Taxi Fair?

2011 December 4
by Shawn Hennessey

I’ve lived in Sevilla for over 18 years and still dread getting into taxis because of the inevitable argument over the fare at the end of my ride, since I know more or less what it costs to get from A to B. Once a taxi driver even tried adding 3 euros to my fare on the way back from the vet’s with my cat by sneakily hitting the “supplement button” when he thought I wasn’t looking. When I called him on it he made some feeble excuse about the meter being broken and charged me the fare I told him it should be.

So I thought I would write a post here with some taxi advice for visitors because if you are foreign and have luggage you will almost certainly get ripped off.

Taxi fares are government regulated and there are various extra charges that a driver can legally add to the fare shown on the meter, but this means that there is a lot of room for confusion. For example, one of the most common scams is drivers charging for luggage from the airport when the airport-to-city flatrate includes luggage. I’ve heard of people being charged 40 euros or more, which is scandalous.

In theory you should be safe from being over-charged if you ask for a receipt, but it turns out that many taxi drivers carry fake receipt books without the stamp on the pages so you don’t end up with an official receipt, and how would a visitor know the difference?

I always advise people to write down the address of where they are going and, if at the airport, also write down the flatrate fare:

    • 21.89€ Mon-Fri 7am-9pm
    • 24.41€ 9pm-7am, Sat-Sun-holidays
    • 29.64€ Semana Santa & Feria.

Then give this paper to the driver before getting into the taxi. Remember that the airport fare INCLUDES luggage, so when they haul out a price list showing the 45 cents per case surcharge you are not obliged to pay it.

It’s actually a good idea to always write down your destination, even if just taking taxis within the city. Unless you are fluent in Spanish the driver may “misunderstand” you and end up taking you across town to a street or place with a similar sounding name, and then will charge you for the extra trip. This has happened to friends of mine.

If going to the train or bus stations with luggage, be aware that drivers can charge 45 cents for each suitcase larger than 60cm. They can also (for some reason I can’t fathom) charge 1.29€ for leaving Santa Justa train station. But they can’t charge extra for going to the station. Last time I took a taxi to Santa Justa the driver tried charging me the “leaving fee” plus the luggage fee for my laptop case. He soon came to regret this…

Another extra charge that I didn’t know about until recently is that if you call a taxi to pick you up at your house (or hotel) they charge an extra 3.43€ Mon-Fri 7am-9am / 4.29€ 9pm-7am, Sat-Sun-holidays. So it’s advisable to look for a nearby taxi stand.

Some of you may think I’m being overly hard on taxi drivers, but I am speaking from my own experience and those of many non-Spanish friends and clients who have been ripped off over the years. With tourism being so important to Sevilla it’s a pretty lousy “welcome” to the city, don’t you think?

What’s been your experience taking taxis in Sevilla?

2 Responses leave one →
  1. MaggieP permalink
    March 14, 2012

    This is great to know! I’m always scared to take taxis overseas because of being scammed (I walked everywhere in Budapest, Krakow & Warsaw because of this).

    Is there a site or page that gives basic fares to/from that visitors can reference, so we don’t get scammed?

  2. Jorge Rosado permalink
    June 1, 2012

    On May 3, my wife and I stayed at a hotel, the Sevilla Congresso, just a few km from the airport, because we had an early morning flight. We had the hotel arrange a taxi for us at 5 am. The hotel receptionist said the fare would be around 26 euros! We stayed at this hotel because of its proximity to the airport, so we questioned the high fare for just a few km but were told it is a flat rate from any hotel in Sevilla. You can imagine our further shock the next morning when the taxi driver demanded 40€ at the end of this short ride! (He did give us a receipt, but we have no idea how to officially protest this seemingly outrageous fare. We also noted the cab’s license number.) On our return trip, we noticed a sign, which we photographed, in the Seville airport saying that the most that could be charged was 24.41€. Information on how to register an official complaint would be most helpful!

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