Sunday, 03 April 2016 11:04

That feeling of being taken for a ride

We all take a taxi every now and then. I used to consider a taxi ride something of a treat – especially when it replaces a bike ride in the pouring rain. The problem is that lately all of my taxi rides have quite literally turned into a story.

I can accept that Limassol does not have as many sleek, service-oriented, professional taxi drivers as some other European cities. After all, Cyprus is Mediterranean, things are more laid-back and all that… Also, some friendly banter about your country of origin will give you a bit of a holiday feel, even if you’re going to work. This all stops being amusing when you end up being taken on that proverbial ride.

I will happily admit that, yes, there are friendly, honest, spiffy-looking taxi drivers out there; in fact, I have a whole fleet of taxis near my house. I jokingly call the drivers ‘mafia bosses’ because most of them look, drive, talk and chain-smoke like someone out of a ’60s crime movie. But they are ‘good guys’.

They would never ever cheat me, they take me to the airport at a super low rate if they are going anyway and will wait for me and my cat outside the vet’s without charging me or even complaining one bit.

But then there are the ‘bad guys’ who will not turn on that mandatory meter and then find some ridiculous reason as to why they want to charge an outrageous amount. Recent laughable examples included ‘it’s a flat rate’ or ‘leaving from here is different’.

True, one should make sure that the meter is on, but as I’m so used to riding my bike, being stuck in a slow-moving car sometimes makes me so stressed, I forget. I seem to have had the bad fortune of coming across ‘bad guys’ quite a bit lately – or rather they have had the bad fortune, as I intend to have it out with them.

Since I am more ‘local’ than they obviously suspect and know the approximate taxi rates around town, I can generally stand up to them. Depending on how angry they have made me, I have been known to just pay them whatever change I have as they are unable to prove the ‘real’ amount owed.

One single ride like this can easily spoil a tourist’s impressions of the island. The hotel staff, the restaurant staff, and everyone around have succeeded in providing a positive holiday experience to a Cyprus visitor, which is then ruined by a cheater who thinks he can ignore rules that are stuck onto every taxi’s window.

After my last incident, I immediately called the relevant authority to find out what is to be done. I was told, that yes, deceitful taxi drivers do pose a problem and anyone encountering one is encouraged to email the Ministry of Transport at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the car’s registration number.

Most locals do know how to fend for themselves, but it will be even better to know that no one will have to, and that locals and tourists alike can peacefully indulge in that occasional taxi ride.

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of March 25, 2016 


Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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