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Athens taxis


Athens Taxis


You just can’t miss them. Regardless the brand and type of the car, they all are bright yellow and they will take you wherever you need to go. There are about 14.000 taxis in Athens. Average every taxi is operational 19 hours per day driving 350 km. Every day taxis in Athens drive about 500.000 kilometers totaling up to 1.8 million kilometers a year. Taxis in Athens are cheap which accounts for the high number of kilometers yearly.

One could say the Athens taxis have their own set of rules which aren’t always legal. If you want to catch a taxi in the street, you often will have to shout your destination to the driver as he drives by. If he is not going your direction, he may not stop to pick you up. This is standard practice in Athens and not regarded upon as rude. Just flag the next taxi you see.

Taxi cowboys

Taxi cowboys in AthensMost of the times you will have an honest driver when you hail a taxi in Athens. However, there are some taxi-cowboys that will take advantage of tourists not knowing their way around. They will overcharge you, take on other passengers while driving you, make a big detour or drive you to a hotel they get a commission from. You want to play it safe? Ask a few taxi drivers how much your ride is going to cost first so you will know the normal price, then get a taxi that charges that price. You want to pay for your drive, not buy the car....

According to the Greek legislation, upon your request, taxi drivers have to provide you with an official receipt for the amount paid for transportation services. The receipt should also indicate the taxi registration number, the license plate and the driver's name.

If you do get overcharged in some way or other passengers are taken on board without your permission, don't start a fight but report the taxi scam to the police. They will deal with the cowboy. Below you can read how and where to do so.

A good way to avoid being scammed, crowded express buses or trains is to book your taxi transfer online (up to four people per taxi) before your arrival. The taxi driver will be waiting for you in the arrival hall of the airport holding a sign with your name. He will take you straight to your hotel or any other destination you booked online. As you paid when you booked your taxi, there is no risk of being overcharged and no money hassle. You also won’t be asked to pay more than you did. Read more… Top

Taxi fares

Meter starts at
Rate per km tariff 1 (within city limits)
Rate per km tariff 2 (outside city limits)
Night tarif 2 - 24:00 - 05:00
Waiting time per hour
Radio taxi - immediate appointment
Radio taxi - appointment in the next few hours
From and to airports
From ports, railway stations and bus terminals
Luggage charge per item over 10 kg
Minimum Fare (Athens)
Minimum Fare (rural areas)

There are two basic tariffs, number 1 and number 2. Depending on the time of day and the journey, the driver must select the correct rate. Tariff 1 is the "day rate" used from 05:00 till midnight. Tariff 2 is the night rate valid from midnight to 05:00. Tariff 1 is used within the city limits where the taxi is registered. Tariff 2 is used outside that zone. The number 1 or 2 should be clearly visible on the meter. Top

Both driver and passengers have obligationsTaxi driver’s obligations

• To be polite, willing to serve their passenger and be decent.
• To give you any kind of information related to the taxis’ service (price,
  route, etc.).
• Not to carry more passengers than the specific number their taxi-license permits.
• To take care and clean the interior and exterior of the car.
• To deliver anything that might be left in the car to the police or the owner.
• Not to operate any kind of musical equipment or the car windows without your permission. The
  driver does not need your approval to open de window on his side.
• To use the shortest route to your destination unless you yourself choose a different route.
• The driver must have a road map of the area in his taxi.
• The driver has no right to take on other customers unless he has asked for and received your
• After dark, he has to have the sing with the inscription "FREE" switched off when the car is
  occupied and switched on when it is available.
• To operate the taximeter as soon as you get into the car.
• Not to refuse you unless you are under the influence of any kind of illegal substances, are not
  sober or are not accompanied by a person who is.
• To help you carry your luggage in and out of the car.
• Upon your request, the taxi driver has to provide you with an official receipt, not a hand written
  one. The receipt has to mention the total amount, the taxi license number, the license plate
  number and the name of the taxi driver. Top

Passenger’s obligations

• To be decent and avoid causing anything that might damage the car.
• Not to smoke.
• To take care of children, pets and objects that are in the taxi.
• In case the taxi gets dirty due to the passengers fault, (s)he is obliged to pay for cleaning the car.
• Blind people, disabled people or pregnant women always go first even when they are at the end of
  a passengers waiting line. Top

Known scam tricks

Taxis in Athens traffic• The taxi driver lets you get in and drives off without turning
  the meter on and without telling you how much the ride will
  cost you. Tell him to turn the meter on.

