/ Money, Travel & Leisure

Paying over the odds for taxi transfer companies abroad

Taxi cartoon next to plane

I once landed at Mexico City airport and was comprehensively ripped off by a taxi driver. Disorientated after a long flight, we ended up paying ten times the going rate for the journey from the airport to the city centre.

I wanted to ride in the city’s famous Volkswagen Beetle taxis. But I certainly didn’t want to start my holiday feeling stressed due to being taken for a ride by the driver! So, I do see the value in taxi transfer companies that let you make advance bookings to take you from the airport to your hotel.

You’d expect such services to cost more than local taxi fares (provided you’re not usually conned by the local cabbie) because they should take the stress out of the arrival experience.

Relying on a local cab means you may be uncertain about whether there’ll be one available when you land. You’ll also be unsure about the price you’ll have to pay, and you may struggle to negotiate properly if the driver doesn’t speak great English.

A transfer company should mean you have an English-speaking taxi driver waiting for you regardless of flight delays, and you’ll be whisked off to your hotel without problem.

Taxi transfer companies vs local cabbies

However, when we looked at taxi transfer companies after a Which? member’s complaint, we found that you could end up paying a lot more.

The member felt he’d paid over the odds for a poor taxi service when he used a transfer company on the Greek island of Kos. So we decided to investigate further.

We looked at five transfer firms operating in Kos and found that their average prices over eight routes were nearly three times higher than local firms. For example, A2BTransfers had the most expensive average price of €80 – nearly three times the average local taxi price of €27.

So whether you choose a transfer company, or a local cab, the journey from the airport to hotel can be a costly business. Have you had any spectacularly expensive taxi rides? Do you think you paid over the odds because you were a tourist?

Comments
Member

Booked a taxi transfer over the internet last year in Lanzarote but received good advice on the Trip Adviser forums first and booked direct with a local firm and avoided using any middlemen.
What really decided me was the local company did not want any money upfront as long as I paid cash !
The transfer went perfectly even though we landed 30mins ahead of schedule.

Member

I’d be very interested to hear how much you paid for your prebooked transfer and what area you stayed in?

Member

I think there’s a clear difference between booking private transfer in advance online and prebooked shuttles.

I’ve often found that the paid transfers offered by tour operators or travel agents represent very poor value for money as they often charge, per person, what it would cost to prebook an entire vehicle from a rival local firm.

In the canaries for example I stopped prebooking transfers after my first or second visit where I realised you would get a cheaper firm if you spoke to the driver in Spanish!
For these trips resorthoppa and the like wanted over £100 for my party but a local unbooked taxi cost us around 30 euros.

Member

Not sure I made that point very clear. Nevertheless, I’ve found prebooked shuttle/transfer companies to be overpriced and poor whereas local firms, prebooked or not, much better.

Member
GOLDENEYE says:
15 February 2013

A tip for Egypt, (Hurghada). you are steered to the transfer company’s desk before exiting immigration or customs. Our experience was that the transfer company attempts to over charge us by doubling the cost of the entra Visa fee. You are not oblidged to purchase the visa from them and i would recommend that you purchase the visa from the official Government desk for the correct fee or insist on paying the exact amount- they speak perfect English but pretend not to understand but dont be put off. We complained to our agent and obtained 50% refund in the UK..As for the transfer itself would suggest a taxi instead of coach as for the latter you are strictly at the mercy of the operator who decides when to leave or wait for next flight until the coach is full. You could loose a couple of hours of your holiday . i would be interested in hearing from anyone who knows of a website dedicated to info on private international transfer. (Xmas 2012)

Member
Rk Travels says:
20 March 2013

hi, good services