Prague taxi services may be getting more expensive in the near future, as the city raises the maximum limits taxi drivers are allowed to charge.
But for some, taxi prices in Prague are already too high.
A 20-minute ride that should have cost a Prague tourist around 400 crowns on July 10 ended up being significantly more expensive when the final tally for the ride last week ran north of 7,500.
For Prague officials, the amount of overcharging set a new record.
“As an example of record overcharging, I can mention an event from Wednesday when we received a complaint from a foreign tourist who paid 7,523 crowns for a ride from the airport to Pankrác,” Vít Hofman, spokesman for Prague City Hall, told local media.
As far as we can confirm, this breaks the previous reported record for overcharging from a Prague taxi driver, which was 6,000 crowns for a 14-kilometer ride in 2017. Also in 2017, a Prague taxi driver reportedly held a woman hostage in order to secure a 2,000 crown payment for a 2-kilometer ride.
For local taxi unions, however, this latest incident was not proof of overcharging.
“I do not know what the car was, whether it was a hotel taxi, a luxury Rolls-Royce or a Maybach, which also runs in Prague, so I can’t even comment on it,” Karolína Venclová, a spokesperson for taxi union Asociace koncesionářů v taxislužbě, told local reporters from Pravo.
“This is an absolute war waged by [Prague’s] City Council with traditional taxi drivers, and it seems to be extraordinary.”
Last year, the city of Prague carried out a total of 844 taxi inspections, and found instances of overcharging in 30 of them. The average amount of overcharging in those 30 cases was 398 crowns.
While 30 instances of overcharging out 844 official inspections doesn’t seem like a large ratio (3.6%), many a Prague tourist can attest to taxi overcharging being a systematic issue in the Czech capital.
The city of Prague issued a total of 39 fines last year to local taxi drivers in relation to overcharging for rides. The average fine was for 62,000 crowns, with the total amount of fines levied reaching nearly 2.5 million crowns.
Taxi drivers are required to issue a special taximeter receipt which includes distances travelled and official rates charged in the case of any disagreement. But even without the receipt, officials are able to track the route travelled and assess a maximum fee using an app all registered Prague taxis are required to have installed.