Hailing a cab in Rome is not like it is in New York city. Cabs have to queue at specific places. You cannot hail one from the street but must go to the cab stand in order to get one. Even if the cab is empty they are not allowed to pick you up. When you get to the cab stand, get the first one in line. Before you get in tell the cabbie where you would like to go. They will understand where you want to go because they get so much tourist business. At that point you can ask what the expected fare wil be and decide if you want to take the cab. The legal cab fares will all be the same, the "fake" cabs just make up their own fares. Make sure the cabbie actually turns on the meter when you get into the cab. (the fake ones wait until the end of the ride and try to charge you quadruple what it should be).
If you are at a hotel, the doorman can hail you a cab. If you are out and about and need a cab (and cant find a cab stand) go to the nearest large hotel. Ask the doorman to hail you a cab. You can also ask him what you should expect to pay. He can give you a ballpark figure. You can also ask him to tell the cabbie where you want to go. Don't forget to tip the doorman for this service. Usually I round up the cab fare for the cabbie as well, depending on the service.
I have just got back from Rome. When I arrived at the Termini Station as part of my onward hotel journey, I stood in the queue for a white taxi. Someone wearing a badge was overseeing the queue and organising taxis. He asked us where we were going then started trying to organise a taxi. We waited a few moments then he brought someone over who was going to give us a ride. He took us to his car, which was parked across the road. It was blue and very scruffy, but we got in anyway. I was rather dubious and asked how much this wa going to cost. He sidestepped the question and when we arrived at our destination on the Pinetta Sanchetti, he asked us for €20 ................. EACH!! (there were 4 of us)
I refused to pay him and offered him €40 and said he could take it or leave it. After much arguing he flounced off in a fit of pique and told me to keep my money.
On our way back from our hotel to Termini Station, the hotel ordered us a gleaming white cab. The price? €20!
Also invest in a weekly or 3 day underground ticket. These were such good value! €11 for 3 days, € 16 for the week (or was it 6 days?) without limitations on the number of times they can be used. (watch out for pickpockets on the underground though)
There are un-official taxi drivers hustling for your business as soon as you step out of the airport or train. I do not suggest using these drivers. Registered taxis generally do not go out to hustle business, and are available at the designated Taxi Stands around the city and at the airport. Look for the white cars with the 'Commune di Roma' sticker on the side. A taxi ride across Historic Rome should not cost anymore then €8 or €10. A taxi from the airport is usually between €40 and €50. There are frequent stories of official Commune di Roma Taxi's charging €25 for a ride from the Termini train station to a hotel located 3 blocks away. A good way to avoid this from happening is, when you get into the cab, simply look at the meter; it should read €2.33, or €3.36 if it is a Sunday or Festival Day. If the driver knows that you are reading the meter, usually honesty prevails. The driver must press a button on the meter when you arrive. Watch and make sure the button that he presses does not make the fare bump up. This is a common trick, and they will say it is a"tarif" charge. Simply refuse to pay it, or mention calling the police. The driver will quickly change his mind. It is standard for the driver to charge an extra €1 for each bag that he has to load into the trunk, and a 10% tip is expected. Also, an honest and affordable, flat rate airport shuttle service is available at: www.romashuttle.com.
Taxis are not cheap but very convenient especially after dinner when you can just ask the waiter for a taxi, they have some sort of device which we don't have in my country, where they can book and call a taxi for you, and taxis usually come in a second for you.
Besides the public transportation and taxis there are also some private shuttle companies that provide an efficient airport shuttle service operating 7 days a week between Rome and the main airports (Fiumicino airport and Ciampino Airport).
For the same or less price then a taxi you will get luggage assistance and the
drivers will wait for you at the exit from the customs hall inside the airport terminal. Drivers will hold a sign with the passenger name written on and help with baggage.
one reliable company is www.directrome.com
I only used a taxi service once while in Rome, because I was out at night and didn’t want to walk near Roma Termini in the dark on my own. I was worried it was going to cost me a lot. But a trip that took me about 7mins cost me around 6€, I think. My driver was really nice, she didn’t speak much English, but I was able to give her the address of my hostel and she did take the shortest route there (was worried I might have been taken ‘the long way round’ – but no, not in this case :) ). Taxi’s are very comfortable and the cars I saw all looked pretty new. Only use the ‘official taxi’s’ – they should be white cars with a taxi sign on the roof.
Also there is an extra fee (surcharge) for taking a taxi between 10pm and 7am, and also a fee baggage (suitcases, etc.).
I never use white taxis, drivers tend to be rude, cars dirty, fares are a rip-off, credit cards unknown and they even charge you when you are stuck in the traffic.