• He will give you a price that is significantly higher than the
  actual value of the trip. This price may seem reasonable to
  you, as taxi fares in other parts of the world are higher and
  distances traveled are typically longer. Don’t accept this and
  tell him to turn on the meter.

• You ask for the meter to be turned on. He will fumble with it, but not turn it on properly. In the
  meanwhile, you are away from the taxi stand and, if it is late night and you carry heavy luggage, it
  would be difficult to find another taxi, if you ask to get off. Tell him you will report him and/or to
  drive you to the nearest police station that is open.

• He may exploit your confusion about the look and feel of euro currency and he will produce a 5
  Euro bill instead of the 20 Euro you thought you gave him and claim that you gave him a 5 Euro
  bill. Keep your money in your hand until he is ready counting the change he has to give you.

• The driver will pick up other passengers on the way to your destination and will make detours to
  deliver them while the meter is running. He will collect the proper fare for them and he will not give
  you a discount, making the detours at your expense. When you get in, tell the driver you will not
  accept additional pick-ups.

• The route the driver will follow will not necessarily be the shortest route to your destination but the
  route that will maximize his chances of picking up other passengers on the way so that he
  collects double fare. When you get in repeat you will not accept additional pick-ups and you want
  him to follow the shortest route to your destination.

• People with children and luggage are highly undesirable passengers, as they fill up the taxi and
  make it difficult or impossible to pick up other passengers on the way. As a result, taxi drivers on
  the street will discriminate against such passengers and refuse to take them on, especially off the
  street. Where police is present to regulate the hiring of taxis, for example at the Athens airport,
  and sometimes at the intercity bus stations, taxi drivers usually cannot select their passengers.

• On a trip from the airport, the taxi driver lawfully charges the surcharge for airport pickup, and the
  toll on Attiki Odos (the highway from the airport to the outskirts of the city). The taxi driver will,
  however, generously round up to the next ten then requested fair, claiming that it is for the
. "luggage", charging two or three times the legal amount for the "luggage". To avoid problems,
  upon request for a receipt, he will issue an illegal handwritten receipt, instead of the legal printout
  of the fare meter. Don’t accept it, get his taxi number or his license plate and tell him you will
  report him to the police.

• You pick up a taxi from the airport with a friend who is going to a different destination. If the first
  person to get off pays the fare up to that point, the taxi driver may attempt to illegally charge the
  second person the full fare from the airport again! At the first stop, both get out and take another
  taxi for the second leg of the ride. Top

Taxi line at the Athens AirportHow to avoid frustration?

As said before, there are many honest and hardworking taxi drivers in Athens who do a perfect job. However, because of a number of taxi cowboys that have given taxis in Athens a bad reputation, here are some suggestions and things to keep an eye on to avoid frustration.

