Unfortunately, Budapest swarms with taxi hyenas, who cause a lot of headache to unsuspecting tourists. If you wanted to avoid falling victim to a hyena and being subject to a taxi scam, here are a few tips on how to travel by taxi in Budapest.
All taxi companies in Budapest work with government regulated tariffs. The final amount you pay is composed of three items: the base fare: 450 HUF, plus the distance-based fare: 280 HUF/km, and a time-based fare of 70 HUF/Min. So when you sit in the cab, the meter should read 450, except if the driver had to wait for you a while, since for that period the time-based fair applies.
Remember, there is no such thing as night tariff. If the driver starts to argue for a higher price with the idea that the service costs extra during the night, you can be sure it’s a scam and you are facing a hyena (licensed taxis breaking the law).
To give an idea about real taxi prices, here are a few examples: from Széchenyi Bath to Oktogon, it costs 1000-1200 HUF during the day, while it may even be cheaper at night, since the traffic is lower. From Oktogon to Liszt Ferenc Airport it costs about 7000 HUF, assuming there are no traffic jams and the taxi can go at a normal pace.
So how to travel by taxi in Budapest? In order to avoid a taxi scam, it’s best to call an official taxi by phone. However, if you decide to get a taxi in the street, double-check the car. The hyena taxis look very much like the official taxi company cars: both are yellow, with black checkered decoration on their sides with the following copy on the front doors: Licensed Budapest taxi. Luckily, there are two signs that are telling: hyenas do not have company logos in the middle of the front door, nor over the sign on the top of the car.
If there’s no special logo or company name anywhere on the car: you are likely to fall victim of a taxi scam. Unfortunately, like in front of all venues that attract tourists, there are many hyenas waiting for glamourous, tipsy and uninformed travellers in front of Szechenyi and Lukacs Baths. We are trying with all our might to fight the situation and help you avoid their nasty tricks. So please, after leaving Sparty, always check the taxi you are sitting in. If you are unsure which taxi to choose, feel free to ask our hostesses, who are happy to help you. An awful taxi scam can easily and understandably destroy even the most fantastic party-experience. If you follow these guidelines on how to travel by taxi in Budapest, the arrival to your accommodation will be much more uplifting!
Regardless of Sparties, in order to avoid surprises and scams, if you plan to take a taxi anywhere in Budapest, our advice is to check the expected fare at the following English-language page: www.taxifarefinder.com