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How to avoid being ripped off by taxi drivers?
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gobbledygook



Joined: 18 Feb 2012

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:54 am    Post subject: How to avoid being ripped off by taxi drivers? Reply with quote

Hey guys,

I've just found an article from the KoreaTimes about Japanese tourists being conned by Korean taxi drivers. I know by reading here and there that (some) taxi drivers in Korea have a bad name, but since i'll be going to Korea very soon myself, I was wondering if you could offer any tips on how to avoid con drivers, and in the case where we are conned what would be the best response. Thanks in advance.


http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2012/02/117_105571.html
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coralreefer_1



Joined: 19 Jan 2009

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not that this will be any help to you being new in Korea, but knowing the correct pronunciation of where you want to go will do wonders. Romanized English of Korean words in many ways mutilates correct pronunciation. If you learn the Korean alphabet and the correct pronunciations and can say with confidence where you want to go, it will make you (or any other foreigner) seem much less like a FOB tourist or expat. (i.e....easy victim)..and cut down on drivers taking advantage of you.
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gobbledygook



Joined: 18 Feb 2012

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

haha the chances are that I will most likely to be treated as a FOB..Anyway, thanks for the advice.
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T-J



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Location: Seoul EunpyungGu Yeonsinnae

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


If you're coming to Korea, you will find the biggest taxi rip off in the country right off the bat.

The taxis at the Inchon airport.

They will try to gouge you for 80 or even 100 thousand Won for the ride into Seoul.

The secret is to find a Seoul taxi, should run you between 40 and 50 thousand. They are usually found toward the rear of the taxi que.

Enjoy your visit.
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northway



Joined: 05 Jul 2010

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

coralreefer_1 wrote:
Not that this will be any help to you being new in Korea, but knowing the correct pronunciation of where you want to go will do wonders. Romanized English of Korean words in many ways mutilates correct pronunciation. If you learn the Korean alphabet and the correct pronunciations and can say with confidence where you want to go, it will make you (or any other foreigner) seem much less like a FOB tourist or expat. (i.e....easy victim)..and cut down on drivers taking advantage of you.


This is key. I used to get ripped off all the time, but it almost never happens since my Korean improved to the point of making myself intelligible (except for the jackass last week who absolutely refused to turn on his card machine).
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FMPJ



Joined: 03 Jun 2008

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ten years, taxis twice a day pretty much the entire time, and I've never been ripped off. Two or three times the driver went the wrong way and screwed me out of a couple bucks, but that was arguably an honest mistake or perhaps very very feeble ripping off.
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tiger fancini



Joined: 21 Mar 2006
Location: Testicles for Eyes

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

northway wrote:
coralreefer_1 wrote:
Not that this will be any help to you being new in Korea, but knowing the correct pronunciation of where you want to go will do wonders. Romanized English of Korean words in many ways mutilates correct pronunciation. If you learn the Korean alphabet and the correct pronunciations and can say with confidence where you want to go, it will make you (or any other foreigner) seem much less like a FOB tourist or expat. (i.e....easy victim)..and cut down on drivers taking advantage of you.


This is key. I used to get ripped off all the time, but it almost never happens since my Korean improved to the point of making myself intelligible (except for the jackass last week who absolutely refused to turn on his card machine).


There are always exceptional cases, but if you can confidently say where you want to go, in Korean with half-decent pronunciation, then your chances of being ripped off will reduce significantly. I'm sure its the same in any country. If you look, and more importantly act, like an FOB foreigner who hasn't got a clue, then you are probably easy bait for taxi drivers looking to make a bit extra.
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Harpeau



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Location: In Hannam-dong, Seoul.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

T-J wrote:

If you're coming to Korea, you will find the biggest taxi rip off in the country right off the bat.

The taxis at the Inchon airport.

They will try to gouge you for 80 or even 100 thousand Won for the ride into Seoul.

The secret is to find a Seoul taxi, should run you between 40 and 50 thousand. They are usually found toward the rear of the taxi que.

Enjoy your visit.


Learn to recognise and differentiate between a Seoul and Gyunggido license plate.

