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.
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!