the rates given on the door, even though the car bears the labels of an actual taxi service.
Order through the control centre or online. The control centre works as certain protection for customers and makes travelling by taxi more efficient. The control centre has a large car fleet, positioning is faster, and moreover, it finds the car that is closest to you. If you give the target address when ordering, you will get information on the expected price. In addition, the movement of the cars ordered through the control centre is monitored in detail. Thus it is easier to complain about the transport if need be.
If you are travelling from Prague airport or station, we recommend using a Prague Airport Transfer taxi, for example; that company guarantees fixed prices. Although AAA Radiotaxi has quite a good reputation, the risk that the car you take at the airport will overcharge you is quite great. However, the paradox is that many tourists do not have the slightest idea that they have been ripped off. The driver asks for the amount that is displayed by the taximeter and so the customer, suspecting nothing, pays in good faith that the amount is correct. That the driver used the magic turbo button that could increase the fare several times, the customer then finds out only when he takes the same ride and pays a very different price for the same section of the route.
(SOURCE: newspapers, December 2013)
Prague Airport Inspections
PRAGUE RUZYNE AIRPORT INTRODUCED INSPECTIONS OF TAXICAB DRIVERS; PASSENGERS ARE RAISING COMPLAINTS ABOUT THEIR PRACTICES. Inspections are conducted by the Immigration Police of the Czech Republic, the Prague City Hall officers, and the Prague Municipal Police. According to the spokesperson of the Prague City Hall, these are continuous inspections, which will be repeated in the future. Police officers started to inspect the cab drivers on January 12, 2010. Reasons for launching these inspections were the repeated complaints of the passengers and the continuous long-term problems and disagreements among the cab drivers at Prague Ruzyne Airport
. The police has been filing large amount of complaints about the practices of the cab drivers, especially from the passengers. According to investigations, the cab drivers are attacking each other verbally and physically as well.
(SOURCE: DNES NEWSPAPER, 2011)
Here are some tips that might save you nightmares and a few hundred crowns:
• Don't get into a taxi that is parked in front of the train station or at a tourist site. These are waiting for unsuspecting tourists and are known to charge rates several times higher than they should be.
• If you need to catch a taxi on the street, make sure it is a genuine registered taxi. The yellow roof light must be permanently installed and must say ‘TAXI’ in black letters on both sides. The company name, licence number and rates should be printed on both front doors.
• Try to find out beforehand how much your ride should cost. If you're stopping a taxi on the street, you can ask the driver before getting in and even pay in advance if the amount sounds reasonable. If you're ordering a taxi by phone (always a good idea), you can get a price estimate from the dispatcher.
• Once in the car, make sure that the rate on the taxi’s meter corresponds to the price list posted in the car. If it doesn't, bring it to the driver's attention or have him stop the car and get out.
• You have the right to request a printed receipt from the driver. If he refuses to give it to you, you can refuse to pay the taxi fare.
One of many feedbacks about using taxi in Prague: I have very recently visited Prague and I feel that you have some of the worst taxi drivers in the world. When it comes to making up prices for journeys, we come to see your country not to get ripped off. Will warn everyone I know to be careful when getting taxis.. Avi Singh
Mad Taxi Driver Attacked Policeman
Nobody should dare get into the same car with a guy like this! A member of the 99-Crown taxi driver "family", Aleš R. is a real troublemaker. On the internet there has appeared another video recently, where he yells at a policeman "You scum… I feel sick when I see you!" shouting across the whole Old Town Square. The worst thing is that there is only one protection against such a taxi driver who attacks his clients and even policemen with words and fists: Do not get into his taxi. Because nobody can take his licence from him!
Posted December 2011
Taxi Rip off at Train Station
I asked about the price to my hotel at the train station and was told not to worry "you just pay based upon the meter". It is clear that there is no set meter price in Prague and I ended up paying about 3 times the real rate (800). The hotel suggested that next time call then and they would order the taxi, from someone they trust.
Posted 3/06/2009: Phee
Although the situation is getting better (and the city of Prague is working on it), many Prague taxi drivers are still as rude and dishonest as ever and will try to rip you off if you're a foreigner and ‘don't know the ropes’. Luckily, there are more and more reputable taxi companies that you can rely on for good service and fair rates.
