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Catching a taxi at BKK and general Thailand taxi discussion

Old Jan 3, 2015, 2:56 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: IluvSQ
READ THIS FIRST:
Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Taxi at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


BKK Terminal Map

Source: AOT

MAP KEY

Arrival Gates - Level Two
Immigration
Baggage Claim Carousels
Customs and Exits to Landside Terminal Area
Elevators/Escalators to Ground Floor Level One
Numbered Exits to Outside (taxi queues are near exits 4 & 7)

WHAT TO DO

Taxis accept cash only. There are ATMs and currency exchangers inside the terminal.
  • Take an elevator or escalator down to the ground level.
  • Follow the signs to one of the two taxi queues outside of the terminal on Level One.
  • The taxi queue attendant will ask your destination and write it on a taxi slip. UPDATE: There are no longer attendants to write your destination at BKK. You get a slip from a touchscreen kiosk which directs you to a parking stall number where you meet your car/driver.
  • The larger part of the taxi slip is yours to keep, the smaller part goes to your driver. Be sure to keep your taxi slip as it contains information you will need if a problem arises. Do not give your portion of the taxi slip to the driver, even if he asks for it. UPDATE: There is no portion of the new slip from the kiosk to give the driver.

BASE COST
  • Airport Fee - THB 50 per taxi levied from the airport (never to the airport)
  • THB 35 - flag drop through 1km
  • +THB 5.50/km for kilometers 1+ through 10
  • +THB 6.50/km for kilometers 10+ through 20
  • +THB 7.50/km for kilometers 20-40
  • +THB 2 per minute waiting or standing in traffic (less than 6kph)

TOLLS
  • THB 75 to city center (two toll booths)
  • THB 60 to DMK

SAMPLE FARES FROM BKK TO...
Amounts are approximate and will vary with traffic, specific drop point, etc.
  • City Center - THB 170-200
  • Grand Palace - THB 215
  • Don Mueang Airport (DMK) - THB 290
  • Hua Hin - THB ___ (typically a negotiated flat fee)
  • Pattaya - THB ___ (typically a negotiated flat fee)

FARE CALCULATOR TOOLS
Reasonably accurate fare estimates are available from a number of websites and apps. These services provide estimated base fares only. Calculations do not include traffic, tolls, airport fees, etc. Reliability varies - use at your own risk.
FAQs

Q: Should I use the hotel's airport transfer service instead of a taxi?A: It depends on your comfort zone, budget, time of day, number of people/bags, etc. In general, the cost will probably be about two to three times the typical taxi fare, or more. If you are relatively new to Asia, it might be a bit overwhelming, and you might find it reassuring to see someone holding a sign with your name as you walk out of baggage claim.
Q: Is it best to take the expressway or surface streets?A: Depending on your destination and time of day, surface streets might be quicker and/or shorter. However, expressway tolls will usually add less than THB 200 to the trip (see above), so you may wish to defer to your driver.

Q: What types of scams should I watch for?A: The most common thing you'll encounter is taxi drivers who do not want to use the meter. They will often ask for a flat fee that is usually much higher than the meter would register. If a driver refuses to use the meter, it's best to exit the taxi and get another. Do not get angry or argue with the driver. If a driver demands more money on arrival at your hotel, wait until your bags have been offloaded from the vehicle, then seek out a porter or other hotel employee to assist you. Again, do not get angry or argue with the driver. A driver may say there is a THB 50 fee to go to the airport. There is no fee to go TO the airport. If the fee is mentioned at the outset, get out and flag down a new taxi. If it is mentioned upon arrival at the airport, remove all your belongings from the taxi and calmly state that there is no such fee while handing over the metered amount. If the driver is insistent, offering to call over a police officer to assist will usually put an end to the discussion.

Q: What is the most common meter scam?
A: Very often, when you enter the taxi, the meter is obscured with a rag or towel, so you do not see that it has been running prior to your entrance,
and is now well over 100 Baht. Always ensure that you observe the driver starting the meter.
Q: If the driver does scam me, how much money are we talking about?A: Usually no more than THB 200-300, which is about USD 7-10
Q: I think I still have other questions...A: Just hit the reply button and get feedback from other helpful FlyerTalkers who take Bangkok taxis regularly!

