Rome vows to crack down on ‘rip-off’ airport taxis targeting tourists

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
Rome vows to crack down on ‘rip-off’ airport taxis targeting tourists

Local authorities in Rome said they were working to address the city’s “shameful” problem with unscrupulous taxi drivers after foreign journalists’ stories of being overcharged were widely shared online.


Reports of taxi drivers ripping off unsuspecting tourists in Rome and other major Italian cities are nothing new. 

But this week, Rome’s local authority has pledged to take action - at least against unscrupulous drivers operating out of the city’s airports - after two foreign correspondents based in the city sharing their accounts of being overcharged.

READ ALSO: Rome taxi drivers clash with police during Uber expansion protest

The BBC's correspondent in Italy, Mark Lowen, took to Twitter on Tuesday to share the story of how a friend was charged €70 for a journey from Fiumicino airport to the city centre - a trip that has a fixed cost of €50.


The driver also claimed his credit card machine was not working and so he could only take payment in cash, Lowen said.

His story struck a chord with many of Rome's residents and visitors, with the tweet shared hundreds of times and the city's mayor repeatedly tagged by social media users.

Another of Rome's foreign correspondents, Gavin Jones at Reuters, described his own bad experiences with Rome airport taxis in a Twitter thread last month, noting that “there’s nowhere obvious to queue for a taxi at Ciampino” and that a driver quoted 40 euros for a ride that "should cost 20 at most".

The city now plans to launch a new service for arrivals at both Ciampino and Fiumicino airports aimed at preventing rip-offs and reporting rogue drivers, according to the city's tourism councillor, Alessandro Onorato.

“The illegalities that we have found in the airport areas are truly shameful,” Onarato told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Why can’t I get an Uber in Italy?

Commenting on Lowen's tweet, he said the incident was "unacceptable".

"Unfortunately it wasn't possible to make a note of the licence number, plate or operator name. In that case we would have report these serious irregularities to the police."

Onorato said city police and airport authorities were already collaborating to increase the number of checks carried out on the taxi sector, "leading to an increase in regular journeys in the first half of this year by 58 percent compared to the previous year”.

Starting on Tuesday, they also plan to “set up a steward service to welcome passengers at international arrivals, providing timely information to tourists and collaborating with the police to report irregularities,” he said.

Rome's Fiumicino previously launched a similar initiative in 2020, providing special paths to guide tourists towards licenced taxis and employing security guards to "protect" them from being approached by unauthorised drivers.

But Rome residents and visitors also regularly accuse licenced taxi drivers of unscrupulous behaviour, with many suggesting that the best option is to avoid taxis altogether when travelling to or from the airports.


While Uber isn't necessarily a cheaper option and isn't widely used, it does exist in Rome (and Milan). Other frequently recommended options for hailing a reliable cab service include the FreeNow app (in most cities or major towns in Italy) and the Samarcanda taxi company (in Rome).

Public transport options from Fiumicino include the Leonardo Express, a direct train into the city which costs €14 and takes half an hour, or a shuttle bus to Termini train station, with several different services available and tickets costing around six euros.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

Anonymous 2022/07/29 10:12
Hello, Taxis in front of the Vatican Museum: - We had a taxi driver tell us, before we even got in the taxi, that it would cost us 30 euros for him to take us to Testaccio (Via Marmorata near Via Galvani). It was mid-afternoon, maybe a 10 - 15 euro trip. - A few weeks later we had friends visiting and they were also told (before they even got in the taxi) it would cost them 30 euros to be taken from the Vatican Museum to the same intersection in Testaccio. Also, mid-afternoon.
Anonymous 2022/07/29 10:09
So simple: 1. You have to queue in the official taxi lane. If any tries to filter you in the terminal or before you get to the queue, they are trying to diddle you. 2. If you are going 'Intra Mure' from FCO or CIA, the rates are marked on the cab door and are fixed, flat rates. 3. NEVER EVER get into a cab which does not have the official licence and the vehicle number marked on the outside. Best take a picture of the licence and plate with your phone the moment you get in. 4. If there is a dispute about the flat rate, instruct the driver to go to a police station or if you are near police officers stop there. That will sort things out really quick. 5. Try and use apps which will only order you official cabs and the price is fixed ahead of the journey. 6. If cab shows that they take CCs, tell the driver that you do not have cash; rather than not being paid, he will take CC, I bet

See Also