Learn some cool phrases. Pretend that you are an actor and that you've been in Korea many times before.
Get in, smile and say ~ahnyong-hahsaeyoe with great confidence.
Make sure they turn the meter on.
Say where you want to go using the best pronunciation. Get a friend to help you who knows how to say it.
Get the written address in Korean and give it to the driver. They can punch it into their navigational system. That'll go a long way.
Cabbies have mostly been very cool with me.
Best of luck to you!
Have fun!!
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northway



Joined: 05 Jul 2010

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tiger fancini wrote:
There are always exceptional cases, but if you can confidently say where you want to go, in Korean with half-decent pronunciation, then your chances of being ripped off will reduce significantly. I'm sure its the same in any country. If you look, and more importantly act, like an FOB foreigner who hasn't got a clue, then you are probably easy bait for taxi drivers looking to make a bit extra.


Yeah, the situations I generally dealt with were ones where the drivers knew exactly where I wanted to go but could tell that my Korean was bad enough that I couldn't really protest when they took me on a very roundabout route to get there.

Harpeau wrote:
Learn to recognise and differentiate between a Seoul and Gyunggido license plate.


Alas, newer license plates did away with this distinction.
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Skippy



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: Daejeon

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generally if the taxi driver comes up to you in person out of the car you will be cheated.

Some taxi drivers hang out places like bus stations and train stations. They are usually long distance ones. They will haggle on price.

http://rokdrop.com/2007/06/23/seoul-cab-drivers-overcharging-foreigners/

For example I come from Seoul to Daejeon late and I want to go to the small town outside of Daejeon Gongju. It is late and getting a bus is a no. So some Korean guy asks where you want to go. You say Gongju. He says (pulling from air) 40,000 won. You are tired and thing fine. 40 minutes later the price changes from 40000 won to 60000. They will say the change is because of complications or a language mistake.

The other cheating taxi drivers will be the American military taxi drivers. But if you are ESL teach you will likely not have to deal with. Maybe might run into them a little around Seoul. But generally they will not take you. They are strictly to base or from base to someplace else. Some of those guys like to con I here.

In some of the big cities - there are Deluxe taxis. They are nice - cars cleaner, drivers more likely to speak English, bit of a better ride over all. BUT the price is more. I bet a few foreigners have jumped in one and found what they thought a cheap ride is twice the price.

http://lookatkorea.com/blog/korea/archives/deluxe-taxi/

Overall most taxi drivers have been fair here. I have had some bad rides.
1. The wrong way. 1 out of 20 rides are the wrong ways (Like Sincheon/Sinchon hassles in Seoul). You need to pay attention. You catch it soon enough and you will only loose a 1000.

2. The long way - intentional. Once in a hundred maybe I will get a taxi driver who just goes the long long way. I mean an almost U route.

3. The stupid way. This one is about 1 out of 10. Some drivers think they know a good route to my destination but will travel on major crowded roads, go through areas with traffic or many lights, take a route that takes a little out of the way. At the most might add an extra thousand to the fare

4. The slightly long way - unintentional. Similar to number 3, but just sometimes due to some lack of "THE KNOWLEDGE" they take some detors that a little time or money. Like going around an area rather then taking the not too crowded short cut.

An extra tip or two.

Sometimes if the fare is 100 or 200 won over the driver might not care. Consider returning the favor if the fare is 100 or 200 under.

Do the idiot check. Take 5 seconds and when you are out the door fully, turn around and check the back seat and floor. You can save your self at least 50,000 a year with this. I have almost left umbrella, gloves, groceries. Never mind the expensive stuff - phone, wallet or mp3 payer that slipped out of my pocket.

If you are woman and traveling alone - up the awareness a little. If you are uncomfortable - GET OUT. If paranoid a little take a photo of the license plate. At the least if traveling alone have your phone ready to dial. A good chunk of rapes of both Korean and Waygook has been by Taxi drivers. RAPE is not that common but you might get some skezzy behavior like are you RUSSIAN. Which means are you a *beep*.

Bigger cities and direction. You might find if you are in Seoul and you want to go a distance east from Central Seoul, you might find the driver saying no or driving off. Remember Seoul is a big city. Some drivers just might not be going that way. They may like to stay in a certain area. So you might want to learn to ask if the driver can take you first.

