This is what you should pay attention to when riding a cab in Budapest as a tourist
24.hu reports that BKK found two third of taxi drivers violated the rights of their customers or the rules. The following is a summary of how much these drivers are fined, do the regular examinations make a change, along with what are the most common violations.
24.hu inquired at BKK regarding the fines, the effectivity of the examinations and the nature of the violations. The company’s answer reveals that they notify different institutions in each case, depending on the irregularity at hand: if the driver does not have a taxi driving license, than the traffic department is notified, if they charge you too much, then BKK notifies the police and the consumer protection, and if the driver does not give you a receipt, then the National Tax and Customs Administration (NTCA) takes over. If the driver violates the taxi ordinance, then BKK proposes to Budapest Körút Zrt the annulment of the cab companies rights to the usage of taxi stations.
However, BKK can only check the drivers, they cannot fine them or take measures. The traffic authorities can proceed, following the case report, and can fine a driver up to 1,950 euros and can even take the vehicle out of circulation, if the driver does not have a taxi driving license. BKK is working together with the NTCA, the police department of Budapest along with the law enforcement directorate of Budapest, which is important since these organisations can take measures already on the scene.
As the more tourists are arriving to the capital, it is more frequent that drivers deceive customers usually by charging them by the night rate or not allowing them to pay with credit card. For example, on May 5th a driver charged a customer 33 euros for a route of 3 kilometres, which should have cost 5 euros. Two weeks after this incident, the same driver charged the customers 19 and 22 euros for a route costing 6 euros.
24.hu reports of a story of a woman found on Tumblr: she took a cab on Deák Square going to Örs Vezér Tere, a route that cost her 12 euros. She was suspicious of the high price but did not want to quarrel with the driver, though she did not like it when the driver didn’t allow her to pay with credit card (even though there was a card reading device in the vehicle). She said that the driver even asked her whether he can put a much bigger sum on the receipt. The woman called the company that the cab was supposed to belong to, but they said that the car isn’t theirs in reality.
Zoltán Metál, the president of the Hungarian Taxi Drivers’ Association, said that the only way to avoid riding in an unlicensed or unauthorised cab is to order a car by making a phone call or via a mobile app. In the case that you were already wronged by a driver, you should alert BKK and make sure to put down the license plate, as it is needed during the investigation.
It is good news, although, that the companies are regularly checking on their subcontractors, but it is mostly the drivers themselves who spot the ‘fake employees’. In such cases, the companies are making a report to the authorities.