In Rome there are 7,890 taxis and it is a convenient solution for getting around, especially in view of the often inefficient public transport, the limited traffic areas in the historic center and the difficulty in finding free parking, which discourage the use of the car.
Beware of scams
Abusive taxi drivers
Abusive taxi drivers are a plague of Rome’s mobility. Getting a license is very difficult and expensive, so we can easily come across cars that for all intents and purposes look like taxis but are not. And they should be avoided. Taxis in Rome are recognizable by the white color of the bodywork and the typical luminous sign with the word “taxi” on the roof. They also display the emblem of the Municipality of Rome on the front doors and the name of the taxi.
Rate 1 and rate 2
There are two different rates applied to the meter:
- rate 1 (urban areas)
- rate 2 (suburban areas)
The taxi driver is required by law to inform the customer when “fare 2” is applied when exiting the Rome motorway or the Grande Raccordo Anulare. But this does not always happen, and it is however advisable to make sure that the correct fare for our taxi ride is indicated on the meter screen.
Typical Istanbul scam and quite frequent in Rome. The “change” is the quick gesture of replacing the customer’s banknote at the time of payment with one of lesser value. Usually the customer’s banknote is hidden between the feet of the taxi driver.
Complaints and refunds
When getting into a taxi in Rome, it is always advisable to write down the taxi driver’s license number, present on a metal plate inside the vehicle. Or write down the taxi identification name written outside the door.
Stations and airports
The stations and airports of Rome are the main connection points of the city, but also the most critical points. In this list you will find useful tips to avoid problems.
The taxi stand at Termini station is located right in front of the main entrance of the imposing structure (the so-called “dinosaur”) on Piazza dei Cinquecento. Generally there is a queue to be respected, but it is rather smooth as it is a focal point for urban mobility.
The journeys from Termini station require a supplement of € 2 to the cost of the ride.
From Monday to Saturday from 06:00 to 22:00: a starting fee of € 3.00 applies
Sunday and public holidays: starting price of 4.50 €
From 22:00 to 06:00: departure rate of € 6.50
The “battitori liberi” of Termini station
At Termini station there are very particular dynamics. These are the “free hitters”, that is, taxi drivers who try to grab the most advantageous rides or the customers who are more easily swindled, even at the cost of being passed in the queue (parking the car on the right of the roadway).
How to avoid dishonest taxi drivers? If we are standing in line for a taxi and there is a person with a yellow bib who manages taxi drivers’ priorities, ask if it is possible to pay by credit card. In general, this way we will be immediately directed to an honest taxi driver.
Update (12/01/2020): following numerous reports, the Municipality of Rome has ordered constant surveillance of the area in front of the Termini station by police officers in order to avoid the continuation of these phenomena.
It is the second station in Rome. Recently renovated, Tiburtina station is the stopover for long-distance trains on the north-south line.
The parking lot in front of the Tiburtina station
Tiburtina station has increased security levels with armed soldiers in the immediate vicinity of the main entrance, but the dangers are lurking nearby. Accomplice to the lack of suitable lighting, the neighboring car parks under the overpass are often patrolled by groups of criminals intent on illegally requesting money for parking and annoying passing tourists.
Fiumicino airport is the largest in Rome and one of the largest airports in Europe.
From Fiumicino airport to the center of Rome or between the Aurelian walls: € 48 (fixed rate, both for taxis in the city of Rome and for taxis in Fiumicino)
Beware of illegal taxis
Despite the fact that a task force monitoring areas outside Fiumicino airport has been operating for years, be careful of illegal taxis.
It is the second largest airport in Rome. At Ciampino airport (G.B. Pastine), in particular in the evening, we find cars that make illegal journeys. It is essential to wait for a taxi at the appropriate stalls, generally abusive taxis are stationed in the second row in the first two streets of the parking lot.
The “sharks of Ciampino”
The biggest problem at Ciampino airport are the so-called “Ciampino sharks”, or authorized taxi drivers who often refuse the trips required by Romans, to focus on tourists, unaware of the standard rates. Sometimes even the cost of the single journey is multiplied by the number of passengers. During the day there are more checks and the probability of finding dishonest taxi drivers is reduced.
Alternatives to Taxi: NCC and Uber
Mobility is changing rapidly in all the big cities of the world. Including in Rome, even if in a less sudden way. In addition to public transport there are also chauffeur driven hire (NCC) and Uber.
Rental with driver (NCC)
The rental service with driver of the American company Uber, much appreciated in the largest cities in the world, is active in Rome with the Black service (Uber Pop has not been active since 2015).
It is a premium service with a high quality standard, with prices generally higher than taxis. Operation is simple: you register on the service app and book online. Once at the destination, the cost of the trip is charged directly to your account associated with the app.
How much does Uber cost
In addition to the variable rates based on the distance of the route, there are fixed rates for the airports. Rome-Fiumicino with Uber costs € 60 with UberBlack, € 75 if you book a van.
Uber vs Taxi
Taxi driver lobbies hold back the sharing economy and free competition. The constant protests in the square that often paralyze the city of Rome (but also Milan, Turin and Florence) make it one of the most powerful lobbies in Italy. In 2015, the appeal by the taxi drivers’ associations to the Court of Milan decreed the blockade of Uber-Pop for “unfair competition”.
The situation is decidedly difficult for Uber. We already saw Heetch disappear in February 2019, a French company, which offered a service similar to Uber. Even before arriving in Rome, he had to suspend the service due to an “adverse legislative situation”.
From October 2019 Uber is also present in Rome with Jump, a subsidiary that offers bicycle rental. These are the red bikes that can be activated with an app that we find around the city.