Cities and city limits. A strange example. Is I used to work in Daegu, but I wanted to go to a place that was a little outside the city in a sort of a bedroom community area. Distance wise maybe 2000 or 3000 won. But the place was outside the city limit and automatically a surcharge (I forget) of 2000 won would be added. That kind of situation might popup and people might feel they are being cheated. I think this is common in the Uijeongbu area.

Hope that helps.
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gobbledygook



Joined: 18 Feb 2012

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems scary.. Shocked esp when I read about this - bribery to the police when things happen... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-15369197
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nate1983



Joined: 30 Mar 2008

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skippy wrote:
Generally if the taxi driver comes up to you in person out of the car you will be cheated.

Some taxi drivers hang out places like bus stations and train stations. They are usually long distance ones. They will haggle on price.

http://rokdrop.com/2007/06/23/seoul-cab-drivers-overcharging-foreigners/

For example I come from Seoul to Daejeon late and I want to go to the small town outside of Daejeon Gongju. It is late and getting a bus is a no. So some Korean guy asks where you want to go. You say Gongju. He says (pulling from air) 40,000 won. You are tired and thing fine. 40 minutes later the price changes from 40000 won to 60000. They will say the change is because of complications or a language mistake.

The other cheating taxi drivers will be the American military taxi drivers. But if you are ESL teach you will likely not have to deal with. Maybe might run into them a little around Seoul. But generally they will not take you. They are strictly to base or from base to someplace else. Some of those guys like to con I here.

In some of the big cities - there are Deluxe taxis. They are nice - cars cleaner, drivers more likely to speak English, bit of a better ride over all. BUT the price is more. I bet a few foreigners have jumped in one and found what they thought a cheap ride is twice the price.

http://lookatkorea.com/blog/korea/archives/deluxe-taxi/

Overall most taxi drivers have been fair here. I have had some bad rides.
1. The wrong way. 1 out of 20 rides are the wrong ways (Like Sincheon/Sinchon hassles in Seoul). You need to pay attention. You catch it soon enough and you will only loose a 1000.

2. The long way - intentional. Once in a hundred maybe I will get a taxi driver who just goes the long long way. I mean an almost U route.

3. The stupid way. This one is about 1 out of 10. Some drivers think they know a good route to my destination but will travel on major crowded roads, go through areas with traffic or many lights, take a route that takes a little out of the way. At the most might add an extra thousand to the fare

4. The slightly long way - unintentional. Similar to number 3, but just sometimes due to some lack of "THE KNOWLEDGE" they take some detors that a little time or money. Like going around an area rather then taking the not too crowded short cut.

An extra tip or two.

Sometimes if the fare is 100 or 200 won over the driver might not care. Consider returning the favor if the fare is 100 or 200 under.

Do the idiot check. Take 5 seconds and when you are out the door fully, turn around and check the back seat and floor. You can save your self at least 50,000 a year with this. I have almost left umbrella, gloves, groceries. Never mind the expensive stuff - phone, wallet or mp3 payer that slipped out of my pocket.

If you are woman and traveling alone - up the awareness a little. If you are uncomfortable - GET OUT. If paranoid a little take a photo of the license plate. At the least if traveling alone have your phone ready to dial. A good chunk of rapes of both Korean and Waygook has been by Taxi drivers. RAPE is not that common but you might get some skezzy behavior like are you RUSSIAN. Which means are you a *beep*.

Bigger cities and direction. You might find if you are in Seoul and you want to go a distance east from Central Seoul, you might find the driver saying no or driving off. Remember Seoul is a big city. Some drivers just might not be going that way. They may like to stay in a certain area. So you might want to learn to ask if the driver can take you first.

Cities and city limits. A strange example. Is I used to work in Daegu, but I wanted to go to a place that was a little outside the city in a sort of a bedroom community area. Distance wise maybe 2000 or 3000 won. But the place was outside the city limit and automatically a surcharge (I forget) of 2000 won would be added. That kind of situation might popup and people might feel they are being cheated. I think this is common in the Uijeongbu area.

Hope that helps.


