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Based on my experience I have come to clasify taxi fares in three categories:
1. “What you see is what you pay”: Easy. You sit in clock starts. You arrive. Clock stops. Probably the fruit of German engeneering.
2. “What I say is what you pay”: also quite simple. The car has no clock (or its apparently broken). Chances are, the car has no licence. Maybe not even the driver… The fare will be set according to the following factors: (1) how wealthy, travelled, smart and drunk you are. (2) how late it is and (3) how many alternatives you might have.
3. “Spanish taxi”: The most weird fare regulation in the world. It is identical to category 1 (start fee and then per time/distance) with a big “BUT”: the ride finishes and then the driver presses a few bottons. All of a sudden the amount has increased by a couple of Euros. Logically, you think he is ripping you off.
You think there is a “turist-extra-charge” button? There is NOT. Wether it is logical or not, there are three reasons:
A) in Spain cabs charge an extra for suitcases (per piece) if they go in the trunk, and airport or station departure or arrival.
B) they charge them at the end of the ride, despite they had already charged the start fare at the start (that at least sounds logical)
C) drivers never explain this proactively, nor they teach it in foreign schools (though I think they should).
Given most visitors enter a taxi in an airport or station and tend to have luggage, they end up getting the extra-super-charge. Difficulties in language, jet-lag and other components don’t help.
But now you know. I can’t allow your very first impression of my country to be “I am being ripped off…”
Here comes my proposal: schools of the world should offer spanish culture as a topic in elementary schools. Countries with high affinity to Spain should actually make it obligatory for graduation.
Until that happens though, stick to my blog for further tips and spread the word.