As people travel more and more, there is a greater need to be aware of honest transportation and not so honest transportation. You’re more likely to find a scam in a place where you look like a tourist. It’s easy to be scammed by taxi drivers in Asia, but it’s just as easy to avoid the scams if you know what to look out for.
Hailing a taxi in Asia isn’t hard. If they don’t have a passenger already, they will try to be your next ride. If you really have to try for a driver’s attention, raise one arm straight above your head, then lower it pointing at the ground with palm down and fingers together, then wave your hand. This makes it known you are in need of a cab. (Pointing with one finger or the American come here gestures are considered very rude.) Once you have a taxi pulled over, you need to ask a few questions. First, ask if the meter works and if it will be used. Just because one is present does not mean a driver will use it. Next, ask if they know how to get to your desired destination.
There are a great deal of scams, but many of the common ones are easy to avoid as long as you stand your ground with confidence and know what you’re talking about – or at least, pretend to know. One of the most common scams has to do with where you’re staying or going. Many drivers will tell you the location is closed; it’s not. Be insistent. If they don’t give in, get another cab; there’s probably one waiting just in case. Some drivers will take you to a knock-off version of your hotel; it will have the same name, but be the wrong one. Make sure to give them the name and address of your location and double check once you’re there. Don’t use drivers as a travel guide, they often will send you to places that will benefit them or out of the way increasing their fare exponentially. Always pay in small banknotes because many drivers will refuse to give change.
Meters are there for a reason. Insist on using the meter no matter what if it’s present. If a meter isn’t present, agree on a price before getting in the vehicle. That way you don’t have to worry about being overcharged at the end of the trip. Ask about any tolls, fees, or parking costs because the passenger is responsible for them and some drivers will hide them from you.
One of the best ways to avoid scams is by using an official and certified taxi. You can hail these taxis at taxi stands conveniently located around the city. You will pay a little more and may have to wait a few minutes, but you won’t have to deal with scams.