Trying to use taxis in a new country – especially when you don’t speak the language – can be intimidating. But using taxis in Rome is actually very straightforward, and can be a more comfortable way to travel to your destination.
We’re here to help you navigate the world of taxis in Rome, with tips on how to hail a taxi, the fares you should expect, and how to avoid getting ripped off.
Types of taxis available
If you’re looking to catch a taxi in Rome, it’s probably going to be one of the official white taxis, as alternatives like Uber and Lyft are either very limited or don’t exist. There are several companies that are officially licensed taxis, but are virtually indistinguishable from one another; Radio Taxi and Pronto Taxi are just a few examples.
The majority of taxis in Rome are your typical 5-seater (including driver) cars, but there are a few larger vehicles. If you’re hoping for a taxi that can carry 6 passengers, you should call in advance, or use an app – don’t expect one to be lining up at a taxi rank, as they’re not as common!
How to hail a taxi
Hailing a taxi isn’t really a ‘thing’ in Rome, and it’s the least reliable way to get hold of one. No amount of waving your arms or whistling will summon a taxi – most of the taxis you see going past will be driving with a customer in the back, on their way home, or on their way to pick someone up.
While on a lucky day you may catch a taxi driver willing to stop, it’s unlikely. You’re far better off heading to the nearest taxi stand or calling a taxi. If you call, make sure you’re ready to go – it’s likely to arrive within 5 minutes.
The easiest way to get a taxi, especially for tourists that may be worried about calling on the phone, is to download an app. FREENOW and Wetaxi are popular choices. You can even pay through the app, saving you from worrying about having cash on hand.
How to identify licensed taxis
To make your life a little easier, all official taxis in Rome are white and have a ‘TAXI’ sign on the roof of the car. They will have their license number visible, and the symbol of Rome City Council on the side of the car.
If traveling from the airport, make sure you get in a taxi with ‘Comune di Roma’ on the side, not ‘Comune di Fiumicino’ – only the taxis licensed in Rome are obliged to pay the set fare.
How to communicate with the driver
Most taxi drivers will speak enough English to get by, but if you want to brush up on your Italian, here are a few useful phrases:
- Devo andare all’aeroporto di fiumicino: I have to go to Fiumicino Airport. Swap out the last bit according to your destination; e.g. devo andare alla stazione centrale.
- Posso pagare con carta: can I pay by card?
- Può andare più piano/veloce: could you slow down/go faster?
- Si può accostare qui: can you stop here?
- Quanto le devo: how much do I owe you?
If in doubt, Google translate or pulling up an address on Google Maps can work in a pinch!
How to find a taxi stand
Just as you won’t have any trouble identifying licensed taxis in Rome, the taxi stands are clearly marked; they have an orange ‘TAXI’ sign and will usually have white taxis lining up. There’s a taxi stand at major transport hubs, like the airports and Termini Station, and you’ll find a stand close to all the main tourist sites.
Taxis from the Airport
You will find a taxi rank at both of Rome’s airports, Fiumicino and Ciampino. In Fiumicino, the larger of the two, you’ll find the taxi rank outside arrivals in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. For Ciampino, the taxis will be found outside the arrivals hall of the main terminal.
There will be signs leading you to the taxis, and you should now know how to identify the licensed ones! Avoid anyone trying to lead you to a taxi, as they’re not licensed and will charge you a high fare. Once you’ve arrived at the official taxi rank, head to the one at the front – remember to confirm your fare before getting in.
Another thing to look out for at the airport is that the licensed taxis have ‘Comune di Roma’ on the side, not ‘Comune di Fiumicino’, to guarantee you will pay the set fare. For journeys into the city center from the airport, there is a set charge of:
Fiumicino Airport to within the Aurelian Walls and vice versa: €50
Ciampino Airport to within the Aurelian Walls and vice versa: €31
Taxis from Termini Train Station
Like the airports, Termini Station has its own taxi rank; the official taxis line up in front of the main entrance, so they’re not difficult to spot. Just like at the airport, you may get a few scam artists trying to lead you to an unlicensed taxi – ignore them and head straight to the taxi rank.
A taxi from the station to the center should cost somewhere between €10 and €15, but it will vary depending on your destination and traffic. There is a €2 surcharge for leaving or arriving at Termini station by taxi.
Though it’s best to check with the driver beforehand, it’s good to have an idea of what to expect in terms of pricing. At the time of writing, the below fares are correct.
