I (Vicki Skinner - aka "THE Sarong Goddess") created this blog in 2007 to share DETAILED Finds•Lists•Info•Events•Experiences to help bring more EASE to people living in, visiting or thinking of moving to Costa Rica since DETAILS are NOT easy to find!
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Friday, November 2, 2007

TAXI INFO - Part 1 (rates & general info/hints)

Gas has GONE UP (and still rising) to say nothing of the rising cost of replacement parts/repairs so taxi prices are going up also!

The new minimum just to get into the taxi - 405-colons (about 79¢ US/$. It was 365-c/71¢). Additional kilometers will now be 380-c (74¢ - was 340-c/66¢).

Waiting period (with the motor turned off) - 2,205-c an hour (about $4.28/hour - was 2,015-c/$3.91).

If you're going under 10kph &/or caught in traffic - 3,800-c ($7.38/hour. It was 3,400-c/$6.60) (it’s pro-rated for the time the taxi is delayed).

The new rates (set by the Authoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos) will take effect when they are published in the La Gazeta official newspaper sometime this week (I've heard from 2 taxi's that would be Wed.).

Rural & handicapped vehicles are slightly different

Had a serious problem happen while in a taxi?

I’ve heard two different stories on what to do:
One that you can file an online complaint/denuncia with the Transito at www.transito.go.cr (in Spanish of course).

The other is you must appear in person at ARESEP (in San Francisco de Dos Rios in San Jose - 220-0102 / 800-827-3737 (800-8-ARESEP) / 200-0374 / 290-2010-fax) to file a complaint so bring your cedula/id, your contact information, the license plate number of the taxi, the date, time and place of the incident and as many other details as possible (most workers here don’t speak English).

Going these rates can have SERIOUS repercussions to the driver so you might want to contact their base number (usually at the top of their “Taxi” light on top of the car. Remember that “Slander” laws in CR are pretty tight so the more PROOF you have (vs. he said/she said which doesn’t usually hold up well for foreigners) - the WAYYYYY better!!

PIRATAS/Pirate (illegal taxi drivers)
Another option (one I no longer take) is using Piratas/Pirate (not legal red government regulated [including their prices] taxis that are often older [the cars that is]). I used to use them a LOT (in part because of where I WAS living) till I started taking Reds to see how their prices compared & found that 95+% of the time, the legal/insured Red taxis were OFTEN cheaper (WAYYY cheaper when it comes to the price of a taxi from Mas x Menos in San Rafael to my home just 7 blocks away. A Red Taxi costs me around 400-425-colons [approximately 88¢/US]. A Pirata - JUST to get inside is I believe now 750-colons [approximately $1.76/US$] - to the same 7 blocks. You do what you feel comfortable with as I can only say what works/doesn’t for me.
With that said - if you're REALLY desperate for a taxi - any taxi 24/7 they’re ANCA Taxis - 228-9354 / 288-2920 / 288-2918 / 228-6525.

TAXI (Frustration Saving) HINTS
#1 - Make sure the taxi driver turns on the Maria/Meter WHEN YOU GET IN!! (I’ve had some “forget” to reset it from their last person that just got out).

Especially in the Escazu Centro area - MANY of the taxi drivers cell phones go in/out of service so if you get a busy or recording - give it a few minutes & call the driver back if you’re trying to reach someone.

Another BIG HINT I've learned (after creating tension with a driver that didn't speak a lot of English & I don't speak lots of Spanish just yet [though I’m learning & trying every day!!]). Don't need anything special - perhaps just wanting a taxi to take you from your home to the market or something close, consider calling the Taxi Office to have whomever is available at that moment. Otherwise, if you're asking your regular driver to be there specifically at a certain time, chances are good he's going to say "Yes" - even if he's on another job & EVENTUALLY will come pick you up & often not call to tell you he's not going to be on time. I'm learning, unless it's important - to tell my driver to feel free to send another driver if it's that important. Better yet – if you don’t have a rush/something important &/or are going close-by? I welcome you to just call Dispatch to send whomever is available!! WOW the peace it's giving me now (vs. the HUGE frustration I had before including having a falling out with a favorite driver).

As always there are some basic/logical steps that people can take to protect THEMSELVES hence don't create/invite situations into their lives (some people blatantly bring things on in their lives & then LOVE to cry "victim!!").

EVERY TIME - BEFORE I get into a strangers taxi at night - I get the taxi #. I then call my home number (I live solo - for those with a roommate, partner, hubby or just a friend that worries about you) & leave a message on the machine saying "Hey hunny, I'm on my way home. It's 11:30 pm (CRUCIAL to say night or day - JUST in case) & I'm getting into taxi number ______ at ________ (wherever I'm at). I'll see you as soon as I get there."

This way they KNOW they can be identified & they know someone will be waiting for you so they can't try to force themselves into your house (for that I also usually put an outdoor Plus at least one inside light on before I go out &/or put a timer on).

Don't have an answering machine or cell - why the heck NOT (it’s FREE on your ICE phone!!! You just have to turn it on [my landlord had to send a letter])??? These are SMART PROTECTION points - ESPECIALLY for women!!! As a friend to bring one of those $15 answering machines back from the States & get yourself a cell!! In 6 months my cell phone bill has NEVER run me more than $8 a month (I use it mainly for emergencies &/or getting taxis - ESPECIALLY good for if/when you get lost [a COMMON thing around here!!]).

If you're visiting I HIGHLY suggest you rent one - ESPECIALLY if YOU'RE driving yourself around (of course if you're hiring a driver/guide - ANY guide worth their weight has a cell so look at that when calculating the value of hiring a driver as cell phone rentals aren't always cheap!!)

In the above answering machine message idea - it's a good time to get the taxi driver (if it's a parata) saying in his own words the fare he's charging you - that way there's NO dispute ("Oh & the taxi said it's going to cost me $_____ from here to _____" with the driver filling in the $_____ price with HIS voice!)

Of COURSE - ALWAYS ask the taxi price BEFORE you get in (this of course is for piratas)!!

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