To taxi, or not to taxi is a heated question of much debate on TripAdvisor’s forum. We all have our ‘go to’ place for information and reassurance and when it comes to travel preparations I find the website www.tripadvisor.com.au invaluable. So no surprises that when planning my first adventure to Paris at the end of 2013, I scoured the forums and review sections of this site thoroughly. What I discovered was that there was a very mixed consensus on the reliability and understanding of how the taxi system in Paris worked. With opinions divided, and a growing case revealing the issues of confusion that travellers and tourists’ faced when in Paris, I set about finding a way to understand this mode of transport.
Here’s what I discovered…
- Taxi’s in Paris will not stop when hailed if they are within 50 metres of a taxi stand/cab rank. Legally, they are not permitted to do so.
- Another reason that taxi’s do not stop, is when en route to collect someone that has pre-booked – which leads me to point 3.
- A taxi that is available for ‘hailing’ or signalling from the street or roadside,is only possible if/when the entire top of the taxi, with the words “TAXI” written on it is illuminated and lit up. This indicates it is available.
- Tip: If you are constantly flagging taxis without success, and finding that they zoom right passed you, check your bearings either on a street map found on bus shelters, or an iPhone app. Chances are you’re very nearby to a taxi stand, and most likely are simply unaware of this.
- If you pre-book a taxi via phone or email, there will be an extra charge added to the meter from the moment the taxi departs it’s location (wherever that may be), until it reaches you. It is not uncommon for taxi’s to arrive from a location twenty minutes away and then reach you. To avoid a taxi travelling from a remote dispatch location refer to the mentioned link which as of 2013 details the booking phone number that corresponds to the location you are calling from. This ensures that if you are in the 1st arrondissment for example, you book a taxi also from a 1st arrondissment despatch centre.
- Tipping or gratuities are not expected in Paris/France, and is most definitely not necessary within the taxi industry. Should a driver demand one, there is an issue, however a 1-2 euro tip is sufficient as a gesture of appreciation, should you wish to do so.
- Cash is the most stress free method of payment. Most taxi’s do not accept cards, and should you need to pay via this method, you should book a taxi (not hail one) and disclose this at point of booking to the operator. This will ensure a vehicle with the correct facilities is dispatched (although there are not many available).
- Tip: Many taxi drivers that I encountered spoke very little English, and of the few that did, their English was quite broken. To avoid confusion of where you wish to travel to, ensure that you have the correct address written down with the company or business name, and show this to the driver at the commencement of your journey. Don’t forget your “Bonjour”, as soon as you get in the taxi, manners and etiquette are well regarded in France.
- English speaking operators when booking a taxi can be found at les taxi G7, found here http://www.taxisg7.com/?tg7=b5df89f6abb2d72ef4280160a3de0c83
- DO NOT accept any lifts or transportation from anyone that approaches you (especially at the airport), to solicit a ride. These operators are illegal, avoid the temptation all together despite how jet lagged you may be.
- Most taxis should display a surcharge sign inside their vehicle which details the costs for additional luggage items and additional passengers. Some taxi drivers have charged an additional amount of approximately 3-4 euro extra for the fourth passenger, whilst others choose not to. To avoid confusion look for the sign, so that you are clear on what you are paying for, should you decide to dispute the costs. However, I have found between the language barriers, for the sake of 3-15 euro, the stress/conflict is hardly worth the argument.
- Finally, my two favourite pieces of information that I printed and took with me in my handbag every day. An insightful resource into equipping you for the Parisian taxi system (as per the below links)
http://www.taxi-paris.net/page41.html Taxi phone numbers categorised by arrondissment
http://www.paris.fr/viewmultimediadocument?multimediadocument-id=30145 Taxi rank locations
I hope you found these tips of some use, all the best and safe travels.