After dozens and dozens of trips from the airport to the city I thought that I had come across all of the possible airport taxi scams that could be thought up. This one took me by surprise! Was well times too with my recent post commending most drivers as being good honest people, with just a few bad eggs giving them all a bad name. Well I hit one of the bad eggs.
I have tried the regular taxis, the coupon taxis and the yellow airport metered taxis. I always found that the yellow cabs were the best combination of cost, convenience and aggravation. Assuming there was not a two hour wait to get one – in which case walking across the road and getting an Uber is an easy enough option.
The meter runs faster than a regular public taxi and you could expect to pay double the rate here. In most cases you will get a ride much faster than the regular taxis though. Being the cheapest option they also have the most people scrambling to get one.
My regular trip in the yellow metered taxi would usually be somewhere between p280 and p350 depending on traffic. Given that I have never had a problem with these taxis I just wasn’t paying attention to the meter. By the time we got off the skyway on the Makati exit I was surprised to see the meter at p380!
I was surprised, but thought maybe they had just put the rates up. We hit some traffic and without moving more than 50 metres the price had climbed to p400. At this rate I was looking at a p1,000+ fare! So I had to say something.
The driver did not argue at all when I asked if his meter was broken. He just asked what I normally pay, we agreed on that, and the meter was turned off. After sitting in Makati Av traffic for 15 minutes he then asked for more. I did not engage in that conversation. I just looked at him in the rear vision mirror, shook my head and said I should be reporting him.
The scam was not very sophisticated, just a bit of meter tampering. To anyone who had not taken this trip before though they would be in a losing position on this one. The receipt you get at the taxi stand does set out the rates. If you didn’t think anything was up then you may never look.
Scamming new arrivals is the worst first impression a country can make. I have commented previously on the vultures circling the arrivals hall that should all be thrown in jail. These are the things that leave a bad taste in people’s mouths and would be recounted to all their friends when they go back home. It would be very easy to clean this up and the potential benefits massive!
Tourism is one of the biggest opportunities the Philippines has to build a prosperous country that could drag hundreds of thousands out of poverty. Little things like this will forever limit people’s willingness to come here, and further a reputation that is already questionable to any mainstream tourist market.