If I can help it, I try to avoid using taxis when overseas, especially when a much cheaper alternative is available via public transport.
However, we found ourselves needing to use a taxi during our trip to Rome in October 2012. Six of us needed to get from our hotel (Hotel Joli) on Via Cola di Rienzo, north-east of the Vatican, to San Pietro train station, a short distance south of the Vatican. The journey was a little too far to undertake on foot with heavy luggage in tow.
Ideally, we wanted to find a large taxi that could transport all six of us and our luggage in one vehicle. We asked the hotel receptionist to call a taxi for us. After a short telephone conversation, she informed us that the company didn't have any large vehicles available at that time and the best they could do was to send two cars.
The receptionist advised us that if we wanted to find a larger taxi, we could try our luck on the nearby Piazza del Risorgimento where a row of taxis would be parked up. We made our way there and located the taxi queue, but alas none of the vehicles were large enough for our needs, so we were forced to take two taxis.
We spoke to a few of the drivers and they told us that the cost of the journey to San Pietro station would be "the meter price plus 1 Euro for each piece of luggage". As an indication, we were told that the meter would probably be around 8 Euros, so we figured it would be about 11 Euros per car after the luggage charge was added.
The drivers seemed a little reluctant to take us the relatively short distance and wanted to try to negotiate a fare with us for where we were heading (Civitavecchia – although we didn't tell them that as we had no interest in paying for an 80km taxi journey when we could get there by train for a fraction of the price!). Instead, we told them that we had already purchased train tickets and only required a taxi ride to the station.
The journey took around 10 minutes and we paid 12 Euros per taxi. The meter started at 4.60 Euros when we first set off. Perhaps this was the standard Sunday pick up charge? Or perhaps the taxi drivers knew they could get away with it having already established the price we were willing to pay?
The airport is 32 km (20 miles) southwest of the city so you will need to think about transportation into Rome ahead of time. There are several options, each with its own pros and cons and the costs depend on how much you want to pay, how much convenience you want, and how many are in your group.
For us, we had a pre-arranged driver which was comparable to a taxi. We knew that our hotel was not within easy reach of the train station and until we got our bearings around the city, we didn’t want to be stuck with luggage in the middle of the city. Taxis run around €50 each way – a bit pricey if there are only 1-2 people, but for us it made sense at this point. If there are more people, it may be a cheaper way to go (although only if you don’t have a lot of luggage for your group) once you divide it up between everyone.
Another option is to take the train. There is a direct train running without stops from the airport to the Termini train station in Rome and costs €14/per person/one-way (2013). This will get you into the city center and, depending on where you are staying, it could be an easy walk from there. Look for the “Leonardo Express” train; it takes about 30 minutes to get to the city with this train.
There is another train that goes from the airport to the city which is a little cheaper at €8/person /one-way (2013) but it will take a bit longer since it does make some stops along the way. If you have time and want to save a bit of money, this might be for you. Look for the “Sabina-Fiumicino” (FR1) line. It runs approximately every 15 minutes.
The taxis in Roma are pretty expensive. All though it is nice to ride around in one for a while (looking at the sites) I would not recommend it for all your getting around. There is always a starting fee of about 1.75 Euros and at night the starting fee is more around 4 Euros. So it is those prices plus the amount of time you are actually riding in the cab.
Taxis are few and far apart, in Rome as in any Italian city. Italian taxis do not stop if you wave at them, Italians telephone booking for a taxi maybe 15 minutes before they need it and taximeters start running BEFORE they arrive to pick passengers. In addition, there are half a dozen places where taxis park: like in front of the train station. That is why your hotel porter will offer to get a taxi for you, if you just walk out of your hotel, you will not find a taxi.
Cab drivers might take advantage of a tourist who doesn't know their way around. We got into a cab and the driver started heading in the opposite direction of our destination. We immediately reminded him where we wanted to go and pointed back in that direction and he turned around. I'm sure at that hour he wasn't too busy and thought he could make a couple extra bucks off of us. Needless to say he didn't get a tip.
Always check to see where the meter is and that it is running when you get into a cab.
