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Tallinn Taxi Price Gouging

We walked off a cruise ship and to the taxi line. The driver took one look at me walking with crutches and told my husband 20 Euro to the "Top of the Town." Disgusted, we walked back farther where we were told we had to take the first taxi in the line. No Way! We could see it from the port.
So, the walk to the top of the city was grueling for me but I made it. The stairs were killer. The attitude of the driver will forever leave a bad impression of Tallinn with us.

Posted by
8293 posts

Sorry you wore yourself out with that walk but frankly, I think 20 euro was quite a reasonable fare. The excursions offered by the cruise ship, if there were any, were likely many times the 20 euro fare.

Posted by
20624 posts

If you didn't like the driver, sit down and let someone else take that taxi, then you can speak with the next driver to see if is fare is any different. On the other hand taxi fares from the cruise ports do tend to be a little inflated -- Uber calls in surge pricing - supply and demand. I doubt if your crutches made any difference. What do you think you should have been charged? 15 Euro ????

Posted by
58 posts

Back in the ship that night we spoke to people who paid 5 Euro for the same ride from the same taxi line.

Posted by
2091 posts

I was in Tallinn a few years ago, arrived by plane & the taxi to my hotel in Old Town was cheap. Taxi out to Rocca al Mare outdoor history museum was cheap. When I took a 6 am taxi to the port for the ferry to Helsinki I felt the cost was inflated based on distance—plus my hotel had called for me. The drivers I encountered were all Russian and generally they were not particularly pleasant, but I loved Tallinn so in the big picture they were just a small annoyance.

Posted by
8293 posts

Well, 20 euro is approx. US$25. If I were on crutches and wanted to go to the “Top of the Town” in Tallin, a gruelling walk, I think a $25 cab ride would be my choice. I am a bit of a wimp, I guess.

Posted by
1949 posts

Funny... it was the cruise ship crowd invading the city during the day that forever left a bad impression of Tallinn on me.

Posted by
1949 posts

Just kidding. Couldn't not swing at that soft ball.

Posted by
1949 posts

I'm sorry you had the experience you did and, having climbed to Toompea (the "Top of the Town"), can only imagine the misery of doing it on crutches. But... don't let one lousy taxi driver "forever leave a bad impression of Tallin with [you]."

I loved Tallinn. Awesome place. Crowded during the day when the cruise ship masses were around, but really nice in the evenings once they were gone. Walking Toompea was absolutely lovely at about 6:30 in the evening when hardly anyone was around. Plus there are some great parks to pop into... like Hirvepark (Deer Park), where reformers first tested glasnost in the late 1980's.

Hope the rest of your trip went well, and I hope you share all those other great stories with your friends... and maybe leave out the part about the taxi driver in Tallinn... until you can talk about him as a laughable travel misadventure instead of as the guy who single-handedly forever left a bad impression of Tallinn with you.

Happy travels!

Posted by
20624 posts

Five euro sounds too cheaper. I think someone was not being truthful or didn't go to the same place.

Posted by
5019 posts

I agree that 5 Euros sounds too low to me - especially during cruise ship "surge pricing". I suspect someone's memory of what they actually paid may have been misunderestimated. In any case, cab drivers in that part of the world are notorious for trying to inflate prices for tourists. The key is to know they do that, be armed with the knowledge of roughly what the fare should be, and not let them get away with it. In Warsaw this summer, one cabbie tried to charge us 150 Euros for a ride to the airport (which we laughed at). The next cabbie estimated it would be 30-35 but went by the meter (it came in at 28). In Tallinn, the cab drivers we took were honest and did not gouge us. We also loved Tallinn, and would not let one bad cabbie ruin the place. Estonia is lovely.

Posted by
2953 posts

This post is very sad. I hate to think that you value yourself and your comfort so cheaply.

Posted by
6791 posts

You could have grabbed another couple in line to share the cab. And yes, you do need to take the first in line. Hailing a cab on a city street is different from a cab line. At least you got some good exercise.

Posted by
3947 posts

This post is very sad. I hate to think that you value yourself and your comfort so cheaply.

I think it's more about refusing to allow yourself to be ripped off and therefore facilitating the repeated extortion of tourists. If those taxi drivers keep getting away with it because some tourists don't challenge it where is the incentive for them to stop? Equally, if the more honest drivers see their colleagues repeatedly getting away with charging extortionate fares how long before they're tempted.

I'm pretty sure if you were to take a taxi in your home town and were charged 4x the going rate you wouldn't be so laissez fair about it.

Posted by
16824 posts

I agree with JC. I really do not like letting taxi drivers, or others, get away with substantial inflation of fares, etc. I solve the taxi problem by virtually never taking a taxi, but that has its own negative ramifications, because I have to value a hotel's proximity to the train or bus station unusually highly. I'm confident I give up more in hotel rates than I save in taxi fares, but I'm not encouraging dishonest cabbies.

It's not just tourists who get ripped off. Until rather recently the taxis in my hometown were not metered; there was an annoying zone system. If you took a DC taxi from the airport (which is outside the city's boundaries) you were supposed to be charged a mileage-based rate, but I couldn't see the odometer from the back seat of a taxi and wouldn't have remembered to look at it, anyway. Even though I was going to a residential address and was thus very likely to be a local, I was nearly always charged several dollars more than the going rate (which was probably around $9). I stopped tipping in those situations.

We have meters now, so I've had no issues recently. I think there are still occasional grotesque situations out at Dulles Airport, with foreigners being taken for a ride (both literally and figuratively, I imagine), and we are not talking about just a few dollars. Picking on relatively defenseless visitors infuriates me.