Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Taxi fraud


Recently, while making my way to Valletta to pick up our guests, the rear tire developed a puncture. I reluctantly instructed the guests to phone for a taxi. It later came to my knowledge that they were charged €25 for this short journey (a 15 minute 8 km journey). A London cab (where salaries are three times as much) would only set you back a maximum of £18 (€19.50 by today's rate) for the same length of daytime journey. A couple of days later I was stranded in Valletta (before 10:00 pm may I add) with no bus to take me to Paola and a howling wind that threatened to knock me off my feet, so I (again reluctantly) hailed a cab. I asked the unshaven taxi driver how much for the ride and he said €18. I replied I only had €10 and he immediately signaled for me to get in. I immediately realised I had probably offered too much but I felt I had no choice if I did not want to remain in the lurch.

First, does it not occur to taxi drivers that the reason why most Maltese do not make use of their service is that they have a reputation for overcharging?

Secondly, does not the Maltese Government have the guts to impose meters in taxis, and harsh penalties for those that are caught cheating? As a visitor, one can remain rather disgruntled with being cheated?

Thirdly, I discourage any use of taxis in Malta unless you know the average rate you are expected to pay so as not to be hoodwinked. According to the Public Transport Directorate, the journey from the airport to Valletta should cost you €23.29. Frankly I find that rather expensive even by London standards, let alone Maltese.


  1. First I would like to ask you to exactly give me the meaning of the ''London Standards, let alone Maltese'' apperantly you have no idea what you are talkng about. being a hotelier I have worked in senior positions in hotels both in Malta and London and I can assure you the London standards are a pity. True taxi drivers might rip you off but having the timer does not relly help either, when i was charged £100 for a 30min trip in London. I think that is excessive. I would suggest you having your facts right and know what the standards are before passing a comment like that. And when it comes to culture you can not seriouly compare London to the Maltese islands. London dominated by hate crimes and teens with knives, having you high standrds you cant really stop them do you?

  2. Dear Janckha, I live in the UK and use London black taxis regularly. Black cabs are highly regulated and any irregularity can be reported (each driver's details are clearly displayed). A Hackney Carriage driver could easily lose his/her licence.

    In Britain, taxis are used frequently by the British and this is because their rates compare favourably to British salaries. In Malta, that is not the case.