How to Avoid a Taxi Scam: Part II

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A continuation of How to Avoid Taxi Scams: Part I with more tips and recommendations to prepare taxi riders for any scam or trick a cab driver could attempt.

Know what to expect ahead of time.  In order to be prepared, travelers should be aware of the local customs and expectations, especially when traveling abroad.  Make sure you are comfortable with the currency and taxi regulations, as they sometimes differ greatly from country to country.

Know the best route. You should be aware of the best route to your end destination, whether that be the shortest or cheapest way; it is definitely a good idea to have prior knowledge of your intended route so you can monitor where the driver takes you.  With this research, you can turn down the option of “sight-seeing routes” and other seemingly kind offers that are generally fueled by intentions for higher fares.  Also, you will be able to know about potential unmapped diversions and detours if you review an up-to-date map online and avoid this common excuse for longer routes and higher fares.

Know what charges to expect.   If you already know the range of fare prices to expect, it will be obvious if a driver is inflating the customary price and overcharging you.  You should always ask the driver for a flat rate to your destination before you get in the cab, this will enable you to turn down drivers with unreasonable quotes.  At this point, although you have been offered a flat rate, always ask for the meter to be switched on as well; the passenger has the right to choose the least expensive option.  Definitely agree on a flat rate before getting into a cab if the meter is known to be broken or malfunctioning; the driver is obliged to inform you of this.  A few common scams associated with the meter include: not resetting the meter from the previous trip before you or using counterfeit meters that have different rates programmed.  Again, always question the driver: ask how much the ride will be and what type of meter is being used before getting into the cab.

 

Know the companies.  It is always a safer option to call a taxi and request a ride rather than hail one off of the street.  This will ensure that you have a ride from a reputable source.  In some major cities, it is common to find taxis that are not properly licensed or marked, these can be very expensive and often dangerous.  Be especially aware at major tourist location such as airports, where these vehicles prey on unsuspecting travelers.

Utilize Resources.  As stated several times already, research and awareness are necessary to truly be safe from taxi cons and tricks.  Use all the resources you can get your hand on to be properly informed: friend’s experiences, travel blogs, forums, websites, and online tools.

TaxiFareFinder is one tool that is helpful in determining everything taxi related: the website and smartphone app provide a taxi fare calculator for cities around the globe.  An estimated fare is calculated so that passengers have an up-to-date approximation of prices to anticipate, which includes the initial fare, additional metered fare, and the tip.  Besides this, TaxiFareFinder produces current maps of potential routes, including the option to choose the fastest, cheapest, or shortest route.  This printable map will show the passenger different tolls, surcharges, and additional fees that could possibly be incurred, so once again, there are no surprises.  Additionally, this tool provides the contact information for certified and licensed cab companies in the area requested; this facilitates the process of finding a trustworthy company.

Follow these steps to make sure you are always a prepared traveler and taxi rider!

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How to Avoid a Taxi Scam: Part I

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After hearing horror stories about travelers being charged ridiculously high and unreasonable fares by taxi drivers, it is no wonder that many of us are skeptical and cautious when taking taxis.  Although there are certainly fair and trustworthy taxi drivers, it is still necessary that travelers are aware and prepared when using cabs.  The only way to truly protect yourself from a scam is to be prepared and knowledgeable about the region you are taking a taxi.

Some taxi drivers will do anything to make an extra dollar or two off of gullible riders.  Therefore, it is necessary to be aware of some of the most common taxi scams that have fooled innocent riders for years.

  • The age old trick of claiming the meter is broken, although simple, is a popular scam that allows drivers to overcharge riders easily, sometimes charging a few extra dollars, sometimes quadrupling the real fare.
  • Some might think that agreeing on a fare ahead of time could easily solve this problem, but often, taxi drivers agree to one price and then claim another once stopped.  Drivers have the experience to argue with the rider enough so that they can eventually win the unfair price dispute.
  • Other times, drivers may be using tampered or counterfeited meters that display different, higher rates; these meters often blend in but charge ridiculously higher fares.

