In 2004 we organised a VT meeting in Brussels for the arrival of vginginbabe.
She had emailed her phone number and I tried to call her several times. It was always her answering machine.
Later on we managed to meet up and we heard her story on how on her first moments of arrival in Brussels she got ripped of by a taxidriver.
Accordingly to her explication she must have paid almost tripple the normal price and on top of it, through the consternation and her refusal to pay the first demanded amount of fee, she even forgot her mobile phone in the cab.
There are a few rules to watch when taking a cab:
1. Is it an official cab? in doubt write down the number plate or the number and company of the cab.
2. Check if there is a meter in the cab or negociate about the price first (but only do so if you know what approx you normally need to pay). Cabs always start with a start amount, independent of the distance you will drive.
3. If you know someone in the city you are at, you might want that person call their regular cab to pick you up or you can drive to that person and let him/her check if the amount could be correct.
I regularly travel to Brussels for business. In the last two years I was there at least 30 times and I used to use taxi between Charleroi Airport and Brussels. However the price of a taxi - stated at several sites - should be 90 euros for one way, it is t least 120 euro. Once I had an argument with a taxi driver who took me to the airport at 4am and he wanted 195 euro!!
However I heard rumours about Charleroi airport's minibus company, called charleroitransfer.com, I decided to try it. I travelled with them first in April. It was okay. Low price, quick transfer.
Since than I used there service 4 or 5 times and I was always satisfied. Last time they asked 25 euro for a one way trip. Comparing to a taxi, which is at least 5 times more and you get the same service... I saw at their website that they have great prices for groups. So it's worth to organize a little group for 4-8 persons. Than the price is 10 euro or so.
I also suggest to avoid ryanair bus. Okay, it's cheap, 13 euro... I used it twice but never more. Join the queue, get on the bus (once there was no place on the bus and I had to wait 1 hour (!!!) for the next one) and than travel to Brussels trainstation... Than the take the metro or the tram... and finally it's the same price as with charleroitransfer.com
A taxi driver tried to rip me off. 200 BF, on the meter. Kept demanding 400 BF. I suppose he thought I was drunk because it was late and I’d had a few beers. Not that many beers. He got 200 Bf.
You really should not have to contend with this type of rip off in Brussels. You come to expect this in some places but surely not in Brussels.
The local authorities must know it’s going on and should put a stop to it.
Be careful when booking a transfer online. We arranged for a minibus to collect us from our B & B in central Brussels well in advance of our trip to Brussels in early May. All seemed OK. It did bother me a bit that there was no contact no. for the company Charleroitransfer.com in the event of a problem. The company provided an address in Hungary only. This company organises transfers to and from a variety of airports as the unsolicited emails I keep receiving testify.
We were told we would get a text 10 minutes before the driver arrived to collect us. As it happened we got a text the day before we were due to leave Brussels saying that we would be collected between 3.30 am and 4 am the following morning. Our flight from Charleroi was at 7am and the airport is an hour away in daytime traffic.
We were up at about 3 am to give ourselves time to wake up and get ready. At 3.20 my phone rang to say the driver was outside. A bit of a rush and it was a taxi not a minibus that was waiting. One other passenger was in the taxi. She had not had any notice of the driver's arrival and was still in bed when he arrived.
Collected another passenger on the way and the driver broke every speed limit to the airport and dumped us there 3 hours before our flight but not before demanding that we pay him personally by credit card. When we produced receipts proving that we had all paid in advance he still insisted we pay him threatening to call the police if we did not cooperate.
It was a most unpleasant experience and not one which I would like to repeat. Needless to say I contacted the company on arrival home but have not received a reply. We may have just been unlucky as one of the passengers said that she had no problem when she used the same service from the airport to Brussels.
However, a contact no. for the company would have helped in this situation. I used a similar service on a trip to Istanbul in March. In this case the online company was Spanish - Viajes Alameda S.A. and it provided an office contact phone no. and an emergency no. which was reassuring.
Be very carefull when you take taxi in Brussels Airport Zaventem,
especially for long distances. The Taxi situation in Belgium is complicated.
The Taxi's in Zaventem, Schiphol and all Holland are costing you about 2.2EUR/KM.
That means to go Brussels Amsterdam Schiphol or the other way Schiphol Amsterdam Brussels Eurostar lets say, is gonna cost you 380-400 EUR if you take a taxi from the street.
If you look good in the Belgium net you can find Taxis that drive for 1.7-1.8 EUR/km
and you can easily save 20-60 cents per km.
For 200 km that makes a nice 40-120EUR difference.
You also risk to have a Highway tour of the Benelux on the Taxi meter.
Read this story
(sopy paste on the browser or go to the website limotaxi.net and check the blog)
The story with the kitties is also fun to read.
I found this nice BMW Taxi and I got a good deal Brussels Amsterdam for 240EUR.
Once we got stuck in the traffic the driver put the BMW GPS to avoid highway and we drove clean from Utrecht to Amsterdam through some small streets between the grass that I was wondering how could these farmer's streets be on the map.
It took us about 90 min in the middle of the midday traffic. Amazing!
And that car was costing 85000EUR, you could tell once inside. I can't forget this.
The best taxi ride I 've ever had.
This is the real experience and I will clearly state what happened on my last usage of charleroitransfer.net . I made the reservation for 2 and paid by creadit card. One concern was a hungarian company is charging. After making the payment I decided to check the reviews on the internet. As you can imagine, reviews are either awful or very good. It was a flight just before christmas and it was very important for me not to miss the flight. I made the booking so they will pick me up home and take to the airport before the flight which is at 8:35 to Poland.
The day before they need to send an sms to inform me of the pick up time. they didn't. At 6 pm the night before I called the urgent number which they state on the paper. It was the driver and he can't speak english. With my broken french I manage to get the owners phone number and called him. He simply told me to wait and they would inform us about the pick up time.
After a nervous waiting, I received the sms at about 9:30 pm at night as the pick up time would be at 6:30. For the flight which is at 8:35, if you take into an account 1 hour drive it is a pretty narrow time. The next morning I woke up early and started to wait infront of my apratment at 6:15 (15 minutes before the pickup time as they stated as well) in order to make sure they need to give me a call 10 minutes before the pick up. They never called me... At 6:30 I called the urgent number. The driver was late. He was still 10 km away from my apartment and I wasn't sure that I was the last one! at 6:45 he arrived and we hurried with a bit rush.
Afterwards it was ok and I managed to catch the flight. It was very very stressfull time and because of the first experience it wasn't nice.
As a final remark, they kept their promise with a bit delay they made me to catch the plane however the missing point is they aren't well organised as they state on their website.
on my return I used the bus service of ryan air. That can be another post...
Avoid, at all costs, the website / company "CharleroiTransfer.com." There are many horror stories of people being ripped off by them. In addition, normal cab fare can cost up to 200EUR.
Instead of either of these options, use the Brussels City Shuttle. It costs 13EUR each way to go between Charleroi and the Brussels-Midi station. The bus leaves every 20 minutes and is clean and efficient. If you do not feel safe taking a train from Brussels-Midi, there are plenty of cabs lined up outside of the station and you can take one of them to your final destination.
I noted this on my general transportation page, but I think it merits its own entry. If you leave anything in a taxi, you'll need to know the taxi number before the lost property office will even think of doing anything about it. It's not like other places, where ringing the cab company and describing the item will suffice. Therefore, if you can make a note of the cab number (on the outside of the vehicle and a couple of place inside), you should, just in case.