Q: This all sounds like hassle. Is there some way I can use a small amount of money to make that go away?A: The AOT limo stands before and immediately after customs are trustworthy, although their initial quote will be for their most expensive vehicle. Ask for the Isuzu SUV. You'll be looking at 1,050THB / $33.50 to the center of town, inclusive of all fees and fares, and a small increment on that for a sedan. Credit cards are accepted. You will get a printed receipt before you get in the taxi. The vehicle will be well-driven, clean, and will have seatbelts.



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Catching a taxi at BKK and general Thailand taxi discussion

Old Dec 21, 2016, 7:09 pm
  #931  
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Originally Posted by Plato90s
True, I once took a licensed/metered taxi to Boston airport. The driver turned off the meter shortly into the trip, explaining it was malfunctioning and told me to pay what was "fair". Having taken that particular trip many times, I paid him the usual. I have no idea if the meter was really broken or he just wanted to work off-the-clock.

But I paid about the same, either way.
In Boston, it's different. Meters are inspected regularly (I believe that it's annually) by the police to ensure accuracy and correct charging. Off-the-meter agreements can really benefit the driver, because many of the drivers pay the owner of the taxi a percentage of the meter fares.
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Old Dec 23, 2016, 8:38 pm
  #932  
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Originally Posted by transpac
This seems unusual?

Official metered taxis appear obvious, most are Toyota Corolla Altis models and painted bright colors, with a large sign on the roof which says "Taxi Meter". Available taxis will be displaying a lit red sign in the lower corner of the passenger side windscreen.
Yes, it did seem unusual. Appeared to be a normal taxi otherwise. Did not seem to have the meter covered or obstructed--just didn't seem to be one.

First time I've had that happen in probably 100+ taxi rides in Bangkok. I've had several meter-off rides to/from the airport, none except that one being more than 100THB above what the metered rate should be (though I did have one last year who added something like 200THB to the meter reading, claiming there was a surcharge going to the airport).

Personally, though I know folks get mad that it only encourages the bad drivers to just pay and not argue, it's really not worth it to me to argue over what amounts to a few dollars here or there. The 700THB charge this time was outrageous, though, even if it was like "only" $20 for a 40 minute taxi ride which should have cost no more than $10-12.


Originally Posted by transpac
Getting a reasonable taxi at a hotel can be challenging as there will be a pool of drivers waiting for flat fares to the airport. You may have to walk out to the street, or use GrabTaxi.
Agreed. Of the overcharging experiences I've had, all have been from a hotel, where the drivers apparently feel more leeway...


Originally Posted by transpac
Bangkok streets/layout can be very, very, very challenging to navigate due to many issues: address/lot numbering, even/odd Sois not really aligning, dead-ends, one-way, divided roads. I see at least two or three tourists a week wandering on my street, staring at their Google-maps/phone, looking for their hotel, which is a good 3 Km away.
True, but having stayed at the Hilton Sukhumvit a dozen or so times, this was the first time I've had taxis have such problems locating it, or have had concierges tell me that the "soi changed." AFAIK, it's still on Sukhumvit Soi 24, not 26 as the concierges and drivers insisted.
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Old Dec 24, 2016, 2:59 am
  #933  
 
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I don't know if grab taxi has a flat rate from the airport, but the estimates I got from grab and uber in town were vastly different for city to city ride. Uber MUCH more expensive.
Unlike Malaysia where grab was regular cars, in Bangkok it was a regular taxi which charged the meter rate plus the 30 baht booking fee.
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Old Dec 24, 2016, 5:34 pm
  #934  
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Originally Posted by estnet
I don't know if grab taxi has a flat rate from the airport, but the estimates I got from grab and uber in town were vastly different for city to city ride. Uber MUCH more expensive.
Unlike Malaysia where grab was regular cars, in Bangkok it was a regular taxi which charged the meter rate plus the 30 baht booking fee.
Uber's estimates are always higher than what I'm charged. Sometimes by 40%.
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Old Dec 25, 2016, 6:14 am
  #935  
 
