Taxis - How not to get cheated
Bratislava's taxis are not as bad of a nightmare as those in some other cities of the region. Simply follow our advice and you will find the taxi service convenient and even cheap.
Bratislava has about 20 separate taxi firms with over 2,000 vehicles and at least one hundred additional drivers who are not signed up with any firm. Taxis that carry a sign with the name of a taxi service are generally a cheaper and safer option than unmarked cars with only a yellow taxi light on the roof. The individual firms usually hold drivers accountable for complaints. These are usually also cheaper than hotel taxis at large hotels.
Recently, a smartphone application named Hopin has gained in popularity - it is worthwhile to use it if you are staying in Bratislava for more than a few days. Hopin allows you to order a taxi without making a phonecall - you can see taxis on a map, rate drivers and communicate with them via text chat.
The drivers not signed up with any taxi firm often prey on unsuspecting tourists at major tourist spots: be careful if taking a taxi at the Hviezdoslavovo square in front of the Slovak National Theatre, from the Train Station, Bus Station or from the Airport. One of our visitors recently wrote that while the trip from the station to the centre cost him € 3.30, the trip back was € 16. Either negotiate the fare with them in advance or ask someone to call you a taxi if you can.
If you are taking a taxi from the train station, airport or bus station, pick one, which is affiliated with a company (it will usually have a sign with the company name on the door, some names are ABC Taxi, BP Taxi, FUN Taxi, Hapl Taxi, Hello Taxi, Lady Taxi, MB Taxi, Merci Taxi, Otto Taxi, Profi Taxi, Super Taxi, Taxi BP Servis, Taxi Caribic, Taxi Bratislava, Taxi Taxi, Trend Taxi, VB Taxi, VIP Taxi, Yellow Taxi). Before taking a hotel taxi make sure it does not charge inflated rates.
All taxis have several rates: a lower rate (about € 0.60-€ 1 per kilometer) when ordered by telephone and a higher rate (€ 0.90-€ 1.50 per kilometer) when hailed in the street or a taxi stand (the ones that are rented by a specific taxi company). Some taxi firms automatically charge the higher rate to pickups at tourist accommodation.
When you enter a taxi, the running meter always shows, which rate you are being charged. It will show two numbers: the total price and rate (1 usually corresponds to a taxi hailed in the street, 2 is ordered by telephone, 3 and higher are usually rates for out-of-town trips). Insist on the meter being used and check that the correct rate is being applied. If taking a taxi in the street try to negotiate the fare in advance.
The total fare is usually composed of a € 1.70-€ 3.20 starting fee (the starting fee may be higher for outlying localities such as Cunovo, Devin, Devinska Nova Ves, Dubravka, Jarovce, Raca, Rusovce, Vajnory, Zahorska Bystrica), waiting fee of € 0.13 to € 0.30 applied while the car is at a standstill and distance fee depending on distance in kilometres multiplied by the rate applied (about € 0.60 to € 1.50 per kilometre).
Some taxi companies have a minimum rate of € 4 per journey. In some busy periods, notably at Christmas and on New Year's Eve, many Bratislava taxi companies apply surcharges to regular prices.
Approximate total prices (depend on whether the taxi was ordered by phone, hailed in the street or picked up at a taxi stand, whether it is signed up with one of the companies or independent):
Airport to City Centre from about € 10 for telephone-ordered local radio taxi, through € 15 discounted flat-rate charged by pre-ordered official Airport Taxi up to multiples of these prices occasionally charged by rogue taxis waiting at the airport.
Within the Centre about € 4 to € 6.50 for telephone-order local radio taxi, up to € 8 for a taxi hailed in the street
Train Station to Centre about € 4.50 for telephone-ordered local radio taxi up to multiples of these prices occasionally charged by taxis waiting at the station
It is customary but not required to leave taxi drivers a small tip - usually by rounding up to the nearest 20 or 50 cents.
Drivers may accept major foreign currencies such as US dollars, but at a significant surcharge. It is usually both cheaper and easier to pay with Euros.
You are always entitled to be issued a receipt - most taxis now have a printer attached to the meter (alternatively, they provide a hand-written and stamped receipt), which must contain: price, where from and where to, licence plate number of car, identification number of driver or company.
Virtually anyone in Bratislava will be happy to call their favourite taxi company for you, when you ask them. Do not hesitate to ask to for a taxi to be called by hotel or restaurant staff anywhere in the city as this will save you hassle and money.
Here are the names and telephone numbers of a few taxi companies we like (with a little bit of luck, when you call the person will speak English):
Fun Taxi 16777 or +421216777 from your mobile
Hello Taxi 16321 or +421216321 from your mobile
Profi Taxi 16222 or +421216222 from your mobile
Trend Taxi 16302 or +421216302 from your mobile
Waiting times for taxis ordered by telephone vary but are generally under 15 minutes in most of the central areas.
Note: Unlike in most cities, a lit Taxi light on the roof of the car does not automatically mean that a taxi passing by in the street is vacant.