Most people probably don’t realize this, but the taxi meter has two buttons: one for regular hours (lower lefthand corner of the meter), the other one in the lower righthand corner for late night hours (a more expensive rate for after 11:00 pm). My questions is, what do you do when you catch a dishonest cabbie pushing the late night button during daytime? This has got to be my biggest pet peeve when it comes to taking taxis in Taiwan. Once when it happened to me, I just asked the guy to pull over and got out in a huff, and he knew why I got off. But this morning when it happened to me again, I was already late for a meeting and couldn’t afford the time to get off and look for another cab. So I simply “reminded” the guy that he had pressed the wrong button. I’m just amazed that someone would do that for a lousy extra $20-25 NT. Has this ever happened to you? Is there a number we can call to report such dishonest cabbies?
I’m sure this happens in other places, not just Taiwan. And yeah it is dishonest and it also probably happens to locals not just foreigners. Asking them is good, but what do you do if they choose not to respond to you or tell you that you are wrong?
In my opinion make sure you get the taxi number, his ID and name that is affixed to the dashboard and then call the company and complain about the driver. Most likely nothing will happen, but at least you don’t have to worry about being chased by an angry taxi driver holding a tire iron.
Sometimes you can tell if they are going to cause you problems or not if you decide to complain. Pick and choose your fights carefully.
I knew a guy who, in Missouri, charged drunk students full price, even though the uni had a $1 taxi-ride campaign to curb DUI.
They were none the wiser, and he put himself through grad school.
Incubus: funny story. i didnt know that. thanks for the, er, tip. Did you, er, tip him?
i guess you should just consider this a taxi tax, take the LOSS with good humor and dine out on the story for a few years. It makes a great story.
So, in the end, did u pay the day rate or night rate? Whatever, mate, it’s just money. No big deal. It actually shows a very cool entrepreneurial spirit, and if I was a movie director, I would put the guy in my movie tonight! He’s the real McCoy front and center. FUNNY!
but yes, pisses you off just the same. me too.
actually, getting ripped off like this, in broad daylight so to speak, is part of the urban landscape … and part of the DUES we pay, local and expats alike. Consider yourself blessed by an angel in disguise, trying to lighten your load…
Dishonest cabbies? What, here in Taiwan? And me thinking them the salt of the earth!
Oh yes, we know that some of them do go in for a bit of rape and robbery from time to time, kidnap and murder the occasional passenger, and are prone to swinging their iron bars at heads to alleviate boredom. But those are just unfortunate habits they picked up in prison – nothing to suggest their being morally bad. Whoever would’ve thought that they’d stoop so low as diddling their passengers out of several bob! It makes me lose faith, it really does.
Thanks Formosa for the little blessing. Having segue also helps to let off some steam. But more important, I’m sure a lot of foreign folks like you don’t realize that there are two rates. I’ve been ripped off enough times now that the first thing I do when I get in a cab is to check which button the guy hits.
I used to take taxis four or five times a day in Taipei, for about a year. I am aware of the pre-11:00 PM and post 11:00 pm rates. I never had this problem. The only trouble I have here is when I’m in rural areas, dealing with the local thugs. I usually try to find a bus, or rent a car before I leave home, because I know what is going to happen. It just isn’t worth it.
In Taipei, I’d recommend doing exactly what you did–(in Mandarin) “Sir, I believe you pushed the wrong button.” I think it is more effective to talk to him about it sooner rather than later. If he gives you trouble, and you decide to pursue it, remember that retribution is a big deal here, and be ready for the consequences.
Sorry I can’t be more helpful. Theives piss me off too.
I’m often in taxis but have had this happen to me only once in my years in Taiwan. I didn’t say anything, waiting to see what would happen. At the end of the ride, the driver, who apparently had never intended to rip me off, charged me less than was on the meter, giving me what would have been the correct rate. So no problem. But it probably would have been better to have politely mentioned at the beginning that the wrong fare was running.
