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Paris drivers fined and banned after tourists charged €230 for airport taxi trip

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
Paris drivers fined and banned after tourists charged €230 for airport taxi trip
Taxis are stopped in traffic near the Louvre Palace in Paris on December 6, 2019 during a strike of Paris public transports operator RATP and state railway company SNCF employees over French government's plan to overhaul the country's retirement system, as part of a national general strike. - Trains cancelled, schools closed: France scrambled to make contingency plans on for a huge strike against pension overhauls that poses one of the biggest challenges yet to French President's sweeping reform drive. (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP)

Three Paris drivers have been fined and banned from driving after tourists were charged €230 for a taxi from Charles de Gaulle airport into the city, in a case brought by Paris taxi authorities to try and deter unlicensed drivers from performing this type of scam.

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Taxi fees from the airport into the city are capped at €53 for the Right Bank and €58 for the Left Bank, but tourists are frequently ripped off by unlicensed drivers who operate at airports and large train stations.

The latest case involved passengers who arrived from Hong Kong on January 1st and were charged €230 for the trip into the city centre.

This time the taxi drivers' association L’association les Nouveaux Taxis Parisiens brought a civil action against the scammers, fed up with the overcharging which, they say, brings their profession into disrepute.

READ ALSO What you need to know about taking a taxi in Paris

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Three men were brought before the court over the scam and produced a convoluted tale of extra charges for clearing up vomit from drunk passengers, which the Hong Kong tourists denied, while one man claimed he had only been at the airport to buy Nespresso capsules, to which the magistrate replied 'Mmmmmm', according to French newspaper Le Parisien

The driver was fined €200 for overcharging and banned from driving for a year, while his accomplice was banned from driving for six months. Both were ordered to pay €1,000 in damages. A third man, who was not present but whose legitimate taxi license the unlicensed driver was using, was given a €1,000 suspended fine and ordered to pay €1,000 in damages for complicity in the illegal practice of the profession.

Jean Barriera, leader of the taxi drivers' association, said afterwards that he did not think the sentences were severe enough, adding that he had brought the case: "To defend the image of cabs. It's the whole profession that these individuals sully."

Paris, Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Toulouse and several other French cities have fixed rates for taxis, you can find the full list here

However these only apply to official taxis. If you are using a VTC service like Uber the price will vary depending on availability, although it will be fixed before you get into the car.

Unlicensed drivers are common at airports and stations including Gare du Nord. French taxi drivers are not allowed to solicit for fares, so if someone approaches you and offers you a taxi they are probably unlicensed - instead go to the taxi rank to find an official vehicle.

Click here for the full list of rates and what you need to know about taking a taxi in France.

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