Posted 1/05/2009: Editor
Dishonest Prague Taxi drivers
I just came back from Prague and my colleague who was travelling back an hour later just paid 3,000 (approx. 100 GBP) for a trip from Krizovnicke nam. to the airport. That was what the meter said so he paid it. I guess my instinct would have been to toss the guy 500 and walk away but not everyone does that.
We had both been warned by locals that it is difficult to find honest taxi drivers.
Posted 30th July 2008: Andrew Lee | Managing Director, Good Energies (UK) LLP
Your story - train station taxi
I was in Prague a few days ago , a taxi driver tried to charge my wife and I, 800 crowns to go from Holesovice station to the Prague Hilton at Pobrezni. When I said no thanks, he started to insult my accent. I had recently travelled from the Prague Hilton to Holesovice a few days before on a trip to Vienna and the Hilton car service charged me 275 crowns. Also when I flew into Prague airport at the beginning of my trip , AAA charged me 630 crowns from the airport to the hotel and the driver by the way was very friendly and helpful. This was the only blackspot on my trip to Prague, it's a wonderful city, the people are friendly and I enjoyed myself more there than I did in Vienna.
Posted 10th July 2007: Adrian Balls Manager, CBS Broadway
Please beware that some taxi drivers at Old Town Sq. put saying that they can charge passengers up to 99 CZK per km (regulated price is max. 28 CZK 1/ km) if the price is shown to the client. We strongly advice not to hire any taxis from the Old Town sq. ranks.
Your taxi story
We thought that you would like to hear of this story. Last Thursday 23 August at about 10 am we arrived at Prague main railway station off the sleeper train overnight from Frankfurt. We had a number of items with us including musical instruments as we were performing as part of the 2007 Dance Bohemia in the city. A porter took our luggage to what was described as "Official Taxi" via a big sign on the wall. The driver produced a list of prices and said that the official price out to our hotel for 3 passengers (Hotel Astra near Skalka Metro station) was 1,650 crowns and when we arrived he charged a further 300 crowns for our baggage! Sadly we were too tired to think of asking for a receipt and were well and truly taken in. However a day or so later we investigated the taxi rank and saw the same taxi cab which we photographed. (We are absolutely certain it was the same one) It is a silver SEAT Registration XXXXXX. On our return to the station yesterday we were charged 380 crowns for the same journey. We had a wonderful time in Prague and this was the only thing that spoilt it. While we are not necessarily expecting our money back I hope that this is enough information for you to deal effectively with this dishonest taxi driver. If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.
Posted August, 2007: John and Sheila Billard and David Williams
Your taxi story
Hi there editor, Thought I'd share another taxi scam story because quite frankly I was really disgusted with my taxi driver. Me and work colleague were hailed a taxi by the doorman at the Eurostars Thalia hotel on Tuesday 11/-09/07 night to take us to the La Casa Argentina restaurant. The taxi driver seemed fine, didn't speak English which wasn't an issue at the time as I knew exactly where we were going and how to get there. The problem started once I then asked him for a receipt to pay the metered fare of 162kc….only to find that he didn't actually give me a receipt from the machine but an older one for 265kc……which was for an amount more than the fare itself……so what's wrong I hear you say?…well I gave him my 200kc note and expected him to give me change…but he didn't and instead told me to 'get out' of the taxi, which after arguing with him I did seeing that this wasn't going to give me back the change from the fare!!!! I have to admit being a professional female British consultant working here in Prague I was left seething whilst walking into the restaurant. Luckily for me I got his taxi number XXXXX, which I'd like people to watch out for so you don't have to suffer the same!!!! Be warned fellow travellers whilst most taxi drivers are fine I managed to find myself a right idiot. Thankfully the food at the restaurant relieved some of the anger after a few great Mojitos…...
Posted October, 2007: Dimple Patel Siebel, Manager Interoute Communications Ltd
Airport taxi advice
I have been to Prague on several occasions and can recommend avoiding the silver VW cars outside the airport, or make sure your personal accident insurance is up to date. Have also tried the AAA yellow taxi outside the airport they are reasonable if you are not going anywhere east of the river and you don’t hit traffic. Some say about AAA taxi that approach is influenced by their monopoly at the Prague Airport. There was several post about them that their drivers are rude and don't care about passengers much. Third option is to pre-book car with some other airport transfer companies but there are also buts. When booking try use some of the bigger companies as they are much more likely to be better, that was my experience at least.
Posted MAY, 2007: Peter A. T.