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Italy - Taxis

Taxis are a convenient way to travel in and around the country, even if they are a bit expensive. Most of the Italian cabs are regulated by the government. They have a meter and can be easily recognized by their color (either yellow or white) and the “Taxi” sign on the roof. Passengers traveling by these cabs are charged as per the meter. Visitors and locals should avoid taking taxis that don’t have a meter as those are the unregulated ones. In such cases the drivers tend to charge passengers extra for everything, right from traveling at night to their luggage.

Getting a registered taxi in Italy is not very difficult, especially if a booking is made with the company in advance. There are numerous cab operators to choose from, depending upon the city you live in. The contact details for some of the companies are:

Radio Taxi: +39 06 4157 / +39 06 3570
Pronto Taxi: +39 06 6645
Samarcanda: +30 06 5551
Tevere: +39 06 4157
La Capitale: +39 06 4994
Coop. Tassisti Cinecitta: +39 06 767 4198

Florence Unione Radio Taxi: +39 055 4242 / 055 4390 / 055 4499 / 055 4798
So Co Ta: +39 055 410133

Radio Taxi: +39 02 8585 / 02 6767 / 02 5353 / 02 8383 / 02 3100
Milano Taxi: +39 02 355 4182
Taxi Blu: +39 02 4040
Yellow Taxi: +39 02 6969

Radio Taxi: +39 081 552 8773

While booking the service, passengers need to state the pick-up and drop off points. They are then given the number of the taxi that has been dispatched along with the approximate arrival time. However, getting an English-speaking operator can be quite a challenge. In Italy, cabs turn on the meter as soon as they leave for the pick-up point. This means that passengers are charged for the miles and time it takes for a taxi to reach them.

Hailing a cab on the street isn’t a norm in Italy, like it is in the US, Canada and the UK. Tourists and expats who are new to the country often get frustrated when Italian drivers don’t stop in spite of them signaling from the curb. Another thing to bear in mind is that a majority of the taxi drivers in the cities operate through a radio service. A cab that looks vacant may actually be on its way to pick a customer.

The easiest and probably the most preferred way of getting a registered cab in Italy is by walking up to a stand or rank. They are situated all over the cities and can be spotted by the “TAXI” sign (black lettering on yellow background). If there is a line of taxis waiting, passengers should go to the first one right at the front. If there are no cabs waiting, people form a line and wait for taxis to pick them up. The meter starts only when the passenger sits in the vehicle. The present amount at which the meter begins varies, depending upon the time of the day.

The starting taxi tariff varies from one region to another. It can be as low as €2.50 and as high as €22.00. The fare per kilometer and waiting tariff also depends on the regions. Details about taxi fares can be accessed through several online resources including http://www.numbeo.com/taxi-fare/country_result.jsp?country=Italy. Taxis charge a higher rate on the weekends as compared to weekdays. There is a €2.00 surcharge for any cab leaving from Termini. There is also a €1.00 additional charge per piece of luggage that goes into the boot (the first bag is free).

Tipping taxi drivers in Italy is acceptable but not necessary. Passengers often pay about 50 Eurocents more than the actual fare. Drivers get no more than €1.00 to €2.00 more when they help to load or unload luggage.

It is always best to have cash handy before sitting in a cab. Very few taxis accept credit cards and also provide a receipt for the fare.

Italian cab drivers are usually honest, professional and friendly. A few may try to over-charge their customers, especially when the passengers are foreigners. Some of them may also make an attempt to pocket extra money by claiming that they don’t have change. It is therefore always best to carry plenty of coins and smaller bills while traveling by taxi. At times, drivers inform passengers that the meter is “broken” and will negotiate a fixed fare. These tend to be elevated fares and expats are advised to look for another cab in such cases.

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