Tag Archives: cheating

Taking a taxi in Athens

15 Oct

This post is part of our adventures in Greece in September and October of 2013.  To see other posts in the series, click here.

We debated if we wanted the hotels on this trip to help us with airport transfers.  In Crete and Santorini we did, just to make things easier because the airports looked very small but for Athens we decided to just wait for a taxi at the airport.

Taxis were plentiful and some of them were even Mercedes – very posh.  Li had done research and there should be a flat fee of 35 Euros that you pay for any trip from or to the airport from the center of the city.  During our four rides to and from – we never paid 35 Euros.  We had four taxi rides because the first and last days of our vacation were spent in Athens.

The Mercedes taxis made us think about Greece’s economic melt-down.  A country that can spend that much on a taxi must be very well off.  We wondered if all the cars had been purchased in full or people were still trying to pay down loans.

Despite the large sign by the taxi stand, no taxi driver admitted that was the correct price.  The first driver tried to charge us 39 Euros which we eventually paid after the hotel refused to help us negotiate.  The second driver charged us 40 Euros – after insisting there was an “electronic booking fee” because the hotel had called a taxi for us.  Funny how the hotel never mentioned the fee?

Coming back to Athens we were nervous waiting in the taxi line at the airport again.  We didn’t know what would happen or how much money they would ask for.  The third driver took the cake – he said that we should pay 49 Euros.  He kept giving us tips as he drove us into the city center and I think he was trying to butter us up with a very high taxi bill.  We finally paid 40 Euros – claiming we had no more money.

Before the final taxi ride to the airport I tentatively asked the bellman how much he thought it would cost.  He said – 38 Euros – all taxis from here to the airport are 38.  I told him that we hadn’t paid that amount before.  He said he would speak to the driver.

The last driver was a woman – she charged us 38 Euros.  We were relieved – but we never did pay the stated price of 35 Euros.

I don’t know why it is so acceptable to rip tourists off in Athens.  It created the only bad taste in our mouth we had from a beautiful city.  If I were to go again I would arrange hotel transfers.  I may pay a little more money but I would know the price before and not have to worry about the drivers.

Has anyone else visited there and had the same thing happen or were we just really unlucky?  Any taxi stories?  Please share yours.

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