Taking taxis in Warsaw, Poland

One of the languages on my hitlist is Polish. This should be a relatively easy language for me, since I already speak basically all of the neighboring Slavic languages. The problem will be to actually speak Polish and not a weird version of Slovak. That tends to happen when you are learning similar languages. For example when speaking Spanish, I sometimes throw in French words pronounced in a Spanish way. People then look at me weird, while I continue on happily talking, oblivious to the fact that I am not even using the right words. 🙂

I was going to take a Polish course this year (I already took a short intensive course last year). However due to an upcoming surgery had to cancel it. I was thinking about it and remembered an interesting experience from my last trip to Warsaw. It concerns taxis.

Many times and in most countries, many of the taxi drivers are scammers. So watch out. When we arrived at the Warsaw airport, we got in the cab and it took us to our hotel. So far so good. The next day we went for a walk in the center and the people that I was with decided that they were tired and lazy and wanted to take the cab back to the hotel. Against my better judgment, they took a cab that was standing outside the old part of town (well old looking part of town, since the historic center was completely destroyed during WW2 and rebuilt after the war). We took a short trip to the hotel and when we arrived there, the price was double the price of the ride from the airport! My travelling companions had no money with them, so I had to foot the bill myself.

Not sure if it was a scam or not. I know that in Bratislava, it is actually cheaper to call a taxi and wait for it to come, rather than taking the one that is standing right in front of you (this is the opposite of for example what happens in Brussels). They call it a “loyalty” discount. So before heading to a city and taking a taxi, it is always best to find out how the taxi system works in that particular city. Otherwise you might end up getting overcharged.


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