CoopAirport runs an excellent fixed-price limo service (I think it's 45 euros to the centre but I'm not sure as I live nearer the airport and pay only 35). They accept credit cards, speak hand-English (they move their hands so foreigners understand :o), help you load and unload luggage and you can easily fit four people in one of their larger cars (they also operate 7-seater minivans).
You can book a car on arrival by calling or by just visiting their stand at Terminal A arrival hall (right in front of the luggage hall exit). I think they close at 10 pm so if you arrive later than that you'd be best calling them in advance and they'll have a car waiting for you.
Taxis are very expensive in Rome, considering the short distance they travel. They're much more expensive than in Madrid or Paris, so beware of them. Sometimes it's best to walk if you're in a budget. Also, being Rome such a narrow-street city, taxis often take a long time to reach where you want to go, because they can't go in all of the streets or because the heavy traffic the city has.
Don't waste your time with taxis that do not say "Radio Taxi" anywhere on the outside of the car. These are generally UNAUTHORIZED and OFF-METER so you will end up "striking a deal" with the driver and essentially get ripped off. They will be pushy and even try to convince you that you're lucky to even find him, but just say "No, grazie," smile and move on.
We really did a lot of walking in Rome but during the heat when we had done our sightseeing and wanted to get back to the hotel or to some where else fast (and cool!) we took a taxi. You can hail them yourself or they tend to hang around tourist attractions. Several times we went into a hotel lobby and asked the desk to call us one! We always had polite drivers and from one side of the city to the other it was never over ten dollars and that included a tip. We found the buses very confusing....certain bus stops only service certain destinations. Confusing and there was a slight language barrier. We opted for the ease and conveninece of a taxi and were glad we did.
Initially, I took taxis to get around Rome, just because I wasn't brave enough yet, this being the first stop on my trip, and first time overseas. Boy did I learn quickly. you want to avoid taxis in Rome at all cost. And I do mean cost. They are so much more expensive than public transport, that they should only be used if you are in an extreme hurry, or if you have loads of luggage. Otherwise, the public transport might not look the best, but it always get you there eventually. Additionally, as in all major tourist spots, they can and will try to rip you off by charging you extra baggage fees, the wrong fares, etc. etc. Just be aware.
I chose a hotel that had a free shuttle to/from the airport and to/from the Termini and the Piazza Venezia. This cut down on both the cost and alleged risk of Italian taxis.
It really worked out quite well, as we were able to travel on the hour in airconditioned comfort, rather than taking our lives into our hands in a crazed taxi driver.
Cabs in Rome, well all cars really, are small. There are taxi ranks which are the best place to catch a cab as there are rogue drivers out there. You can ask how much it will cost to get to a certain place before you get in.
Four of us took a taxi to St. Peter's Square one morning and the journey was like a Disney thriller ride! The cab driver swooped in and out of traffic, just like all the other drivers, and then got in to a hollering match with a well dressed man on a scooter. We did pick up a few handy Italian insults to keep in mind for future use LOL! In the end the scooter driver spit over his shoulder at the cab driver with a few hand gestures but the wind caught him and it landed all over his nice leather jacket. We all were in puddles of laughter over that.
It was, i think, a typical cab journey but other journeys we took were less eventful. A cab ride from the hotel in an outlying area of rome to the center was at the time 24,000 Lira which was about $24 Canadian at the time. It's now all euros so i can't say what the prices would be like now.
If you need a taxi from Stazione Termini, go to the official taxistand. The queues are long but go very quickly. Taxis are not very expensive and, as far as we have experienced, take you to from A to B in the shortest of time. Unlike taxis in Amsterdam, where they think you do not know the way in your own hometown...
Make sure that if someone orders you a taxi to or from the airport that they are clear exactly what airport you are going to. The reason being is that the reception at the hotel i stayed at wrongly advised the taxi firm to go to the wrong airport.. i.e. there are 2 and not 1 airport in Rome.
Only due to us realising by looking at the signpost we realised. And when we told the taxi driver he was trying to charge us 20 euros more even though the taxi was well over the price it should have been in the first place. It didn't help that he couldn't speak a word of english and i only knew a small amount of italian.. Because we refused to pay the extra amount he threatened to throw us out of the cab on a motorway and then drove us down some country lanes off the main route - thankfully these were only scare tactic to get us to pay for the extra fare. I am very relieved to be here now to warn people about this as we could have been less fortunate..
Flights like ryanair offer buses services to and from the airport this works out a lot cheaper and also a lot safer. Although i appreciate this isn't always practical.