1. Call for and use radio taxis as much as possible. The small surcharge you pay for the call is
    really worth the professional attitude of radio taxi drivers. However at peak times or bad weather
    it may be difficult to find radio taxis available.
2. Make a note of the radio taxi company you called, and make sure that the taxi that you enter
    carries the label of the company on its door. Other taxi drivers may spot you and take you on,
    'stealing' you from the legitimate radio taxi that you called.
3. If near a taxi stand, walk there yourself with your luggage and take the first taxi in line. Do not
    talk to taxi drivers trying to pick you up as a passenger.
4. Before you take a taxi, get informed about the normal price of the ride. You can also ask a few
    taxi drivers about the price before you get into one, to check if you are not going to be
5. Tell the taxi driver upfront that you want the most direct route to your destination and no other
    passengers picked up on the way.
6. All taxis MUST use the meter, if the driver doesn't switch it on when you get in, ask him to. If he
    still doesn’t, tell him to stop and get another taxi or tell him you will report him to the police.
7. If the taxi driver offers you a flat rate instead of using the meter, stop him immediately and
    to get off. The flat rate will be a lot more than what the meter would record.
8. Don’t start a conversation with the taxi driver nor allow him to open one with you. Do not tell him
    where you come from. He may be trying to assess your potential as a victim.
9. Do your own mental calculations of the various charges. Taxi drivers will always be "sloppy" and
    round these charges up (never down).
10. Always ask for a receipt before you pay. If the driver finds an excuse to not give you one or
     wants to give you a hand written one, don’t accept it; there is a good chance you are dealing
     with a scammer.
11. When you pay, unfold the cash and speak up the amount you keep in your hand. Watch his
     hands carefully as he counts the change. When he is done, give him your money. This way he
     cannot trick you in saying you gave him a smaller bill than you did.
12. If you pick up a taxi from the airport with a friend who is going to a different destination, both of
     you should get off the taxi together at the first stop and then one takes another taxi to his/her
     destination. If not, only the second person to get off should pay the fare, and share the ride with
     the first person at a later time.
13. Be prepared to threaten the taxi driver by recording his number and/or his license plate and that
     you will report him to the police. A crook taxi driver will likely react in a rude manner and drop
     you off the taxi immediately. He will not risk being reported.
14. If you are getting off the boat at the port of Piraeus with luggage and children, especially early
     in the morning, be prepared for a long and aggravating struggle to get a taxi, as taxi drivers are
     choosy and refuse to take you on as an "undesirable" passenger. At the intercity bus stations
     (KTEL) and the Athens airport, there are (usually) orderly lines for both taxis and passengers
     and police presence which (usually) minimizes aggravation. Top

Taxi's are part of Athenean lifeReport any taxi scam!

If you have been scammed by a taxi driver in any way or have been overcharged, this is what you have to do:

• Find the taxi number inside the car and write it down. If it is
  not there or it is not visible, ask the driver for his license number. Also write down the date, the
  hour, the license plate and, if possible, the brand and type of the taxi.

• Take the effort to form an official complaint with the police! Over time, this is the only way to bring
  taxi scams to a halt as the Greek government and the Confederation of Taxi Owners are not doing
  anything about it. With a formal complaint, the police has to take action against the taxi driver
  and they will because, they too want it stopped as it only brings them a lot of work, a lot of very
  unhappy and frustrated tourists and it is giving Athens a bad reputation.

There only is one place in Athens where you can officially complain against a taxi driver:

Headquarters of the Traffic Department of Athens (Trochea Athinon)
Location map 24-26, Th. Deligianni Street, Metaxourghio
Tel. 210 5230 111
Nearest metro station Metaxourghio
Write this down and take it with you to Athens

The Metaxourghio metro station is about 50 meters from the police building. If you have a witness who was with you at the moment you were scammed, take him/her with you to confirm your complaint. Only the passenger that paid for the taxi trip can complain with the police as other people did not suffer any (financial) loss.

You can also inform (but not officially complain to) :

Taxi Owners’ Confederation of Greece
4, Pireos Street, Athens
Tel. 210 5236 904
Fax. 210 5235 198

Perfect alternative

If you can avoid taking a taxi, use the Athens public transport. The metro, bus and tram system in Athens is extremely well organized. It is cheap; it takes you pretty much everywhere you want to go, including luggage and it spares you the aggravation of having to deal with taxi drivers. The metro is not affected by traffic jams so it may even be faster than a taxi for trips in the city. Top

    Taxi cowboys
    Athens taxi fares
    Taxi driver’s obligations
    Passenger’s obligations
    Known scam tricks
    How to avoid frustration
    Report a taxi scam
    Perfect alternative

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