As a rule of thumb the Madrid taxi service works perfectly fine. Taxis are available everywhere, and they drive you wherever you want. Drivers are in general nice and reliable and the vehicles are in good shape.
However, you may encounter some drivers that could try to take advantage of you, either because you don’t know Madrid or because you don’t speak Spanish. It could even be both. Unfortunately it’s a big cities’ problem and Madrid is no exception.
Here is some practical advice to avoid bad surprises. As you would do at home, use your common sense, keep reading the following pieces of advice and relax.
How to avoid being scammed by the Madrid taxi service?
Again, most taxi drivers in Madrid are honest and nice professionals.
These are recommendations that you should have in mind. They are applicable at all times, no matter your origin and destination.
But apply these suggestions only as a precaution. Please, don’t be paranoid!
- Take note of the license plate number or cab number.
- Have a quick look at the official fares. There should be also displayed on a sticker located on the rear seat windows.
- Make sure the meter is on. On one occasion the driver forgot about it and wanted to charge me a fortune because of his mistake. Warn him and avoid an argument later on.
- Whenever you can, show the driver the route you want to take. It’s easy especially if you have a smartphone with you. If you don’t have data or roaming, load the map before your trip and save it as a PDF file. Alternatively, print the map.
- Once your trip is over, ask your drive for the exact change. Some tend to “forget” the change and pretend to be absent-minded about it. If you have to insist, do so but don’t leave the taxi without your change.
- Ask your driver for an official receipt, regardless of the payment method you used. Your receipt may be your only proof that you were in a specific driver’s cab. Remember to check your receipt against your monthly statement if you paid your fare by credit card.
- If you happen to travel to Madrid during the summer, note that it is the driver’s obligation to turn on the air conditioner if you, as a customer, ask for it. Some drivers may tell you that the air conditioner is broken so as to save gas. In this case, you are entitled to fill a complaint.
- Book your Madrid taxi through a professional service or an app.
Taking a Madrid taxi service to/from the airport
Pay especial attention on the trips to and from the airport. Unfortunately, Madrid taxi drivers operating these routes have a very bad reputation. The risk of being scammed is very high so please make sure you read attentively.
No taxi driver is allowed to charge you for your luggage, as long as it fits in the boot or on the roof rack.
You can’t be charged with other supplements (day/night, old airport supplement not valid anymore) whenever you catch a taxi inside the M-30 perimeter or when you destination is also inside this same area.
Madrid taxi fares FROM the airport
- Trips from the airport to any destination located inside Calle 30 (also known as M-30, Madrid’s inner ring road) have a flat fare of 30€. No extra charge can be added to this fare, even if you have booked a taxi on the phone or through an app.
- If the flat fare does not apply, you will be charged a 5.50€ airport departure fee, and €20 for the first 10 km. After that the meter will keep on going until you reach your destination. In addition to this, you could be changed extra night or bank holiday fees.
Madrid taxi fares TO the airport
- Trips from any origin located inside Calle 30 (also known as M-30, Madrid’s inner ring road) to the airport have a flat fare of 30€. No extra charge can be added to this fare, even if you have booked a taxi on the phone or through an app.
- If the flat fare does not apply, you will be charged a 5.50€ airport arrival fee, and €20 for the first 10 km. After that the meter will keep on going until you reach the airport from your destination. In addition to this, you could be changed extra night or bank holiday fees.
There are other alternatives to reach and exit Madrid’s airport:
Catching a Madrid taxi service to/from a train station to/from the Airport
If you are on transit
You cannot be charged with any additional supplement. That’s what the flat fare is for. Don’t accept being charged for anything else.
Should you use Uber or Cabify instead?
Uber and Cabify are ridesharing companies that offer a service similar to that of a regular cab. Initially, they started as a peer-to-peer service, but private companies are accumulating licenses.
What advantages do Uber or Cabify offer?
- Once you book a car, you have a fair idea of how much it’s going to cost you.
- You can monitor though the app who your driver is, so that’s an added layer of security for both parties.
- You can also know where the driver is once he or she accepts the ride, so you the pick-up time.
- There’s just one app and it works the same in every country where Uber or Cabify operates.
- No money changes hands so you don’t need to faff around with foreign currency.
However, Uber and Cabify apply their own private fares, which that may cost you less than a metered taxi. Or not…
It will depend on the demand/supply ratio at the time of your booking.
In addition to this, there is a lot of controversy going on with these companies and taxi drivers are against this kind of competition. So be careful because in Spain the regulations change from one city to another. You may use Uber in one city and not find it available in another one.