Annie Nieman was visiting a friend in Belgrade. She arrived on a train, and stopped a taxi to take to her friend’s apartment near Cvetkov open market on Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra. The ride should have cost no more than 600 dinars, but the driver charged Nieman €50 (roughly 4,600 dinars).
What Nieman didn’t know that it’s common knowledge that you’re not supposed to take a taxi right in front of the train station, bus station, or airport because these drivers are usually not with a trusted company, and often have rigged, too-fast metres.
Nieman says that her friend threw a fit when she found out how much she had paid for the ride.
“But, how was I supposed to know? No one told me how much a taxi is supposed to cost, and the driver said my friend’s apartment was far away,” Nieman told Balkan Insight.
There are many such horror stories, and many new comers to the city are often taken advantage of by shameless drivers. And, through Belgrade taxis are cheap when compared to those of other capital cities, if you’re not keeping an eye out, you may be short-changed like Nieman was.
In addition, many taxi drivers in the city are often reckless. They drive on tram rail lines, or in between lanes during rush hour, and are most often speeding. They also very much dislike taking passengers on short rides.
It is important that you only take taxi’s that are licensed with a company. The quick way to tell if a driver is licensed is to pay attention to their marker on the top of the car. If a car is licensed, they will have the company name and the driver’s identification number on them. Unlicensed drivers usually only have a white marker with the word “TAXI” on it.
Inside the taxi, a price list and the driver’s identification card, with the city’s blue coat of arms, must be clearly displayed. The fare should be displayed on the metre, which should also be in clear view.
Since July of 2008, the starting fee for a taxi is 119 dinars. The per-kilometre rate is 49 dinars at the low tariff (Mon to Sat 06:00 – 22:00) or 52 dinars at the high tariff (Mon to Sat 22:00 – 06:00, Sunday and public holidays).
It is often cheaper to call a taxi by phone, and some taxi companies offer a 20 per cent discount. The Beogradski taksi company uses normal daily rates for rides during the night, weekends and even on public holidays. They also offer fixed rates to the airport.
Generally speaking, there should be no extra charge for luggage, but if the driver wishes to charge you he is required to say so before the ride or you don’t have to pay. In addition, some drivers may agree to transport pet(s), though they are not required to do so.
As far as tipping is concerned, tipping is not expected, though it is appreciated if you round off the fare. The tip may be as little as 10 dinars.
Have you’ve been wondering where to sit in the cab, since many Belgraders sit in the passenger’s seat with the driver? There is no social norm about where to sit, and you will not be considered rude if you sit in the back.