How it works:
- Overview: this is the #1 scam that tourists in Slovakia will face, as the taxi industry is unregulated and they can charge anything they want!
- Version 1: claiming that the meter is broken and quoting an inflated price that is 2-3x the normal fare. Different taxi companies can also have different minimum rates (e.g. a trip’s starting fare can be set at €15) – these are actually displayed on a sign on the cab but sly drivers can cover them up at the start.
- Version 2: rigged meter where the meter jumps faster or by a larger amount than usual.
- Version 3: taking a longer route or driving to the wrong location on purpose so as to inflate the fare.
Places to beware:
What to do:
- Avoid: taxis at tourist spots (e.g. Bratislava Old Town, train stations) but if you, make sure to negotiated first. Also, never flag down a taxi.
- Photo: take a photo of the car plate and driver’s license.
- Booking: use a taxi booking (e.g. Hopin, Uber, Bolt); call a taxi over the phone; or pre-arrange transport.
- Overcharging: ensure meter is turned on or research a fair price to negotiate with – check online fare estimators, your hotel/hostel staff or taxi booking apps. Ask for a printed receipt.
- Longhauling: be very clear when communicating your destination. Check your phone’s GPS to see if you are headed in the correct direction, though detours may be taken to avoid jams.
- Rigged meter red flags: tampered/missing meter seal, only fare is displayed, driver clicking a hidden switch, driving slowly at a high speed area to prevent meter from jumping wildly.