“What’s that you say??!!”
You may already be doubting the value of this post because here you are being told not to use the local taxi service in Rome, but rather fork out a lot of cash for a LIMO.
Well, let’s clarify this point. First of all the term “Limo” is generally mistaken for the usual long stretch limos, used for Prom nights or special occasions. Per Ask.com A limo is defined as:
- Any of various large passenger vehicles, especially a luxurious automobile usually driven by a chauffeur and sometimes having a partition separating the passenger compartment from the driver’s seat.
- A van or small bus used to carry passengers on a regular route, as between an airport and a downtown area.
Here are some examples of Limousines which are commonly used when traveling.
E Class & S Class Cars (3-4 passengers) – With a designer leather or wood paneling, the interior of the E Class and S Class
was designed by those on the very forefront of ergonomic technology. Individual reading lights for all passengers, ideal for those long journeys, and automatic draught free climate control exemplifies the sheer class and luxury of Mercedes.
The E Class was named the safest passenger car on the market by the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, while the S Class comes with even more advanced technology. Safety features include the new Neck-Pro active head restraint system headrests to protect against whiplash.
MPV Mono and Minivans (6-8 passengers) – Multi Purpose Vehicles are more spacious for larger groups but come with the same ergonomic design, including three point seat belts, armrests and adjustable backrests, to ensure maximum comfort even on those long journeys up to the Tuscan Riviera or down to the Amalfi Coast.
Please note that the S Class cars are those which is most luxurious and are usually subject to availability. With a larger engine capacity, the S Class is also a much more dynamic vehicle, ideal for long journeys with three passengers. To be comfortable with more than three passengers however, larger vehicles are highly advised. By law, no more than five people, including the driver and tour guide if hired, may travel in the E Class or S Class.
The fact is, most Limo Services in Rome charge the same rates as taxis and much less if you wind up being one of the many thousands who have been ripped off by the taxi drivers.
Here’s how a few scenarios look in table format:
What you get
|Limo Services||Taxi Services|
|Professional Driver, licensed and trained for smooth travel|
|High class limo car with comfortable interior|
|Odourless driver with a professional image|
|Fixed Rates for Airport transfers|
|Fixed rates for Shuttle service from Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci (FCO) or Ciampino (CIA) Airports into Rome city centre:|
|Fixed rates for Shuttle service to Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci (FCO) or Ciampino (CIA) Airports from Rome city centre:|
Personal Car and Driver in Rome who knows locations and can explain the city, its wonderful sights and beauty
How Rome Taxi Services will rip you off
I’ve seen this happen for years and have finally decided to throw my two cents in, with the hopes that it might help someone avoid getting taken advantage of.
Let me preface this by saying that NOT ALL taxi drivers in Rome are going to rip you off. And let me also say that getting ripped off by a taxi driver isn’t limited just to tourists or visitors who don’t speak Italian. Many Romans I know, including my own husband, son of a taxi driver himself, have been ripped off by a cab driver here. So it can happen to the best of us. Over my years of working with study abroad students and tourists, I have picked up a few tips (and horror stories!) to share.
1. Where it happens
Like I said above, the majority of the exorbitant fees are getting charged by cab drivers from Fiumicino airport and Termini station, but personally I think Ciampino airport is the worst. At Ciampino they sometimes won’t even take Italian speaking customers. They continually say “C’è da aspettare” meaning “You have to wait” while we observe a multitude of taxis actively soliciting English-speaking or foreign tourists, whisking them away with Euro signs flashing in their eyes. It’s a sort of organized ring of taxi drivers headed up by a gruff woman who farms them out to the unsuspecting tourists exiting the airport. Think Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf and you’ll get the idea.
The reason they won’t take Italians from Ciampino is that they know that they know how much it should cost for a taxi. One of the best city ordinances is one that came out last October, setting fixed rates for cabs from Fiumicino and Ciampino airport to the city center: €30 to/from Ciampino and €40 to/from Fiumicino. Generally, the dishonest drivers are asking €60 from Fiumicino, making up reasons like extra baggage fees or extra passengers cost more. The fixed rates are for up to four people with luggage. For more information about the fixed rates, click here.
Termini is a bit trickier because it isn’t regulated by fixed rates. In general, a ride from Termini to most destinations within the downtown area should run you anywhere from €8 to €15. Unfortunately, guests and students may find themselves being charged anywhere from €40 to €75.
2. How they do it
Probably, most of the dishonest taxi drivers are preying on your insecurity regarding the city and lack of finesse with the local language. It amazing how many times people KNOW they are getting totally ripped off, yet still they fork over the cash, either out of fear, intimidation, or simply because they feel they have no way to argue.
There are many ways a taxi driver can manipulate the taxi meter to increase the fare, without you being aware of it. There are two tariff rates in Rome cabs: Tariffa 1 and Tariffa 2. Tariffa 2 should only come into play if you are leaving the city’s ring road, known as the GRA. Most tourists don’t need to go outside of the GRA, and although the airports are outside of it, they come under the fixed rate scheme so Tariffa 2 doesn’t count. In fact, with fixed rates, there’s no need for the taxi meter. Also, the taxi driver is obligated by city ordinance to inform the passenger when Tariffa 2 goes into effect. If they’re trying to cheat you, obviously they won’t tell you this. So keep your eye on the meter and when you’re within the city make sure Tariffa 2 isn’t turned on.
Some taxis have a timer below the meter that shows the time spent on the ride. Don’t let them try to trick you into thinking that the timer is part of the cab fare!
Often when an unscrupulous driver wants to rip off a passenger, he or she will purposely NOT bring the passenger to the requested destination. This unfortunately has happened many times with my guests, the taxi driver leaving the guests “stranded” on a nearby street. Why do they do this? Because they know that most likely the guests are going to a hotel or in any case to a destination where someone will speak Italian, and they are trying to avoid arguments when the Italian speaker at the destination realizes the exorbitant amount being charged. That’s why you should always be sure that you have a way of knowing exactly where you are before getting out of the taxi…either ask someone at your destination for a landmark or to wait for you.
To sum it up
From experience, Limo Services in Rome always pan out cheaper. Plus you get the luxury of a limo driving you around and a friendly driver who knows the beat.
Got a story to tell about your Rome experience? Drop it into the comments area.