Foreign correspondents in Italy highlight problems with taxis at Rome airports.
Taxi drivers have been in the news in Italy recently due to protests against the government's competition bill over claims that it would lead to the expansion of ride-hailing operators such as Uber.
In Rome, however, there is increasing scrutiny on the nefarious activities of some cab drivers operating out of the city's two international airports, Fiumicino and Ciampino.
The problem of tourists being ripped off by unscrupulous taxi drivers at Rome's airports is not new but is under renewed focus after being highlighted by two leading foreign correspondents based in Italy.
On Tuesday night Mark Lowen of the BBC took to Twitter to complain after a visiting friend was told by a taxi driver that the fare from Fiumicino to the centre of Rome was €70, despite it being a fixed rate of €50.
The driver also demanded to be paid in cash, claiming his credit card machine was broken, as well as saying he had no internet and therefore no GPS.
Taxi at Fiumicino picking up a friend visiting. First claims it’s 70€ to central Rome (it’s 50). Then says credit card machine isn’t working, so only cash. Then says he has no internet (it “recharges at midnight”) so has no GPS. Benvenuto a Roma.— Mark Lowen (@marklowen) July 26, 2022
By Wednesday morning Lowen's tweet had been shared hundreds of times, with many people tagging the city's mayor Roberto Gualtieri.
Last month another foreign correspondent and long-term Rome resident published a "brief thread on the disgraceful taxi situation at Rome's Ciampino airport".
Gavin Jones of Reuters returned from London late on 28 June and sought a taxi to get home, a relatively short trip which should have cost about €20, he wrote on Twitter.
BRIEF THREAD ON THE DISGRACEFUL TAXI SITUATION AT ROME’S CIAMPINO AIRPORT: Yesterday evening I arrived late at Ciampino from London. You come out of the airport and there is nowhere obvious to queue for a taxi. People just mill around in various groups, hoping that one of— gavin jones (@gavinjones10) June 28, 2022
The journalist was refused outright by the first driver while Jones turned down another taxi driver after being quoted a fare double what it should have been.
"Eventually one said he’d take me home for 25 euros. I hopped in to find 3 other people in the taxi, with whom he’d made similar arrangements" - Jones wrote - "So that was at least 25 euros from each of us, giving him a probable take of about 100 euros. He never turned the metre on, of course."
The reporters' tweets prompted others to recount their unpleasant experiences as tourists arriving into the Italian capital and have led to calls for Rome's mayor to address the long-running problem with rogue taxi drivers operating out of the city's airports.
Photo credit: Nataliya Pylayeva / Shutterstock.com.