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Amsterdam Schipol Taxi service

Taxis in Amsterdam tend to wait in ranks rather than simply driving around waiting for a customer to hail them. If possible, it is best to avoid taxis in Amsterdam. 


Apart from being among the most expensive in Europe, they also tend to lack of knowledge of the city, so, you often have to provide very precise directions and this is made trickier by the fact that taxi drivers will tend to be the only people you meet in Amsterdam who do not speak good English. Also, do not presume that they will be familiar with obvious tourist attractions such as the Anne Frank House.

Worse, taxis in Amsterdam are not entirely safe. Some drivers may be lovely people but, sadly, there are also a lot of opportunists who will take advantage of a situation if they get the chance and they do see tourists, who are easy to intimidate and probably won’t bother to complain, as a soft target.

 

After the liberalisation of the taxi trade in 2000, which allowed almost anyone with a driving license to become a taxi driver, regardless of their familiarity with the city or any criminal record, organised groups intimidated many of the existing taxi drivers out of the lucrative tourist and nightclub areas.

A fairly common ruse is to start driving without turning on the meter - by law, the meter must be switched on and visible to the passenger before the journey commences but, sadly, the Dutch seem to be unable to enforce this law. If you happen notice and object, the driver will either pretend not to understand or will flatly state that he will not be using the meter for this journey. That leaves you in the awkward position of having to decide whether to insist that he stop and let you off, not knowing how he might react, or simply accepting that he will charge you some crazy amount. In most other European cities, we would recommend noting down the taxi license number and simply getting out of the car but, sadly, disputes over fares can turn violent, with one Dutch man dying in Amsterdam in 2009.


Taxi Amsterdam

The most important thing is to remain calm. In particular, if the driver is of Moroccan heritage, it is important not to offend his honor as that may escalate the situation out of control. A good compromise, if you find yourself in this situation and are not in a position to simply get out of the taxi, might be to accept that the driver will not use the meter but insist that he agree a price now, rather than at the journey’s end when his expectations will have inflated. For instance, a typical non-meter price from Schiphol Airport into the city would be around €35 but it is vital that you establish this before getting into the taxi.

A member of the AmsterdamStay team was once extremely sick and decided to get a taxi to a hospital just a few miles away. Seeing that he was sick and was not in a position to argue, the driver simply decided to charge €60. Our guy explained that he only had €50, which the driver reluctantly agreed to accept and then acted as if he was doing him a huge favour. For cultural reasons, if you are a female traveling alone, it is a good idea to insist upon a female driver, of which there are many. Be particularly wary of any taxi driver who stops on the street to try and persuade you to get into his car, this is not normal business practise in Holland.


It is also best to be wary of alternatives that a taxi driver suggests to your desired destination. Taxi drivers are paid significant kickbacks for delivering tourists to particular clubs whose main purpose is to empty your pockets. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to get to a restaurant, the taxi driver will insist that the place you want to go is terrible or that it is no longer in business but that his alternative is a marvelous place that offers whatever delights he suspects will grab your interest - gambling, sex, drugs etc. If you allow him to hustle you into going there, you will find yourself entering a dodgy-looking establishment with no other customers and the main feature will be drinks you didn’t order and the bulky doormen who, when you quickly decide to leave, will present you with your bill. Luckily, our sick team member’s driver did not insist on bringing him to a GoGo club instead of the hospital.


Also, if you arrive in Amsterdam without a hotel already booked or a particular hotel in mind, never ask your taxi driver to suggest one - they have a similar deal with some shabby, badly-located hotels who can only fill their rooms by offering hefty kickbacks to taxi drivers. Obviously, it is much better to arrive your accommodation long before you arrive but you can arrange something from within the airport, probably with a substantial commission involved but it is much more likely to be legitimate than relying upon some random taxi driver.


You can order your cab in advance here

 

 

 

 

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