These scams are quite common and straightforward, while others are much more devious and complicated:

  • A tactic used by some taxi drivers involves switching a large bill with one of lesser denomination.  The driver may pretend to drop the bill or slyly take a large bill and exchange it with a similar, smaller bill, claiming the passenger made a mistake and did not pay enough and make them pay again.
  • Similar to this scam, many drivers are given counterfeit bills, depending on what region you are in, and look for way to dispose of the bills as change to customers.

 

So the main concern of many travelers today is: How can I avoid being fooled and scammed by taxi drivers?  The few tips and recommendations below should help every taxi rider feel more confident, comfortable, and prepared to conquer even the most devious taxi driver.

Be prepared.  Research, knowledge, and confidence will help you avoid some of the common taxi scams and unnecessary cab charges listed already.  Always know what to expect for the region you are traveling in and approach the taxi with confidence backed up with previous knowledge.  With the following tips in mind, you should be able to dodge any trick or scam a cab driver throws your way.

Be skeptical. Better to be safe than sorry.  Travelers should always act cautiously when taking a taxi.  Ask for all information before accepting a ride and do not accept any favors.  Drivers offering to load and unload bags may charge you for this seemingly kind gesture.  When you finally agree on the ride, check that the doors can be manually locked/unlocked and that the meter is starting from zero or the initial fare.  Additionally, beware of tricks that some drivers know to increase the fare, such as spinning tires in snow to rack up the meter or asking for payment to return to the original destination.  Although these both seem like bogus attempts, they happen often and many cab riders fall for it.  When paying the driver, be sure to count your money out loud as a cashier might do when returning change to a customer, to avoid any confusion or debate about payment.

Look for How to Avoid a Taxi Scam: Part II next week for more tips on how to protect yourself from being fooled.

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New Feature: Enhanced Taxi Flat Rate Calculations

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TAXIFAREFINDER INTRODUCES ENHANCED SUPPORT
FOR TAXI FLAT RATE CALCULATIONS

Boston, Massachusetts – June 14, 2012 – TaxiFareFinder today announced an enhanced support for “Taxi Flat Rate Calculations”.  This greatly improves the flat rate support of TaxiFarefinder, where the users will be suggested possible flat rates that apply to their specific routes.

Examples:

  • Flat rate from JFK Airport to Manhattan Island
  • Flat rate from DFW Airport to Dallas Central Business District
  • Flat rate from ATL Airport to Downtown Atlanta
  • Flat rate from SEA Airport to Downtown Seattle Hotel District
  • Flat rate on trips within Charleston, SC Peninsula
Users are not required to use the POIs to have the flat rates be suggested. Addresses, lat/long, intersections, and famous landmarks are all supported.

Flat rate policies can vary greatly from taxi company to company; TaxiFareFinder suggests flat rates for the most popular, commonly known, and city-mandated routes. Please remember to check with the taxi companies before the trip to make sure they will honor those flat rates.  Please also remember that flat rates generally do not include surcharges, tolls and tips.

Enjoy.

About TaxiFareFinder:

TaxiFareFinder provides a cab fare estimation tool that allows users to easily figure out how much a taxi ride will cost in various cities around the world.  Utilizing a unique, proprietary algorithm that takes into account a multitude of considerations, the calculator is able to carefully calibrate accurate fare estimations based on local taxi rates and actual prices.  Available both on the website and through a mobile phone application, the services provided have proven to be useful to travelers around the globe.  Not only does the feature deliver fare estimations, but it will provide the user with potential routes, contact information for taxi companies, and additional useful tips and warnings.  The TaxiFareFinder calculator currently supports over 200 cities and is steadily expanding to more cities both domestic and international.

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WikiHow-To Guide on Using TaxiFareFinder

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Ever been stuck in the situation where you’re shocked at the end of your taxi ride?  It could be a higher per-mile rate, toll charge, or taxi etiquette – but at some point we have all wondered if the ride had been completely fair.  Tourists, business travelers, and everyday riders alike are finding that researching and figuring out an expected taxi fare ahead of time (or even as you are in the taxi) is extremely beneficial.  Check out this how-to guide on retrieving an estimated taxi fare ahead of time using TaxiFareFinder’s straightforward fare calculator.  This Wiki-How article walks you through the various steps and options provided by TaxiFareFinder as well as pictures of what your screen will look like.

http://www.wikihow.com/Calculate-Taxi-Fare-on-TaxiFareFinder.com

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