Fiumicino airport's taxi prices really are a scam
ROME -- Nine taxi drivers have been found to be part of rip-off scheme operating from Rome’s Fiumicino airport and taking new arrivals into town. These drivers had devised a system in which they would be always be the first in line to be called, then would hike up the prices for unwitting tourists, using a remote controlled system linked to the taxi metre.
Aerial border police operating in the Fiumicino area were alerted when a woman was thrown out with her luggage by the side of the busy motorway and forced to walk back to the airport to find another taxi. She had disagreed with the driver on his prices, protesting the respect of the law which states that the fixed airport charge can only be used for the journey from Fiumicino to within the Aurealian walls, otherwise the metre should be used to calculate the cost of the voyage.
Through the investigation it became clear that ‘transponders’ placed within the car regulate when a vehicle has arrived into the airport area, and therefore who should be the next in line to take a passenger, with short journeys where the driver returns within 20 minutes or the trip is cancelled not losing the driver’s place in the queue. The dishonest taxi drivers, however, passed the transponder between them making at least 10 consecutive entrances in the 20 minutes, therefore gaining more work than their honest counterparts.
In one of the investigated cars a small electronic device, similar to a remote control, which allowed the driver to alter the cost of the journey by interacting with the meter, was discovered.
With 114 reports of violations of the Highway Code, and the seizure of 14 transponders and one car, the drivers face fines of up to 195 thousand euros.