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December 4th, 2009
For those of you who have had the pleasure of being forced to use those orange airport (SJO only) taxis and thus overpaying for every trip, your time has arrived.
These taxis have had a monopoly at the San Jose airport for many years, and for many years, they have had free reign to overcharge visitors to Costa Rica. I say visitors as most of us who live here know the rates are just over the top and we arrange other transportation. The news today is that they will probably be gone in 90 days.
Over the years, I have given two hints to folks traveling here: First, NEVER use the currency exchange inside the San Jose airport and second, avoid using those orange taxis. The exchange rate offered inside the airport is just ridiculous and you will lose 15% to 20% over exchange rates offered elsewhere.
As for those airport taxis?
Taxis here are required to use the meter, called “la maria” for all fares. Most do, and if they do not, they will if you ask (and point to the meter).
The issue with the airport taxis is that for many years, they did not even have them installed. Now, most do… but they never use them even if you ask! Instead, you must go to the dispatcher’s window at international arrivals and pay the flat rate from the list of locations. Those rates are almost ALWAYS higher than the metered rates… often 2,000 – 4,000 colones more. It is also not uncommon for the driver to add “other charges”.
The regulatory agency here has given the airport taxis ninety days to clear out. Now, they may appeal this, but it appears this is not likely… so that market will now open up and hopefully be more fair to tourists.
As a side note, these taxis were not permitted to provide service to anyone other than at the airport. This meant that those taxis had to hightail it back to the airport for their next fare. There are few of us who have traveled the Pan American highway (the general canas or la pista) running between San Jose and the airport, who have not been passed by theses orange devils… often even forced to dangerously change lanes while an airport taxi flew by 30 – 50 KMH (20 – 40MPH) over the speed limit. I will NOT miss that.Filed under Costa Rica, Costa Rica Tourism, Taxis and Cabs, Travel, Travel to Costa Rica | Comments (16)