Where did taxi drivers enhance or ruin your vacation experience?

This article got me thinking about taxi drivers and how they impact your vacations. The article talks about Malaysia’s tourism marketing efforts in Denmark, which are made harder because taxi drivers often refuse to use the meter in Malaysia.

I encountered this problem personally both times I visited Malaysia. In KL, we had to wait a while but generally we found drivers who were willing to use the meter. Sometimes it was the 2nd or 3rd or 4th taxi we tried though. In Penang, no taxi would use the meter. It was really frustrating (though looking back I wonder why I cared so much that they wanted 10 ringgit when the meter would have said 2 – 8 ringgit was a little more than $2 at the time and I shouldn’t have let the money cause so much vacation stress).

Just wondering where else taxis hurt the tourism industry. The bigger stories recently aren’t directly related to travel: the gay couple kicked out of a NYC cab for hugging, Australia requiring an English test for taxis, courts recently ruled that Korean taxi drivers can watch TV while driving (how crazy / scary is that?), and so on.

And just for the record, I think Malaysia should simply increase the meter rate so taxi drivers can live with it. I think NYC’s proposed law to ban taxi drivers from wearing earpieces while the motor is running is silly (no restriction is suggested for people who don’t drive for a living). I guess drivers in Cebu have it bad with low metered fares and few customers. I generally sympathize with cabbies who work hard (who wants to drive in traffic all day?), are subject to abuse, and are not usually compensated well.

I did think that Japan and Singapore had excellent taxis (although expensive).

Filed Under: Tourism marketing

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  1. Martin says:

    My worst experience was in Lisbon, when the taxi driver overcharged us by a large amount as we didnt undestand the currency. I have never seen a taxi drive away so quickly after dropping us off…

    London taxi drivers are all good and are rquired to know the city well.

  2. Bob says:

    I second (third) Malaysia. They are without a doubt, the worst taxi drivers I have encountered. Not only do they not want to use the meter, they often won’t take you where you want to go and offer an alternative which is usually not terribly close to the original destination. Moscow taxis are terrible too.

    On the good side, Singapore taxi drivers are great, I’ve never had a problem, they are right up there with London taxis.

  3. Sheri says:

    The worst I had was in San Franciso. Instead of going up the street we were standing on for two miles he took us on a long detour. When we said something, he began to drive like a madman, slamming on the brakes and making unnessary turns at high speed. I was thrown to the floor at one point. No tip for him.

    The best was in Chicago. When the taxi driver realized that I had never been there before he turned off the meter and took us on an impromptu sight seeing trip. He got a huge tip.

  4. Sheri says:

    The best taxis are in western Europe. English taxis are beyond compare if you take the black ones. I also have had good experiences in Paris, Florence, and Rome.

  5. Daniel says:

    In Sweden taxis are reliable but fairly expensive, In Bangkok taxis with taxameters are very affordable, however take a trip to Phuket and a taxi without taxameter will be very expensive.

  6. Francis says:

    I had a very pleasant experience in Barcelona in 2007. The taxi driver was taking me from my hotel to the cruise ship terminal when he was caught in a traffic jam caused by demonstrations. The police blocked our way and we had to make several unplanned turns and u-turns.

    We were moving very slowly in traffic when the driver realized that the fare was going to get higher than it should, so he turned off the meter. It took us at least another 20 minutes to get to the terminal. I thanked him and left him a big tip.

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