Sunday, October 01, 2006

Parisian Taxis


The city of Paris limits the number of taxis to a maximum of 15,500. Practically any car can be turned into a taxi (Mercedes are the most popular) providing the owner - or the company - acquires a taxi licence (which costs 165 000 Euro!). Drivers need to take an exam and must be prepared to work a lot (they say 6 to 7 days a week, 10 hours per day.) There are 3 rates: A - for trips inside Paris between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm, rate B - From 5 pm to 10 am, and C - on Sundays and holidays and if you go outside of the Paris city limits. Much, much more (in English) here.

Today is October 1st and it's also a City Daily Photo theme day... The "family" voted for Taxis. So if you want to see what taxis look like all over the world click on any of the participating sites below. Due to time zone differences and other factors, the theme photo may not be displayed until later if you are viewing early in the day.
1 (Porto, Portugal) -2 (Albuquerque, NM, USA) -3 (London, England) -4 (Seattle, WA, USA [Kim]) -5 (Edinburgh) -6 (Stayton, OR, USA) -7 (Greenville, SC, USA) -8 (Budapest, Hungary) -9 (Antigua, Guatemala) -10 (Alexandria, VA, USA) -11 (Manila, Philippines) -12 (Twin Cities, MN, USA) -13 (Szentes, Hungary) -14 (Paris, France) -15 (Portsmouth, England) -16 (Ryde, UK) -17 (Sydney, Australia) -18 (Oulu, Finland) -19 (Singapore [keropok]) -20 (Santiago, Chile) -21 (Melbourne, Australia) -22 (Dubai, UAE) -23 (Bandung, Indonesia) -24 (Copenhagen, Denmark) -25 (Sequim, WA, USA) -26 (Singapore [Raymond]) -27 (Tenerife, Spain) -28 (Sharon, CT, USA) -29 (Tuzla, B&H) -30 (Jakarta, Indonesia) -31 (Rotterdam, Netherlands) -32 (Brussels, Belgium) -33 (Stavanger, Norway) -34 (Aliso Viejo, CA, USA) -35 (Oshawa, ON, Canada) -36 (Vantaa, Finland) -37 (Trier, Germany) -38 (Newcastle upon Tyne, England) -39 (Hong Kong) -40 (Shanghai) -41 (Brussels, Belgium) -42 (San Diego, CA, USA) -43 (Sydney, Australia [Nathalie]) -44 (St Paul, MN, USA)

47 comments:

  1. Well certainly the couple below must have missed the bus after being distracted by the advert and their own passion, so this photo is an excellent way to capture how they probably got home!

    I love the way you got the taxis for theme day, but also captured the traffic... Now, if we could only get the drivers to not be so finicky about who they pick up when they don't want to go out of their way.

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  2. Super composition! Wow! MB's used as taxis. This is impressive and the flare so Parisian. Eric, thank you for taking the time to put country names with cities in the links, a lot of extra work for you. . .
    -Kim

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  3. Bravo to Paris for requiring an exam. Bravo to the taxi owners for using Mercedes.

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  4. I don't think that Mercedes will ever be used as taxis in Chile. These cars have a huge tax, because they're considered as luxury cars.
    Looks that this business is well regulated.

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  5. Yeah, they'll never be used as taxis around here either. We really should require more strick exams for our taxi drivers. Bus drivers too! And all driver, really. The St. Louis driver is typicall a very stupid driver!!!

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  6. Driving a mercedes around town would make it a far nicer job. Thanks Eric.

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  7. Going around Paris with mercedes taxi...very pleasent...

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  8. Ouch! That is a very expensive license and I can see why they have to work very hard and long hours. This is the opposite of Antigua where just about anybody can own a taxi and its license.

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  9. Parisian Taxis are very expensive: i rarely/never take any, except if i need it for my job as the boss pays for it...
    Still, on the contrary to what you might have heard, they are honnest. The rates are just very complicated to understand, as it depends on the way one takes (each driver has its own habit/knowledge to go from one spot to another one), the time it lasted, the day, the hour within the day, whether you have called it or just taken it in the street. In a word: it is impossible to controle the price, but you can rely on its "computer".
    Leaving a tip belongs to the habits (i would say 2 Euros).
    Too bad Parisian Taxis are not as typical as the ones in NYC (yellow cabs) or London (the old black ones you know...)