Great post. I only have experience with Seoul, but this seems right on. Besides guys coming up to me at the airport, most taxi drivers are quite honest (got my phone back the one time I lost it). I usually "tip up" the difference if it's within 400 won (unless I have change I'm looking to get rid of), I figure it helps their impression of foreigners at a pretty negligible cost...likewise I often have guys not care about it if it's 100 or 200 won over.

To answer the OP, probably the best way to not get ripped off is to speak Korean (with good pronunciation), as that's an immediate indication you're not a newbie and have your wits about you (and presumably, know how to get where you should be going). My accent isn't perfect but it's quite good, and I can tell taxi drivers pick up on that immediately when I greet them and say where I'm going, since they often engage me in conversation (just general stuff or ask which way I'd like to go). Being able to say destination names correctly is reason in itself to understand/have a good pronunciation of Hangeul.
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hossenfeffer



Joined: 07 Oct 2006

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been in Korea for several years now and have only been scammed twice by taxi drivers. The scam worked the same way both times. It was at night. The meter was around 12,000 won. I handed the taxi driver(s) 15,000 won from the backseat. The taxi driver quickly exchanged the 10,000 won note for a 1,000 won note and claimed that I made a mistake. This was NOT a mistake because both times I didn't have a 1,000 won note. The end result was that I had to pony up another 10,000 won note.

If this happens to you, take a picture of the taxi driver's information that is displayed above the glove box and have a Korean friend call the cab company to file a complaint.

To avoid this happening at all, pay with T-money or a credit card every time.

Has anyone else had a similar experience?


Hoss
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Ruthdes



Joined: 16 Oct 2008
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking decent taxi Korean is definitely a big must for avoiding rip offs, but I'm surprised that know one has specifically said having a good idea of where you are. Obviously, both of these things will take time to achieve, and you'll probably get ripped off a few times in the mean time, but a good sense of where you are is also useful for knowing when you're being taken the long route, or avoiding a misunderstanding like Shinchon/Shincheon, which I have been a victim of before (honest and understandable misunderstanding as we were in Yeoksam when we got in the cab, but wanted to go to Shinchon - and even now, four years later, with much more korean, I still have trouble distinguishing those pronunciations).

An example of why they both help was when my friend was coming to meet me in Yeoksam, but told the cab driver "Yooksam" mistakenly. Forty-five minutes later he ended up in Yeouido at the 63 building, and was so mad at the cab driver. When he finally got to Yeoksam another 30 minutes later and fuming, I wasn't very sympathetic, saying number one, he should learn how to pronounce Yeoksam correctly, and number two, didn't he realise he was going along the river for way too long to get to Yeoksam? But no, his Korean was as bad as his sense of direction. A mastery of either of these skills would have prevented him spending so much money and time being driven around Seoul, if not avoided the problem in the first place.

I have a good sense of direction, so knowing where I am is usually easy for me. The addition of my iPhone with Google maps has also been a god send for unfamiliar places. However even someone with a bad sense of direction can memorise their most common routes and local without too much trouble. Then it's just a matter of learning how to tell the taxi driver which way you want to be taken.

Taxi Korean is not hard to master. I had a passable grasp within a month, and a fairly respectable taxi lexicon after 3 months, and I'm no language genius. As was said before, learning to read helps a lot. I asked my Korean coworkers and other weigookin lots of questions about how to say certain stuff like "please stop at the traffic light", "please turn right at the next street" etc. It amazes me when I get into a cab with other weigookin who have been here for over a year and are still giving one or two word directions. Most taxi drivers are very friendly if you speak in full sentences to them, even if you can't then understand what they're saying back. As it was said above, some manners and a smile go a long way. You'll still run into the odd ahole, but for the most part, drivers are friendly.
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seoulsucker



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Location: The Land of the Hesitant Cutoff

PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ruthdes wrote:
Shinchon - and even now, four years later, with much more korean, I still have trouble distinguishing those pronunciations).


신촌 = Sinchon = Sheen-chone (rhymes with "phone") make sure you say Hongdae or Yonsei and they'll get it.

신천 = Sincheon = Sheen-chun (rhymes with "fun") make sure you say Jamsil and they'll get it.

Something that goes a LONG way with drivers is to use the honorific title 기사님 "Gee-sah neem" when addressing them.
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