There are several ways to get to your hotel from the airports in Rome. One of them is by taxi. There are now set rates the cabs can charge you for a trip to a hotel within the city walls. From the FCO airport the set rate is 48 euros and from Ciampino airport the rate is 35 euros. You can catch a cab at the cab rank outside the airport. Before getting into the cab make sure they agree to the fee. Even though it is a set rate you will sometimes find drivers who will try to charge you more. Be very firm that you know the rate and this is what you will pay. This fee is the normal fee for during the day. If you arrive very early or very late there will be a supplement charged. Also, if you have a lot of luggage there will be a supplement charged. The trip from the airport into the city should take about half an hour. Traveling by cab to you hotel makes a lot of sense if your hotel is not by the termini station. If you are by the station, you can take the express train and then walk to your hotel. If you are not close to the termini station then you will need to take a cab from there to your hotel. Some drivers in Rome are not honest and will try to charge you double or triple what the fare should be. It is easier to get the cab from the airport straight to your hotel because you know what the fare will be up front and won't have to worry about being scammed.
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
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.
I've heard a lot of stories about taxi rip-offs but I never had any problems. At night, it's best to take a cab because the busses and metro don't run late and it can be dangerous to walk at night. If you're travelling with someone, just share the cost. But even in times when I took a cab on my own, the most I paid was around 10 Euros (from the Testaccio nightclubs to my hostel close to Termini).
Athens, Belgrade, Bucharest, Kaunas, Kiev, Krakow, Minsk, Moscow, Prague, Riga, Rome, Sofia, Warsaw, Zagreb.
Something all of these places have in common is no shortage of taxi drivers who see it as a divine right to rip off tourists. In Bucharest, Minsk and Moscow in particular it is utterly outrageous and if there is an honest taxi driver anywhere in these cities then I am yet to find them.
Some thing else each of these cities have in common is a well developed public transport system based on any of metro / tram / trolley bus. The public transport systems are simple, efficient, quick and inexpensive and provide a welcome alternative to the inevitable taxi driver rip off.
I used this service some years ago for several months, traveling every week to Rome.
The service was always great and I gave this info to a lot of other friends in the past.
Since I'm reading here a lot of posts regarding price and safe transport (expecially from women that are traveling alone) from Roma airports - Fiumicino and Ciampino - and other posts regarding daily tours around Rome or transport to Civitavecchia or Napoli, I contacted the company and I hope to help the VT travelers with my infos:
from Roma Fiumicino or Ciampino to downtown EUR 44,00
from Roma to Civitavecchia EUR 130,00
ask for other services: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
quoting flight number and air company and the airport
Fiumicino = FCO
Ciampino = CIA
Someone can find the prices more expensive than a taxi but I think that the service (the driver will wait you into the airport) is good and safe.
Taxis are easy to find. Make sure they are legit and prior to getting into said taxi talk about what the price should be. Some taxi drivers are still not following the new rule. To and From the airports into ROme costs only 40 Euro. It is a new law and must be abided. An information desk gave us a brochere that he told us to show the taxi driver were to swindle us for money which thankfully never happened. So just be sure you know that.
Also, at the airport there is a really great car service we used that picked us up at 330 in the morning and was great. It was 35 Euro during the day.
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.
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.
These are the official taxi fares in Rome (Summer 2012):
Amount on meter when you get in the taxi:
3.00 euro - workdays between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
4.50 euro - Sundays and holidays
6.50 euro - nights from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Fare class 1 ("T1)" per kilometer when going faster than 20 kph: 1.10 euro per kilometer
Fare class 2 ("T2)" per kilometer when going faster than 20 kph: 1.30 euro per kilometer
Fare class 3 ("T3)" per kilometer when going faster than 20 kph: 1.60 euro per kilometer
Fare while sitting still (i.e., going less than 20 kph): 27.00 euro per HOUR
NOTE: The meaning of the fare classes has changed. Instead of being geographic, they are now based on distance. T1 applies at the start of the trip until the meter reads 11.00 euro, then the meter switches to T2 until the meter reads 13.00 euro at which point the meter switches to T3.
There is a 10% discount from the fare on the meter for
1. trips directly to a hospital in Rome
2. trips of women by themselves between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
3. trips by young people leaving discoteques on Friday and Saturday nights (really)
First bag is free. Subsequent bags larger than 35 cm by 25 cm by 50 cm are 1 euro each.***check this***
To estimate the fare for a real trip, go to www.viamichelin.com, use the ROUTES tab to compute the distance from start to end, add in the initial meter amount based on time of day, multiply the distance traveled by the fare class, add in something for extra luggage, then add in some more for stops and starts...note that, of course, the driver may not go the way that viamichelin.com predicts, and he may do so for good reason, since Rome is full of places that "you can't get there from here".