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Originally Posted by dsquared37
Uber's estimates are always higher than what I'm charged. Sometimes by 40%.
Interesting-- the quotes I was getting were 100% different so I went with Grab, often there were NO uber available but lots of grab when I was getting estimates over a few days before I planned to use it.
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Old Jan 14, 2017, 6:52 pm
  #936  
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Airport blacklists 'no meter' cabbie

Suvarnabhumi airport authorities have blacklisted a taxi driver who tried to charge a lump sum for a trip from the airport, after a passenger complained the car had no meter.

After placing his taxi driver ID on a blacklist and prohibiting him from entering the airport, the officials asked the Land Transport Department to investigate further and take legal action against the driver.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/gene...ie-blacklisted
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Old Jan 14, 2017, 7:16 pm
  #937  
 
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Originally Posted by transpac
Airport blacklists 'no meter' cabbie
Excellent. Hopefully this will scare other cab drivers into following the rules.
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Old Jan 14, 2017, 8:03 pm
  #938  
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Originally Posted by CJKatl
Excellent. Hopefully this will scare other cab drivers into following the rules.
Not a chance of that.

This guy can still pick up fares in Bangkok and what, exactly, is prohibiting him from dropping off pax at BKK/DMK and then trolling for fares on the same level?
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Old Feb 4, 2017, 5:30 am
  #939  
 
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This is my 3rd time in BKK but first time picking up a taxi from Level 1 BKK airport and I think I got scammed somehow.

1. Arrived at Level 1 and retrieved slip from kiosk and proceeded to the designated lane and driver.

2. Gave the slip to the driver and the journey started with meter THB35. Everything seems fine

3. Heading to the Grand Hyatt and approached the first toll. Was told that he doesn't have change so asked me to pay for the THB25 toll and the toll agent can break changes for me. Handed him THB1000 and got the correct change back.

4. Approached the second toll and was asked to pay THB50 and complied

5. Then I start to realize though we were in traffic but the meter was already around THB550 (I researched prior and noted the total trip should have been around THB400). In any case, arrived at hotel with meter hitting THB650, was informed of the additional THB50 surcharge so wrapped total bill up to THB700

6. If i included the toll charges then I had paid THB775 for the journey. Could have easily pre booked a car like i usually do

7. Checked with staff at the GH during check in and confirmed that THB400 would have been around the right amount. Total journey was less than an hour

though it wasn't a large amount but quite disappointed to find that taxis from official queue are still scamming people... Not sure who can u trust these days..
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Old Feb 4, 2017, 5:35 pm
  #940  
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My opinion, and I may be in the minority here, is that you should report your incident to the DLT; posting here does help other to remain vigilant. This assumes you've retained the slip from the kiosk, which should have the driver/vehicle details, or have the taxi number (two thai characters followed by four numbers).

This is really the only possible way for drivers to be punished, and possibly if enough are punished, they will no longer manipulate the meter, or shake people down people for a fixed fare.

Tens of thousands of Thais complain annually; I think it helps.

Your estimate was probably pretty accurate, it really depends on traffic - possibly 250-300 on the meter, plus 75 in tolls plus the 50 baht airport taxi fee.

You can call, use a mobile app or a website to report a taxi.

Call 1584

https://itunes.apple.com/th/app/dlt-...964296016?mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...tcheckin&hl=en

http://ins.dlt.go.th/cmpweb/ (Use google translate top-most tab takes you to the taxi complaint form)



http://www.bangkokpost.com/tech/apps...ublesome-taxis
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Old Feb 4, 2017, 9:29 pm
  #941  
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If you got a receipt or, perhaps, a photo of his license (and thus are in a position to refute the driver when he denies that the incident ever happened), I would definitely report it. As posted somewhere upthread, last time a driver tried to rip me off, I exited the taxi, shot a photo of his license plate, and had my [Thai-speaking] staff call to report it when I got back to my office. The people at the taxi bureau of the police initially told my staff that it was unlikely that they would be able to identify the driver from the license plate alone. I forgot about it and wrote it off in my mind. Several months later, completely unexpectedly, the police called back to say that they had identified and fined the driver. I don't specifically recall the amount, but 10,000 sticks in my mind for some reason.
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Old Feb 4, 2017, 11:40 pm
  #942  
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Please report it! The amount may be small - but it's the principle... getting ripped off can give a bad start to a holiday.
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Old Feb 5, 2017, 10:54 am
  #943  
 
