In this guide, I will address a topic that is not unfamiliar to many foreigners. When arriving at an airport in a foreign country, you often face transportation problems. In every country, even within Europe, there are slightly different rules and customs regarding taxis.
Throughout the world, you may encounter dishonest practices employed by taxi drivers, and our lack of understanding of the rules may result in additional costs unnecessarily.
This time, I will try to explain the rules governing Polish taxis, how to pay less, why it is not worth ordering Uber/Bolt rides, and what to do to avoid being late for your flight.
What are the types of taxi companies in Poland?
Private taxis are usually operated by one or several private drivers who provide transportation services on their own or as part of a small company. In the case of private taxis, contact with the driver usually occurs directly, rather than through a dispatch center. In Poland, such businesses are often run by elderly people or individuals who consider taxi work as a supplementary source of income. Unfortunately, due to the lack of control over such entrepreneurs, dishonest individuals may be present among them.
Corporate taxis, on the other hand, operate as part of a larger taxi company, usually in the form of a joint-stock or limited liability company. These companies usually have elaborate management systems, including dispatch centers that coordinate drivers' work and make it easier for customers to order taxis. The municipal authorities have control over such companies, as in the case of private taxis, but corporate taxis have their own employees responsible for maintaining order, usually in the form of a disciplinary committee. As a result, clients of a good corporate taxi company can feel much safer.
Transfer Taxis / Hotel Taxis are special transportation services used to transport passengers from the airport, train station, or bus station to the passenger's chosen destination, usually a hotel or other place of stay. Transfer taxis are usually ordered by customers in advance before arriving at their destination and are usually more expensive than traditional taxis. These services are provided by special taxi companies or travel agencies specializing in organizing taxi transfers from airports and other transfer points.
Hotel taxis, on the other hand, are transportation services offered by hotels to their guests. They are usually available on-site, in the hotel lobby, and are used to transport guests to various locations in the area, such as tourist attractions, shopping centers, restaurants, as well as airports, train stations, and bus stations. Hotel taxis are usually more luxurious than traditional taxis but are also more expensive. These services are provided by taxi drivers or taxi companies that have contracts with hotels and offer their services to hotel guests. Although specialized transfer taxi companies offer more expensive services than traditional taxis, they are of the highest quality and are simultaneously the safest and most comfortable of all types of taxis.
Taxi services through mobile applications such as Uber, Bolt (formerly Taxify), and Lyft allow customers to order a taxi through a mobile application on their smartphone. This service allows customers to easily order a taxi from any place and time without the need to search for an available taxi on the street or call a dispatch center. In Poland, this is usually the cheapest way to order a taxi. Unfortunately, in recent years, this form of ordering has become one of the most dangerous. We do not recommend using this type of transportation for young people and single women.
How is the standard taxi fare constructed, what are the tariffs and when are they applied?
In Poland, the components of the taxi fare are determined by relevant legal regulations and depend on the city where the taxi company operates. Here are the most common components of the fare:
Initial fee (also called "starting fee") - a fixed fee that a passenger pays for getting into a taxi, turning on the taximeter and starting the ride. This fee includes the cost of the first kilometer.
Day and night tariffs - depending on the city, day and night tariffs may differ. The daytime tariff "1" usually applies between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm, and the nighttime tariff "2" between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am. The nighttime tariff is usually higher than the daytime tariff.
Fee for leaving the city limits - this is the "3 or 4" tariff, similar to the first two tariffs, but it is used when the driver leaves the area where they have a license. The driver is allowed to use this tariff only when the ride ends in an area where they do not have a license, usually in another city.
Price per kilometer or time - a fee for the distance traveled or time of the ride, depending on which is greater. In cities, the price per kilometer is usually fixed, while the time of the ride can be calculated based on traffic conditions (e.g. traffic jams).
Fee for luggage transport - an additional fee for transporting larger items or luggage. The price may vary depending on the weight or size of the luggage.
Fee for animal transport - an additional fee for transporting animals. It may vary depending on the size and type of animal.
Tariffs that apply in a given city are determined by the city authorities and published in relevant legal regulations. Taxi drivers are required to apply the tariffs in force at the time and place.
Whenever you have doubts about the correctness of the fare, ask the driver to issue a receipt. Every taximeter in a Polish taxi is integrated with a fiscal cash register. It is an inseparable pair of devices. In addition, the taximeter has a protection system, and it cannot be started without a functioning receipt printer.
If the driver says that they cannot print a receipt, but they can write it down for you, it means that they want to cheat you or are afraid of the record on the receipt.
Is taking a taxi from a taxi stand safe, and how to order a good taxi?
Yes, taxis from taxi stands in Poland are generally safe because the drivers hold required licenses and have undergone appropriate training to provide transportation services.
Taxis in Poland must meet a number of requirements that ensure the safety of customers, such as equipped with seat belts and regular technical inspections of vehicles.
Taxi drivers must also undergo medical and psychological examinations and have a valid certificate of no criminal record.
However, it is important to remember that as with any form of transportation, there is always some risk. Therefore, it is important to choose reputable taxi companies, preferably using services from official "company" taxi stands or ordering a taxi through mobile applications that allow tracking of the route and sharing the cost of the ride.
If in doubt, one can also use the services of traditional companies with a good reputation and many years of experience in the taxi company.
So how do you choose the best one?
Choosing the best taxi company in Poland depends on several factors. Here are a few tips that can help you make a decision:
Check customer reviews - Before choosing a taxi company, it's worth checking customer reviews regarding the quality of service and customer support. This can be done on various websites or on taxi company pages.
Check prices - It's worth comparing prices for services offered by different taxi companies. The one with the lowest price is not always the best choice, but it's worth paying attention to what services are included in the price and whether there are any hidden costs.
Pay attention to the fleet - It's worth paying attention to the technical condition and age of the vehicles used by the taxi company. Modern and well-maintained cars increase travel comfort and safety.
Check availability and response time - Before choosing a taxi company, it's worth checking whether they offer services in the place and time when we need them. It's also worth paying attention to the company's response time to the request and how long it takes for the taxi to arrive.
Choose a company with good customer service - It's worth choosing a taxi company that offers good customer contact, such as online booking or through an app, as well as help in case of any problems or complaints.
In summary, choosing the best taxi company in Poland depends on several factors, such as customer reviews, prices, the technical condition of vehicles, availability, safety, and customer service.
It's worth taking some time to carefully research different offers and choose the one that best meets our expectations.