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  10. Excellent point Haxo, and don't forget the surcharge if you put your luggage in the trunk. Many a tourist sticks his/her backpack in the trunk and then can't figure out why the rate given by the driver is different than the one on the meter.

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  11. wwoow 165 000 euros? It's really expensive!!! Better to get a common job.

    Greetings from Perú

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  12. You mean the take an EXAM to be like that ????? For London cabbies rudeness comes naturally ;-)

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  13. Our family was in Paris once and because we can't all fit in, we had to take 2 taxis. The taxi my parents went inside drove them to their destination. The one that we tried to board, told us they can't take us there. Central Paris is closed was the answer. (We arrived on the day of tour de France.)

    We had to take the Metro instead because all the other taxi drivers said the same thing. When we reach the hotel, found out from our brother who was with my parents, that their driver knows Paris so well, he knows all the backlanes in Paris that are not closed. So he got them there. Drivers like him should be given a commendation medal!

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  14. WOW! I know our taxi drivers are self-employed and have to lease their own cars (also most often Mercedes and BMW), but now I'm curious as to what they have to pay for licence. That is one very hefty entry fee.

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  15. Thanks for the info., Eric.
    This must be a lucrative biz. as 165k euro translate to whopping 45mil Hungarian currency..much more than "who wants to be millionaire" offers!

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  16. I join to Kris...this amount is enormous. I guess 45 million HUF is an amount which would be never back for the driver.

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  17. Lucrative or not, I wouldn't want the job. Driving in Paris for 10 yours a day, no thanks (I know these lanes Delanoe have created must help considerably, but still, there is traffic practically everywhere and people still drive like maniacs.

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  18. Keropok Man's comment reminds me that you left out one important accessory of all Parisian taxi drivers Eric...the dog in the front passenger seat!

    You can count on NOT being able to use the front seat of a taxi either because it is reserved for the driver's dog or his/her entire life is sitting there (clothes, food, papers, etc.).

    I notice that the "non-French" drivers, however, are using this as an advantage and buying larger cars to use as taxis (mini-vans), or the dog has mysteriously disappeared.

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  19. Michael, they must be Chinese drivers...

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  20. sounds like a nightmare job to me...driving in paris is bad enough without it being your job! last time i was in paris, the taxi driver could see from our bags that we were foreign so asked if it was our first visit to paris! so i replied in rapid french that i come often and would he please get a move on!

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  21. they're so shiny and luxurious, just like Paris itself.
    looks very busy - i like the shot very much.

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  22. Love the close up shot that gives it great intensity. The image is just FULL of traffic and that's brilliant. As for the cost, I hardly ever take taxis when I visit Paris, I love my metro!!!

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  23. We only use taxis as a last resort. They are expensive no matter where. Big city bus service works for us especially in Paris. We live in a small university town where bus service is totally inadequate because the city has grown but the bus service hasn't expanded enough. Unless you live on campus or downtown you must drive your car.

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  24. :)
    And I guess it really is a locrative biz...165,000 Euro =?RMB.
    The answer is 1,650,900 RMB...it means I can buy two middle-level apts in the downtown of Shanghai.
    :D
    ...Jing
    by the way, its really a hard job to see all the "theme day" photo blogs!!
    I did it now!

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  25. such long hours for a taxi driver. at least the fare seems more resonable than in finland. the fare link you provided quotes 3.70€ starting charge in helsinki. the info i got states 4.50€ as of 3.7.2006. i wouldnt know which is correct as i never take a cab in finland.

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  26. Do you think this lady has to pay twice the fare?

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  27. When I arrived at CDG on my first trip to Paris, I was supposed to be picked up by a shuttle and taken to my hotel. I was traveling alone and meeting my sister and her family for the weekend there.

