Taking a cab in Cairo is always a (mis)adventure. After my first experience with an a**hole cabbie, I've developed a technique for taking cabs based on experience and learning from the experiences of others. There are 3 types of cabs in Cairo: the black and white cabs are the most common. They are usually very old cars, no air condition, and un-metered. Some people prefer the black cabs because you can sometimes haggle for a cheaper price than with the white cabs. The white cabs, which I personally prefer especially when traveling alone, are newer, air conditioned and metered. The least common cabs are the yellow cabs. These cabs are the only cabs that are regulated by dispatchers. I have no sustainable experiences with these kinds of cabs because they are still quite rare. One most request a pick up well in advance to catch these cabs. Here are my basic rules for catching cabs.
- Keep small coins and bills on you. Cab drivers will always claim not to have change
- Always pronounce the name of your destination in Arabic to avoid being taken for a ride
- If you are familiar with your destination and the cost of getting their, do not negotiate the price beforehand
- If you are not familiar with your destination, ask someone else how much it will cost to get there. When a cab driver pulls up, negotiate your price BEFORE getting into the cab.Often, if a driver doesn't agree with your base price or destination, he'll refuse to take you and drive off. Don't worry, another cab will soon pass since there are literally hundreds of black cabs on the road. Generally, cab rides are more expensive for foreigners and most range from 5LE-10LE.
- Most cab doors open on the back passenger side. Women, if it can be avoided, DO NOT sit behind the cab driver or in the front passenger seat
- I prefer to avoid talking to the cab drivers. Often, cab drivers will make sexual comments to foreign women or offer you camels in exchange for your hand in marriage....it's best to simply avoid the small talk
- Ladies, avoid eye contact in the rearview mirror. This will most likely be misconstrued as an invitation
- ALWAYS get out of the cab to pay! Hand the money to the driver from the passenger side door
- Quickly scurry away. Most of the people I know have developed a brisk jog to get away from aggressive cab drivers. There is no guarantee that they will not try to get more money out of you or chase you down so its best to get away as soon as possible
- Keep small bill and coins on you at all times
- -Like the black cab, pronounce the name of your destination in Arabic and see if the driver will agree to take you there.
- Always make sure that the white cab is using his meter. If a white can driver is trying to haggle with you about the price or insisting that his meter is broken, walk away.
- Once you're in the cab, KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE METER. White cabs are sometimes easier to deal with because you can avoid haggling over the price; however, they can also try to rip you off by rigging their meters to move incredibly fast. The meter should go 25 piasters for every 0.2 kilometers. If, for any reason, you are suspicious of the meter, have the driver stop, get out, pay the metered price and just catch another cab
- Avoid small talk and eye contact as well
- ALWAYS get out of the cab to pay! Hand the money to the driver from the passenger side door and quickly get away
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