You will pay an initial fixed fee at the start of any taxi journey, but it will change according to the time and day:
- On weekdays from 6:00 am to 10 pm, the fixed fee will be €3.
- For Sundays and public holidays from 6:00 am to 10 pm, it will be €5.
- It’s most expensive at night, from 10 pm to 6 am, with a fixed fee of €7.
After the point of departure, you will pay an hourly fare on the meter; which, at speeds of less than 20km/hr, would be €28/hr (for when there is high traffic). At speeds over 20km/hr, you will go into the progressive meter fare.
- It starts at T1, which will be €1.14/km until you have reached an additional €11 on the initial fare.
- It then switches to the T2 fare, which charges €1.35/km until a further €13 has been added on.
- Finally, the T3 will be applied, at €1.66/km, which carries on until you reach your destination.
There are other additional charges to be aware of, including a charge for extra pieces of luggage (over 35x25x50cm) of €1 each, though the first is free. If you’re in a larger taxi, they may also charge €1 extra for each passenger past the fourth (if there are six passengers in total, this will be €2 extra). There’s also the fixed right to call radiotaxi fee, which is €4.
Asking a taxi to wait for you isn’t cheap; for standing and waiting time, €27 is charged per hour.
You may be eligible for a reduction on fares, though the taxi driver may need reminding! A 10% reduction is applied in the following circumstances:
- Trips taking you directly to public hospitals in Rome.
- If you’re a woman traveling alone at night (from 10 pm to 6 am).
- If there is an agreement in place with the clubs, young people leaving them on Friday and Saturday nights are also eligible.
Technically, all taxis in Rome are supposed to accept card payments and are equipped with contactless technology. In practice, however, sometimes taxis will claim that their card machine is out of order and that they only accept cash.
It’s best to have cash on you when catching a taxi just in case, but if you don’t, make sure you ask if you can pay with card before starting your journey, or order and pay via an app.
How to Avoid Being Ripped Off
You’ll find fears of being ripped off in Rome by taxis are largely overblown. Once you’ve found an official taxi rank and avoided any people trying to take you to an unlicensed taxi, you should be fine. That being said, it’s always better to take precautions in case you happen across an unscrupulous character.
These are a few things you can do to avoid being ripped off:
- Get in an official taxi. People at the airport or Termini station may get in your face shouting taxi – ignore them, they’re not licensed drivers. Head to the taxi stand or call one instead.
- Make sure the meter is switched on from the start of your journey. Some may pretend to forget so they can charge a higher fare at the end of the ride; avoid this by checking it’s switched on straight away.
- No meter? Ask the cost upfront. If you’re in an unmetered taxi, you need to agree on a fare before you get in. You should also ask if they accept card payments if you don’t have cash.
- Make sure the meter reads ‘Tariffa 1’ when traveling around Rome. ‘Tariffa 2’ is a more expensive rate, and shouldn’t be applied until the fare reaches a minimum of €14.
- Don’t pay until your luggage is removed from the car. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Get a receipt. If you’re concerned you are being ripped off, ask for a receipt. It will have all the details you need, including the driver’s name and license number, for when you contact the taxi company.
Uber, Lyft, etc, in Rome
There are strict laws in place in Italy to protect taxi drivers from ‘unfair competition’, which includes the likes of Uber and Lyft.
While Lyft has no presence at all in Rome, there is a stripped-back Uber service; Uber Black and Uber Vans. This is a slightly premium service, however, and tends to be more expensive than taxis.
There are a few ride-sharing services, but nothing that operates on the scale of Uber. Scooterino allows you to jump on the back of a Vespa for a quick trip across town, but obviously isn’t suitable for most situations!
Benefits of Using Taxis in Rome
Taxis are a safe, familiar way to travel around a city, and offer a comfortable alternative to public transport. If you have luggage or are going to a destination far from public transport links, taxis are far more convenient. It’s the easiest way to travel – you don’t have the stress of rushing around or finding your own way through the city.
It can even work out to be a quite reasonable price if you’re splitting the cost between multiple passengers.
They’re certainly not the cheapest way to travel! Rome’s taxis are more expensive than many other European capitals. If you’re looking for cost-effectiveness, use public transport.
Only Uber’s premium services operate in Rome, as their regular service is banned. You can get an Uber from the airport through Uber Black, but taxis are usually cheaper.
Lyft is not available in Rome, and Uber is only able to offer its premium services, Uber Black and Uber Vans, in the city.
There are several, but the most popular taxi apps are FREENOW and Wetaxi.