The higher fare isn’t just a nighttime thing. It is also applicable on certain holidays, including several days during the Lunar New Year period.
incubus wrote; “…I’m sure a lot of foreign folks like you don’t realize that there are two rates. I’ve been ripped off enough times now that the first thing I do when I get in a cab is to check which button the guy hits.”
Yes, really, i did not know and i appreciate the heads up. Where does one look when checking out the meter? Top, bottom, side. I really never knew this before… and it’s a good idea to alert people. Thanks.
BTW, I was once on a biz trip in Kaohsiung, and the cabbie didn’t hit the meter at all. He just overcharged me by about HALF I later learned, a normal 80 dollar trip was 150 with him. He smiled the entire way. Little did I know. He told me he was a native of Penghu Island, had been in Kville for 20 years now. I later heard that some Penghu cabbies in Kville have this, er, reputation. Anyone else ever run into this?
I paid. Well, my boss paid for the entire trip. But still, damn it all…
While working in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) I was often required to do the long hours in the office, which meant knocking-off at about 11pm. Living in a big city meant that it was always easy to find a taxi, and there would always be a line of them waiting outside the office late at night. However, many would refuse to do a trip until after midnight when the higher tariff had kicked-in. It was a bloody frustrating experience having to negotiate down from an unjustly high rate, with a taxi-driver who clearly couldn’t give a rat’s rectum about a “fair go”…
It’s just not cricket…
On the other hand, I’m presently back in Oz, where a $200(NTD) taxi fare in Taipei equates to a $600(NTD) trip in Oz. Taxis here are far from cheap, especially if they add the “DHT”. I’m not sure what it really means, but a cabbie friend of mine was once telling me that she would push the “DHT” button for anyone who was likely to be a pain in the arse. She referred to it as the “dickhead tax”. Maybe this is the sort of overcharging that Taipei’s drivers do?
The Big Babou.
Very easy. The button itself lights up. During the day (actually, up to 11:00 pm), the left button should be lit. If the right button is lit, you’re paying the higher fare. Another way to tell is look at the clock on the meter. When the taxi is standing, the clock begins to run. At the regular rate, the fare goes up one notch every two minutes. But at the late-night rate, the meter jumps once every 1:30 interval (I think). You can make a habbit of checking the clock every time you hear the beep when the cab is standing still. If it’s showing 1:30 when it beeped, you’re paying the higher fare.
jeez, incubus, you’d make a great detective! Thanks.
I remember my first day in Taipei. Got the bus from the airport to Taipei Train Station. Then hopped in a cab to the ShiDa area. The guy charged me $400!!! I knew no better at that time. There were a bunch of cabs who used to wait ‘vulture’ style just where the airport buses drop their passangers off.
Maybe you look too much like your handle?
Kiddin’! I’m just kiddin’, ya radge!
Good cabbies: a 50$ ride home from outside a club at 5.00 a.m. (Should have been at least 150$). Another gave me a free ride to work, when I had forgotten my wallet. If you are a bloke, and see the guy trying to cheat you, just pay a fair price at the end of the ride. Or don’t pay at all.
But the Taipei cabbies have not managed to cheat me badly yet. Then again, I never take a cab. No, honestly, the number of nice experiences with taxi drivers here outweight the bad ones with a factor of 20.
Thanks for the info incubus! now I know why I sometimes charged differently.
You’re welcome. The worst one I’ve ridden in was the guy used black masking tape to tape over the late-night button, so you can’t see that it’s lit. So, always check the clock when you hear the beep when the cab is standing still. But Mr. He is right. The vast majority of the cabbies in Taipei are honest. We’re targetting the bad apples here.
The way I see it, there are far more important things to worry about when traveling in a taxi than which button the driver pressed on his meter … chief among them whether you will reach your destination alive. Or, the next worst fate – whether the cabbie will try to practise his English skills with you.[/i]
Or freak out about your Chinese skills or alternately complain about your bad Chinese.