Warnings and Dangers in Lisbon: Taxi Rip-Offs
Taxi drivers in Lisbon are notoriously dishonest and will try to rip-off passengers any chance they get. There are certain things to be aware of when taking a taxi anywhere in Lisbon.
Watch Out for Airport Taxi Rides
The airport has two taxi areas, one near the upper point and the other near the lower point. Avoid the lower point at all cost as you are virtually guaranteed to get cheated, as confessed by a veteran Portuguese cab driver. Portuguese taxi drivers are forced to meet quotas, most of which are unrealistic, so cheating the customer is the only choice.
One tactic used by drivers is to quote a price up-front and then leave the fare meter off. You should always insist on the fare meter being turned on, unless you decide to offer the cab driver a set price for the ride before it starts. The driver might accept the offer, but you must stay vigilant and insist that the price was agreed upon, as the driver might change his mind and try to get some extra money.
Beware of Illegal Extra Costs
It might surprise people to find out that luggage is not part of the deal when it comes to taking a taxi is Lisbon. Charging the customer extra for any luggage is one of the tricks used by taxi drivers. The legal limit is around two euros, but this limit is constantly tested by drivers who hope their customer is ignorant of the law.
Some drivers carry around a fare sheet that shows prices to certain destinations (usually starting at the airport). This is also illegal. The only price that should ever be considered is the one on the fare meter.
How To Protect Yourself
First of all, it is prudent to have your hotel speak with the cab driver and force him to write down the price on a piece of paper. It is much easier to hold a taxi driver to the price when there is written proof.
Second of all, Lisbon has introduced pre-paid taxi vouchers because drivers would often take passengers all around the city to rack up the fare, even though they only wanted to go to central Lisbon which is close to the airport. These vouchers have set prices and drivers cannot charge any extra.
Finally, if an argument with the driver is unavoidable, it is extremely important to make sure that the driver does not take off with your luggage still in the trunk. This happens quite often, especially if the passenger does not expect it.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about taxi rip-offs in Lisbon.