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Day 2 and with another 2x back to back encounters.

1. Got the bellman at the GH to request a taxi to T&K Seafood in Yaorawat. Usual procedure of the bell noting down the license plate and handing it to the passenger prior to departure, at the same time reminded the taxi driver to go on meter.

2. 1 minute down the road I notice the meter was switched off completely. Asked the driver "why no meter?" He responded "yes no meter". I asked then how much and he said THB200.

3. Didn't bother to proceed further and asked him to pull over rightaway. Thankfully stopped right in front of the St Regis. He didn't seem like a "safe" driver to be with.

4. Went to the StR and got the bell man to request another taxi. Hoping this time would be fine. Same usual procedure of noting the license plate and reminding of meter.

5. 1 minute down the road and the driver switched off the meter. Asked me if "THB100 Ok??" I then said "No, Meter!". He was mumbling abit but i gave in and said fine fine THB100.

6. Knowing that would be the same price as getting an Uber so it seemed a reasonable request (THB20 or 30 more). the reason I didn't get Uber as no cars were nearby.

Do any of you have had the same issue of taxi drivers deliberately switching off meter despite being reminded to use it?
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Old Feb 5, 2017, 10:25 pm
  #944  
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The general consensus is that using a parked taxi near a hotel will, more often than not, lead to a fixed fare.

Best to walk to the main road, flag down a moving taxi, open the door, state your destination and your desire to use the meter. If you sense any trepidation, say thank you while closing the door, rinse/repeat. You could also use GrabTaxi.

I would speak to the manager of the hotel and just let him know about your issue(s).

I would also report these additional drivers to the DLT.

Last edited by transpac; Feb 5, 2017 at 10:57 pm
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Old Mar 15, 2017, 5:36 am
  #945  
 
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Today a taxi driver ripped me off...

I was a block off Khaosan Rd needing to get back to the Marriott Marquis. I used GrabTaxi but the driver refused to turn on the meter, wanting to charge a flat 200 Baht. I got out of the cab just as a cab was pulling up to drop someone off. I asked if he would turn on the meter, he said yes, so I had a cab. Right after that, the obvious tourist handed the driver 500 Baht to pay for his ride. Now unless the guy rode the cab from Pattaya, he was being ripped off. Once in the cab, I noticed a towel over the meter, so obviously the driver had negotiated a flat rate and the tourist didn't know better. Well, since I knew better and made the driver turn on the meter, I wasn't going to get ripped off, right?

Well...

I took this exact trip yesterday at the same time of day. The ride was just under 100 Baht. It's pretty much a straight line drive. This thief of a taxi driver drove so far out of the way. The ride that had taken 45 minutes yesterday took a minute shy of two hours today. We somehow wound up way south of the hotel at the river. The meter wound up way over 200 Baht. I called the hotel from the cab. Someone in a cooking class has just told of being driven outside of a city in India and having the driver demand more money. They guy got out of the car and basically hitch hiked back to town. When I saw the driver rip off the guy getting out of the cab before me I should have known better and waited for another cab. Lesson learned. Once a thief always a thief.

Security met us when we pulled up at the hotel. They talked to him, talked to me. I took my time knowing I was jerking the driver the way he jerked me. Ultimately I paid him - It's $2 US - but it wasn't about the money. He should not be driving a taxi. The hotel is sending something to the taxi authority. I took a picture of his license and will do the same.

Last edited by CJKatl; Mar 16, 2017 at 1:38 am
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