3 Sep 2018
We visited Rome for 2 nights at the start of September – we arrived at FCO Airport and had planned on getting the express train from the Airport into Rome, however our flight had been delayed by over 3 hours so when we arrived we opted to get a taxi as we were tired and just wanted to get to the hotel.
I had done my research before the trip – all be it, not well enough – and knew to ignore the gentlemen offering taxis straight outside the doors and went to the licensed taxi rank and went to the start of the que.
One taxi man asked us where we wanted to go and I informed him that we wanted to get to our hotel which was the street basically behind the Spanish steps, it seemed as though there was a bit of discussion between the taxi drivers in Italian as to who was going to take us and no one seemed to want to, but after a few minutes of awkwardly standing not understanding, the gentleman who we originally told our destination said he would take us and the flat rate would be 60 euros. — During my research prior to the trip, it was my understanding the the flat rate into the city walls was 48 euros, but being tired and desperate to get to the hotel I accepted the 60 euro offer without questioning and doubted my research thinking it had perhaps changed- which was a big mistake.
The driver of the taxi was not a very safe driver, sitting about a meter behind cars infant of him doing 60/70mph on the motorways, while at the same time being on his phone and drifting in-between lanes to overtake other slower cars, this may be the norm for places in Rome but it felt very unsafe.
Then the problem started when he got a phone call about 15 minutes into the taxi ride and was speaking in Italian – which I understand very little. After he hung up, he informed us there was a student protest in Rome and that the police were not letting any cars through the city walls and that he was going to drop us off at a the metro station – EUR Magliana and would have to continue our journey from there. This was through very broken English and me and my partner being only in early 20’s and tourists in a foreign country, did not want to question him in anyway and just agreed as it appeared there was no other way – luckily we were armed with smart phones and were able to make our way from this station to our hotel.
When we arrived at this station, the taxi driver informed us that the fare would be 48 euros and said it was a ‘special discounted price’ – I believe that this was far too high for a 22km journey but at this point we just wanted out of this taxi. I then proceeded to hand over a 50 euro note to the taxi driver, who then reminded us of how to get straight to our hotel on one train ‘which was very wrong’, about 30 seconds after I handed him the 50 euro note, he turned back and showed be a 10 euro not saying I had given him that instead, be being flustered and almost embarrassed took back this 10 euro note and proceeded to give him another 50 note.
As we had just arrived in the country we knew exactly how much we had an upon getting to the hotel we realised that I had infant given the driver a 50 in the first place and had scammed us into paying 90 euros for a very dogey taxi ride! and upon researching and asking our hotel – there was no such protest or demonstration going on that was affecting traffic flow in and out the city.
We were most certainly taken advantage of for being young travellers, I only wish I had stood my ground but did not want to cause trouble in a foreign country and failed to take note of the taxi information.
My advice – would be to either get your hotel to organise a hotel for probably the exact same price as a taxi, or to get the express train!