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Athenian taxis—a warning

The good news about taxis in Athens is that they’re relatively cheap. The bad news is that they’re individual fiefdoms run by often-insane despots. Here’s how it works: the driver slows down while you shout out your destination; he keeps going if he doesn’t like it or picks you up if he does. He reserves the right to pick up other customers if their destination is on the way to yours. And while there may be legal surcharges that will raise your bill up to $5 beyond what’s on the meter (e.g., late-night or airport fees), drivers often name a ridiculous price beyond that. The situation is changing, with etiquette classes now mandated for taxi drivers, but slowly. The best solution is for your hotel to call you a cab, and if you have a good experience, get the driver’s card so you can call him for later use.

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