We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Jerusalem taxi driver

New Jersey
Level Contributor
340 posts
Save Topic
Jerusalem taxi driver

From a number of postings, it looks like the taxi drivers in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are notorious for overcharging. (For example, always have their meters turned off).

Can anyone tell us how to deal with the these taxi drivers so that we will not be grossly overcharged and taken for a ride? (A little overcharge is OK for us the tourists.) The last thing we want to to have a bitter arguement at the end of our ride.

Thanks in advance.

sg2000

SANDEMANs NEW Europe - Jerusalem
Cultural Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours, Walking Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Private Tours
Guided Tours Israel - Day Tours
Sightseeing Tours, Bus Tours, City Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours, Private Tours
Green Olive Tours
Sightseeing Tours, Walking Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours
Washington State
Level Contributor
2,165 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Jerusalem taxi driver

The locals and folks like Douglas will tell you to insist on the meter and I suspect this is probably the cheapest method.

I always ask at my hotel before I take a taxi about how much a fare to my destination should cost. I then negotiate for a flat rate to that location at that price before I ever set foot in the taxi. Be prepared to walk away, even if you quote the going rate. Many times your offer will be accepted as you're turning to leave.

Don't attempt to negotiate in front of other drivers, there seems to be some loss of face in giving in while other drivers stand around. If 2-3 drivers refuse your price, you're probably too low.

Jerusalem, Israel
Level Contributor
717 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Jerusalem taxi driver

I think the impression you got is due to the fact that we are more likely to write about an exceptional experience than about the normal and unspectacular.

According to my experience, 90% of the Israeli taxi drivers DO use their meters - automatically, even without request. Another 5% switch them on when you ask them to do so. Only the last 5% are really annoying. And there you have got the best advice already: If you cannot agree about the price ahead of the trip (or about the use of the meter), then simply walk away and take a different taxi.

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
14,529 posts
206 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Jerusalem taxi driver

I will add that I noticed a major improvement on my last visit (May 2008) over what I experienced in October-November 2006. I had no real battles over using the meter.

However, the taxis gathered in front of the King David Hotel still seem to be a pool of sharks who will try to take tourists (at least too many of them are). So I would look elsewhere. As Matzchik says, just politely insist on the meter, and get out if they won't use it.

Douglas Duckett

mid-hudson valley...
Level Contributor
1,280 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: Jerusalem taxi driver

The only place I experienced something outside the norm was on a Friday outside the Dung Gate and that was clearly a supply vs. demand issue coupled with a tourist area. No meter but an agreed upon price. If I rememeber correctly, I paid 50 shekels for what should have been a 35 shekel or so ride. So grossly overcharged in terms of percentage, but not so bad in terms of money. No tip though to this guy however whereas I do usually give a small tip even though I know it's not necessary.

In general, I preferred to phone a taxi company (Rehavia Taxi) and pay the several shekel premium for the pick-up. But I was staying at an apartment, not a hotel, and I speak Hebrew. I don't know how feasible that is staying in a hotel and speaking English.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
340 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Jerusalem taxi driver

To all responders:

Thanks very much for the valuable tips in dealing with the taxi drivers. I think I should be able to handle them now.

sg2000

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
36,699 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Jerusalem taxi driver

This past summer I basically had no problems with cabbies ( save one--he did a very short trip--on the meter and then tried to charge me for the small bag that I had placed in the rear seat next to me.!! --claimed the bag was "in the car" At that point, when I reached the hotel ( Ramada, one night only) I insisted that he get out of the car and hand me my bag. He wasn't happy, we argued--but did it!)

Usually I stay at the Dan Panorama. They can't control who sits in front of the hotel but some cabs have a Dan Panorama magnet on their sides. These cabbies ALL speak English and ALL charge the meter--no problem. --and since they are sitting there--no extra charge. So, if you are near that hotel--walk over and take one of those cabs.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
340 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Jerusalem taxi driver

We will be staying at the David Citadel Hotel. Does anyone know if the cab drivers hanging in front of this hotel are as "problematic" as those in front of the King David?

Thanks for any info.

sg2000

Level Contributor
21,533 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Jerusalem taxi driver

Definitely not - they are Rehavia taxi (if taken inside the hotel's bay). But do make sure they put on the meter, and if you have an issue, complain to the hotel's concierge, since they have a franchise with the hotel and the taxi company's management wants very much to keep that running.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
340 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Jerusalem taxi driver

Thanks Anon for the info.

sg2000

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
14,529 posts
206 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Jerusalem taxi driver

I agree with Anon. In fact, I learned to walk down King David Street to the David Citadel to get a cab, because I never had a problem there. (I was staying at the YMCA Three Arches, right across from the King David Hotel.) So that's a very good option.

To give another example of the King David Hotel crowd, when leaving for the airport on a Friday evening, I had called for a cab. The dispatcher told me that the driver's name was Yossi. Drivers kept coming up to pick me up, and when I said, "are you Yossi?," five or six said "yes." When I asked "who called for you?" (I had given my name, of course), not one could say. Finally, the real Yossi showed up and asked for "Douglas." Funny that all of them were named Yossi!

They are shameless there, and I don't know why that hotel draws a particularly unscrupulous lot.

Douglas Duckett