The amount of taxis in Buenos Aires is incredible. During the infamous crisis of 2001, many people lost their jobs, and ended up driving taxis to try to make ends meet. That resulted in more taxis than ever, and it is almost never a problem to flag one down, regardless of the time of day, and no matter what the weather is outside. Taxis are relatively cheap, although for anyone who´s lived here for a while, they may tell you differently – taxi prices have been rising rapidly over the last two and a half years.
Some things to keep in mind:
- to catch a taxi, stick your arm out. They will usually stop, though sometimes, they don´t feel like it, or don´t like how you look, and keep driving. If this happens, don´t worry, just flag down the next taxi.
- In the front seat, you should wear your seatbelt. Many drivers don´t care if you do or not, but it is a law, and a lot of drivers require it. In the back, it is your choice, though most of the time, the seatbelts do not work. If you DO put your seatbelt on in the back, you are immediately seen as a foreigner, because this is not common here. However, once you see how the taxis drive, you may feel better with a seatbelt on!
- Taxi drivers love to talk. Sometimes, it is impossible to get them to stop talking.
- Taxis only accept four passengers. It is sometimes possible to find one that will accept five, though this is somewhat rare. Five passengers are illegal, and on top of that, it poses a safety risk to the driver. You can sometimes pay the driver a few extra pesos to do you a favor.
- It is common for taxis to try and rip you off, even if you’re not a tourist. They even do it to locals. If you are sure they are ripping you off, and you feel it’s worth it, only pay them what you believe it should have cost. Usually, it only ends up as a few extra pesos, so it’s not worth the hassle.
- A common way for taxis to rip off passengers is by changing the frequency in which the fare increases. They fiddle with the meter so that the fare increases more rapidly. Usually, it should increase every 3 blocks or so. Keep an eye on the meter, and if it is going up way too quickly (believe me, it’s obvious) then call them on it, and pay them what you know the ride to be worth. What they are doing is highly illegal, there is not much they can do. This usually happens when they drive people home from clubs, in the early hours of the morning.
Safety in Taxis
- Many tourists arrive here and are nervous about taking taxis. They read that you have to make sure you only take “radio taxis” because the other ones might kidnap you. Nowadays, you will rarely see any other kind of taxi, so it is easy to only take a radio taxi.
- A radio taxi is a black and yellow car that says radio taxi on the side. They all look similar, and all say radio taxi, but are actually a bunch of different companies. Each car has a number with a circle around it on their door. This indicates the registration of the car. Remember this number, in case you have to make a complaint.
- When you get into the taxi, they have to make their license visible, proving that they are allowed to drive a taxi. Make sure this is visible when you enter.
- Lately, there have been a few instances where female tourists travelling alone have been raped or abused. This is very rare, but sadly, this does happen from time to time. If you are new to the city, are female, and think you have the “tourist” look, it is best to travel with at least one other person.
- on that point, try to make it sound like you know what you’re doing and where you’re going when you get into a taxi. You will be safer, and less likely to get ripped off.
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