• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Here's why everyone seems to loathe French taxi drivers
Photo: AFP

Here's why everyone seems to loathe French taxi drivers

Oliver Gee · 26 Jan 2016, 11:47

Published: 26 Jan 2016 11:47 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Jan 2016 11:47 GMT+01:00

First thing's first, we know there are some lovely taxi drivers in France, who act like an old mate, are delightful to talk to, and who will even carry your bags for you. 
 
But their reputation is in tatters, not least this week as they cause mass delays across the country while striking against "unfair competition".
 
Here's why people love to hate them. 
 
1. They strike. And often.
 
How can you sympathize with a group of people who burn tyres and block roads so common people can't get to the airport on time? There's withdrawing your labour - and then there's being difficult about it.
 
They seem to take out their anger on ordinary members of the public, many of whom are their paying customers, or at least used to be.
 
Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.
 
And let's not forget they were on strike as recently as June (see pic below).
 
 
2. They are violent strikers
 
"It is hard to feel sympathy for someone throwing rocks at your car!" writes one reader of The Local. 
 
Another, Chris Balchin on The Local's Facebook page, says the "violence and destruction" needs to be banned. "It's not the revolution anymore," he says.
 
We've seen mob beatings, burning tyres, and taxi drivers literally turning over cars or pulling tourists out of other vehicles. Or, like in the video below, we've seen huge concrete blocks thrown at cars from bridges.
 
 
3. They're expensive
 
A taxi ride in France can cost up to double the price of an Uber, even when they take exactly the same route. We have the receipts to prove it!
 
Several tweeters told us that the price was the main reason they didn't like French cabs. 
 
4. What, no card payments!
 
Many taxi drivers won't accept card payments, and if they do, they can often do it reluctantly. And you'll be made to feel like a receipt is the biggest hassle in the world. Yes, cash is king. And you'd better have the right amount, or....
 
5. Forced tipping 
 
It's not really customary to tip in France, especially not with taxi drivers. Especially not after they've added on all the extra costs, like €1 for each bag in the boot.
 
But in one of the biggest mysteries, in Paris at least, no taxi driver has ever had any change to give you when you hand over your €10. Don't be surprised, even though they operate with cash all day (see point 4). 
 
The drive was already expensive, now be prepared to be guilt-tripped into paying a bit more. 
 
Photo: David McKelvey/Flickr
 
6. Where are we? 
 
While taxi drivers generally know their way around, don't be surprised if your driver pulls over and fumbles through a road map to find the way. 
 
Or they will check your knowledge of the area by asking you the best way to go, when they know full well which route to take.
 
If you don't know, just accept you are going the long way round.
 
It's 2016 - surely they should have a GPS. Anyone with a phone does, nowadays.
 
7. Tourist trickery
 
Especially in Paris, taxi drivers have a reputation of going the longest way possible. And they'll be somehow unable to get you to your destination quickly, or will be unable to negotiate the maze of one-way streets, or may even get lost. 
 
This doesn't look like the way to the Eiffel Tower... Photo: Olivier Ortelpa/Flickr
 
8. The ghost driver
 
If you leave your brand new pair of shoes in the back of a taxi, and realize ten minutes after you get out of the car... what are you going to do?
 
You can try and call the company, but good luck. Those shoes are gone. The driver has disappeared, like a ghost. However, with many private cabs services, like Uber, you'll be able to just call the driver whose number and whose details are already in your phone. 
 
Story continues below…
9. The great unknown
 
When you wave down a taxi in Paris, you might be getting in a smokey, smelly car with a grumpy and equally smelly driver sitting on a wooden-ball-massage-seat cover, who is certainly going to take you around the houses and expect you to tip him after.
 
In some services, like Uber, the drivers are already rated. Don't like the look of them? Don't book. 
 
Photo: AFP
 
10. No customer service/care
 
Rude, moody, always listening to football. These are age-old complaints about taxi drivers.
 
Have you ever complained about a bad taxi ride and got a refund? Or an apology? We doubt it. 
 
Some VTCs, which is how the French refer to private hire firms, will refund you if you've had a considerable problem, or even give you vouchers for your next trip. And the process is often painless and simple. 
 
But to hear their side of the story, click on the link below
 
 
 
 
 

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
What's on in France: Eleven great things to do in July
Check out Provence's Lavender festivals in July. Photo: Ming-Yen Hsu/Flickr

We reckon July is by far the best month to be in France. Here's why.

Brexit
France wants Paris to profit from London's losses
Photo: AFP

Paris must take London's place as Europe's financial powerhouse once Brexit happens, a French minister says.

French foie gras industry warns of shortages
Photo: AFP

The foie gras industry in France is struggling to digest the consequences of the bird flu scare in its heartland.

Paris to honour Ireland's 'wonderful' football fans
Photo: AFP

Fans of the Boys in Green are to be given a special medal for bringing some joy to Euro 2016.

€5 to the coast? Ouibus rolls out new summer lines
Photo: Ouibus

Fancy heading to the coast for just €5 this summer?

Brexit
When France 'ignored' the result of an EU referendum
Demonstrators hold signs reading 'Respect our No, an other Europe is possible' after the EU constitution which was rejected in a referendum in 2005. Photo: AFP

The UK has voted to Leave the EU... but can the Brexit vote simply be ignored? Here's what happened in France's own EU referendum 11 years ago.

Tensions mount as thousands protest France's labour laws
French anti-riot police officers hold a man during a demonstration against controversial labour reforms, on June 28, 2016 on Bastille Square in Paris. Photo: AFP

Police are on high alert as tensions have begun to service during the latest labour reform protest in Paris.

The bright side of Brexit: The 'good news' for Brits in France
Photo: AFP

Well the UK voted to Leave the EU, the pound is tumbling, and stock markets have been in turmoil, but it's not all bad news for Brits living and working in France... right?

New map of France finalized as regions settle on names
Photo: AFP

It's done. The names have all been decided on after lots of arguing. Here's the new map of France.

Eiffel Tower closes as workers join latest strike
Photo: AFP

The Iron Lady is on strike on Tuesday.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
New app aims to rid Paris pavements of dog poo
Society
No more plastic bags! See what changes in France from July 2016
National
Mixed reaction from the French as UK votes for Brexit
National
How Brexit could now scupper that dream move to France
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Brexit limbo: What happens next for Brits in France?
Gallery
Ten reasons why you should think about becoming French
Analysis & Opinion
Brexit: Life for Brits in France 'will get more complicated'
Culture
20 English words that 'should be banished' from French
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Best Briehaviour: A guide to French cheese etiquette
Features
And the best city in France for expats to live in is...?
Society
Forget bikes, Paris is set to roll out scooter rentals
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
'We fear for our safety': French police feel the strain
Lifestyle
Why Rennes (and not Paris) is the best city in France for expats to live
National
Why are the French losing appetite for baguettes?
Lifestyle
Naturism booms in France as young eager to ditch clothes
Lifestyle
Is working life better in London or Paris?
National
Dear Americans: Please come to Paris
National
It's official (kind of): French work fewest hours in EU
And the best football fans of Euro 2016 in France are?
National
Paris has wettest spring in 100 years and it's hitting morale
Police murders remind France of complexity of terror threat
National
IN PICTURES: Labour law protests in Paris turn ugly
National
Double murder just latest jihadist attack on French police and soldiers
2,736
jobs available