    After waiting nearly an hour for the shuttle (and calling the company twice), I gave up and hired a taxi. I had no Euros on me and let the cab driver know that right away. He assured me that we would stop at an ATM in a safe neighborhood and that I could get some cash.He then took me on a lovely drive into the city all the while pointing out the sites and giving little history lessons. He was so kind and friendly.

    I took several more cab rides while staying in Paris, but none of the drivers were as hospitable as the first driver had been.

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  28. How fitting that Paris would have Mercedes-Benz as taxis: a classy car for a classy city!

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  29. I have a question of all the native Parisians (sp?) on this blog. Is it perfectly safe to get on the metro with all your luggage (say, from the airport) or does that just scream "I am a tourist and I am begging you to rob me!". Would it be safer, all be it more expensive, to take one of those beatiful taxis! (might be the only chance I ever get to ride in a Benz!) We are staying near the Opera House.

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  30. When I was in Paris in April, my knees were VERY sore. So I took cabs all around the city. It cost me $300 for one week, but at least I got to where I wante to be.

    However, the day I was to take a class at the Cordon Bleu, none of the cab drivers had heard of it! Le Cordon Bleu! Mon Dieu!

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  31. Gypsy,
    If you take a taxi from the airport, you have to go to the special dedicated spot for that and line the queue.
    It is very important for you to refuse a taxi who would come directly to you inside the airport and ask you to come with him without lining the queue: it is vorbidden, and the taxi driver wouldn't put the meter on and would make you pay more than the normal price.
    It happened to me once. I was young(er) at that time and followed the guy. When we arrived at the taxi a bit farer away, policemen arrested me and explained to me what was wrong in what the guy did.
    But don't be afraid, it happens rarely :-)
    You can take the taxi or the RER. It depends where you are going in Paris, and at what time you arrive.
    Whatever you take, nothing should happen to you if you take normally care of your luggage, and if you don't let your money appearing out of your pockets...
    Just don't let any opportunity to possible pickpockets, and everything should be ok.

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  32. Gypsy Canadienne, I would echo haxo's advice, but frankly, for to avoid the hassle of carrying your luggage around the airport to the RER then the Metro station, the price of the taxi is well worth the added convenience.

    Depending on which Opera house you're staying near, the one in the center of Paris should cost you around 40euros to reach and about 30-40 minutes depending on the time of day.

    So, once having avoided sweating with your luggage in the metro and being perfectly relaxed in the back of a taxi, you can arrive rested and ready to see all Paris has to offer.

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  33. Gypsy,

    My advice is that you take a shuttle to and from the airport. It only cost 20 EUR one way and they will take you to your hotel. A taxi will cost a fortune (they charged me 10 eur just to go from 7th to 6th (I think they ripped me off but what can you do?). The train would be a nightmare with baggage.

    At the airport, go downstairs to the bottom level and there are several limousine services. I flew Delta and they had a link to preplan and prepay for it but I am sure that you can pay them at the airport. Basically, it is a van that you share with 5 or 6 other people. Mine took me to my hotel door.

    Hope that helps.

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  34. Wow,

    Thanks so much for all of your suggestions! We are both pretty wet behind the ears when it comes to travelling, especially outside Canada so any advice we can get sure helps! We are going to be such fish out of water to begin with so thank you again.

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  35. Gypsy,


    Paris Shuttle


    Michael,

    I finally understand!

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  36. Thank you Susan! You just made my life so much easier! That's fantastic.

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  37. eric, here in Sydney taxi licences are also very expensive - in fact in most cities they are over $ A 200 000. Hence most taxis are actually owned by companies who hire the drivers - the drivers themselves don't get paid much.

    It would be worth it if the drivers wewre more knowledgeable and the taxis in better shape - a Mercedes would make life easier!

    (BTW The two times I caught taxis in Paris were great - and i would say reasonable in price for a major city)

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  38. Just read that a taxi licence was $A 260 000 in Sydney in 1999 and Brisbane $A 278 000 in 1998, and now are closer to $A 350 000

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