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Friday, December 09, 2005

Always Take Radio Taxis In Buenos Aires

There was some discussion recently about using Radio Taxis here in Buenos Aires and I wanted to set the record straight on this issue.

Readers' Comments

Where / how do we find radio taxis when we are in BA.

Truth be told, while Radio Taxis are everywhere, all taxis are safe. I have taken about 400 rides in the last few years and have not had one problem.

Why You Must Take Radio Taxies

Ever since I got here, my Argentine friends and coworkers always told me that I should take a Radio Taxi every time I need to go somewhere. A month ago an Argentine friend of mine, one who always told me about the need for Radio Taxies, was in a hurry to get somewhere. She called a Radio Taxi to pick her up, but was told the wait would be 15 minutes. Since she was in a hurry however, she decided to go and catch a taxi on the street.

A few minutes after stepping into the taxi, she noticed the taxi was going in the wrong direction. When she pointed it out to the driver, he stopped. Two men, who were following in the car behind the taxi, got in next to her and put a gun against her side. They ordered her to hand over her wallet.

The taxi then drove on, heading outside of Buenos Aires. While she was held hostage in the taxi, one of the men took her wallet and went to an ATM machine. He used a walkie-talkie to communicate with the other thief in the taxi. He requested her pin number to make a withdrawl. Each time the ATM asked a security question, such as to provide a DNI or CUIL number, the man called back on the walkie-talkie and she was forced to provide all the information.

After driving her out of the city for 30 minutes, they dropped her in the middle of a shantytown outside of the city without her wallet, cell phone, or even her calendar/agenda. Fortunately for her, she had a few coins in her pocket and was able to find a phone to call a friend -- who then called a Radio Taxi to pick her up and bring her back to Buenos Aires.

Like many other people, I've taken taxis on the street and I've never had a problem. However, the chance is always there that you will have a problem. After seeing this happen to a friend of mine, I always make an effort now to call a Radio Taxi. I have a few of the companies programmed into my mobile and I call them and have them come right to the corner that I'm on. Maybe I have to wait five minutes longer, but I think avoiding an experience like this is worth the wait.

The way I see it, taking a taxi on the street is similar to walking around a bad section of town at night. The vast majority of the time there won't be a problem, but you never know when it'll be your turn to get robbed. Stay safe!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

A similar thing happened to my parents while they were in BA. They had lived in Argentina for many years, were fluent in Spanish (accent and everything), etc. However, they weren't too familiar with BA and took the wrong taxi. The taxi driver stopped on the way to pick up on of his friends, and my parents were forced to hand over all their money (thankfully they weren't carrying all the money they had with them).

For this reason, we always take Radio Taxis now.

10/26/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BEWARE OF FAKE MONEY, ONLY GIVE EXACT CHANGE: One of the Radio Taxi drivers gave me fake pesos money back. He is discribed as an older man in his ´60´s with gray hair and a bit overweight who smokes. I know this might sound like quite a few of the taxi drivers. He picked us up in the Microcentro district next to the plaza de mayo and brought us to the recoleta district in front of Lola´s Restaraunt on Roberto M. Ortiz. The charge was $19.58 pesos and I gave him a $50.00 and got $30.00 fake pesos in return. I had know idea that they were fake until I tried using the $30.00 fake pesos at the store. So remember to look at the change anywhere you go in Argentina. How you can tell if it´s fake is that it has a smooth surface and it doesn´t have the strip going down the width of it like american money.

8/25/2008 06:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The same thing happened to me. I got a huge amount of fake pesos from a taxi driver. I caught on immediately after leaving the taxi so I jotted down the license plate number. What should I do? Does the police even care about these cases? Is there a fake money unit or something like that?

12/12/2008 12:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We came back from BA last week. we called a radio taxi from the street and went to La Boca the driver was very nice showing us the monuments on the way and when we reached there he opened the door for me while my husband was taking the money from the purse. my husband gave him 100 pesos (he only had 100 peso notes with him just chamged from a bank) driver quickly showed a 2 peso and said you gave me a 2 my husband completely trusted him and gave him another 100 peso he gave back saying it is damaged we were little taken back as we got the money from bank so the driver took the third 100 peso gave us back change. we went to the bank to return the damaged note and at that point they showed us the danger note saying the drivers exchange money (fake money) quickly. we came back to the hotel and explained this and there were 2 other peple cheated the same way. we were in Recoleta.

8/19/2009 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think it is safe to take a Radio Taxi off the street? I'm new to BA, and I've always had problems calling the Radio Taxi companies...They don't understand me, don't understand my name (Haley), never show up, etc. Many times I end up having to take a Radio Taxi off the street.

3/23/2010 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

I had two slightly bad experiences with taxi drivers during a three week stay in Buenos Aires.

Because I was trying to limit the number of times I would use an ATM in a week I took out the maximum of $1000 pesos each time i used one. The problem is it gives you ten $100 pesos. Most places I went to asked me immediately if I had something smaller whenever I tried to pay for something.

I got in a cab having only $100 peso bills on me and took a $43 peso ride. When I gave the driver the $100 peso bill he said he didn't have any change. I knew immediately it was a scam, but at four am what options do you have to break it? And you can get away with not paying. I took what amounted to be a $10 hit (excluding fare and what I had planned to tip) and called it a lesson learned.

On my ride to the airport the driver stopped for gas and left the meter running. He thought he was being clever. Once I told him to turn it off he said not to worry. Well, I'm not paying for him to fuel up, so once I got out of the car handed him the fare and told him I was getting another cab he turned it off immediately. I doubt these are all of the scam that taxi drivers have come up with, so watch yourself carefully when using them.

1/16/2011 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive been living in BA for 4 years and havent had any dangerous experiences with taxis. Once in a while someone might try to give you fake advice is dont ever give a big bill to someone asking if you want one wants to give change. Dont fall for the switching move. Taking a taxi from the airport thats not official used to be more its not as bad as they have cameras everywhere. I dont think twice about taking one from the streets. You should always be careful not to get hustled though...this is a city of hustlers. Ive got to say the story above about getting hustled twice from the same taxi driver is kinda funny. :)

1/17/2011 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i posted about not getting robbed for 4 years. A taxi driver told me today that people should always know abuot how much the taxis cost from the airport. the ones outside have known to tell people very high prices and do bill switching. today the price is about 130 to 150 pesos to come from the airport eze from someone at the airport...that goes up with inflation. if you call a radio taxi it will be a little cheaper.

1/17/2011 12:39:00 PM  

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