For anyone without the guidebook, this is Rick's specific advice re: Budapest taxis. Among various transport options, we are not recommending an unlicensed Uber.
Budapest’s public transportation is good enough that you probably won’t need to take many taxis. But if you do, you may run into a dishonest driver. Arm yourself with knowledge: Budapest has recently introduced stringent new regulations. Official taxis must be painted yellow and black, and must charge identical rates, regardless of company: a drop rate of 450 Ft, and then 280 Ft/kilometer, plus 70 Ft/minute for wait time. (The prices go up at night, between 22:00 and 6:00 in the morning.) Prices are per ride, not per passenger. A 10 percent tip is expected. A typical ride within central Budapest shouldn’t run more than 2,000 Ft. Despite what some slimy cabbies may tell you, there’s no legitimate extra charge for crossing the river.
Instead of hailing a taxi on the street, do as the locals do and call a cab from a reputable company--it’s cheaper and you’re more likely to get an honest driver. Try City Taxi (tel. 1/211-1111), Taxi 6x6 (tel. 1/266-6666), or Főtaxi (tel. 1/222-2222). Most dispatchers speak English, but if you’re uncomfortable calling, you can ask your hotel or restaurant to call for you.
Many "cabs" you’d hail on the streets are there only to prey on rich, green tourists. Avoid unmarked taxis (nicknamed "hyenas" by locals), as well as any cabs that wait at tourist spots and train stations. If you do wave down a cab on the street, choose one that’s yellow and black, and marked with an official company logo and telephone number (otherwise, it’s not official). Ask for a rough estimate before you get in--if it doesn’t sound reasonable, walk away. If you wind up being dramatically overcharged for a ride, simply pay what you think is fair and go inside. If the driver follows you (unlikely), your hotel receptionist will defend you.