DOS and DONTS for Budapest Taxis
Let’s start with the DONTS what not to do when you need a taxi in Budapest and then we will have a look at what is a good idea to do.
- Don’t hail down an independent taxi in the street as a private taxi driver may overcharge you or take you on an unnecessarily longer route without you noticing it in time. He/she knows the local rules and does not answer to anybody. He can also speak the Hungarian language the policeman does and you don’t, so he/she can easily turn the situation into a ‘minor misunderstanding’. Don’t risk being ripped off.
- Don’t get a taxi from a taxi rank (see ‘hailing down a taxi’ above). Don’t risk being ripped off.
- Don’t sit in a taxi you find unacceptable for any reason. There are good taxis and taxi drivers in Budapest you won’t need to put up with a strange driver, a smoky car or dirty seats. Call another taxi from your chosen cab company, explain the situation and ask for a clean, non-smoking car.
- Don’t ask the cab driver to take you to a good place, as they usually tend to take travelers to bars, pubs & restaurants where they get commission, but not the ‘best place’ you had in mind.
- Don’t let your taxi driver text message during driving. Some drivers think that they can handle downtown traffic with 1 arm and half a brain. It’s about your life, your health, so politely remind the driver that it is not safe to ‘write and drive’.
- Don’t leave the taxi driver with your handbag or other valuables alone. It may happen if you want to buy a coke or batteries at a petrol station. Take your handbag with you if it’s really urgent to drop into somewhere.
- Consider taking the metros, trams, buses of Budapest Public Transportation (BKV) first: very efficient (even though antiquated), clean, safe and cheap. Taking a taxi is usually needed late at night, otherwise Budapest is very user-friendly, especially downtown transportation.
- Check your destination on a good Budapest Map. If there is a simple route to the address you want to get to, check if you are taken on a good route, and within a sensible time.
- Call a trustworthy cab company from one of the comprehensive Budapest Taxi Listings.
- Ask for a non-smoking cab if you are a non-smoker, or you cannot stand cigarette odor.
- Ask for a cab with AC if the weather is hot.
- Check the rates (or the total estimate/ price) with the cab driver before the journey. Negotiate the price, check the meter.
- If you go by the official taxi company from Budapest Airport, please check our info about Budapest Airport Transfers (the official taxi is simply official because it has a contract with the airport, not because they are the best value for money).
- Check the name and number of the taxi driver in case you need to refer to the driver regarding some problems with the taxi company. (It may be just a key or cell phone falling out of your pocket, but that’s enough inconvenience).
- Use the safety belt.
- Keep smaller banknotes (1000-2000 HUF notes) with you, as some taxi drivers do not have enough change. Make sure you have the approximate sum of the taxi fare with you in cash. Besides, there have been occasional complaints from Budapest visitors regarding a taxi (night) scam: you hand over a 10,000HUF bill (approx. 40 euros/ 62USD/ 31 GBP) and the taxi driver pretends to be given only a 1,000 HUF note. Check your banknote and say out loud how much you are handing over.
- Tip the cab driver if you were satisfied with the services, usually rounding up works, or about 10% of the taxi fare.
- Check your seat and belongings before closing the door of the cab. Do you have everything? Are you at your exact destination?
- Save some money on calling an airport transfer or taxi for you: if you ask the hotel concierge, the hotel will put their extra commission on the rates. Act independently.
More about Budapest taxis, and getting around Budapest.
Last updated: May, 2012