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Tourists warned of poor overseas taxi service

Holidaymakers visiting some of Europe’s biggest cities are being warned of ‘appalling’ taxi services, as research reveals some dubious practices.

Travellers are paying too much for their overseas taxi journeys, with drivers travelling at breakneck speeds on long routes, according to a new survey. Eurotest, a consumer-testing programme based in Belgium, undertook test rides in 22 European cities covering five routes per location.

The study found that only six cities had ‘acceptable’ drivers, leading the AA to conclude that “the standard of driving and customer care was often appalling. “Not one of 22 major cities on the continent provided a taxi service that could be described as 'very good'.”

According to the survey, a third of taxis wouldn’t accept credit cards. One Rotterdam-based driver swore loudly when an inspector asked to pay with credit card, performed a U-turn and drove back to the airport to find a cashpoint.

Other drivers across the 22 cities frequently broke the speed limit and drove through red lights; one even pulled out his mobile phone to send a text message. In Amsterdam, a second passenger was picked up unannounced, adding to the overall journey time. The condition of taxi vehicles was often better than expected, with Spanish taxis being highly rated. The Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, was rated one of the worst cities for a taxi journey with the driver, vehicle and route all described as poor. “Many people making city trips prefer taxis to the mystery of unfamiliar public transport. However the research showed a taxi journey can sometimes be just as daunting as public transport,” said Edmund King, AA President. “Fortunately most taxi trips went OK but I would urge anyone to wear their seatbelts and stay alert especially to the meter. Don't get in a taxi if it looks unsafe - bald tyres are normally a tell tale sign.” One way to avoid the horrors of holiday taxi journeys would be to rent a vehicle and drive while overseas. If you are planning on renting a car, car hire insurance could be advisable.

Date Created: 04 July 2012

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