MEDELLIN - ANTIOQUIA, COLOMBIA
There are about two dozen taxi companies with Taxi Stands interspersed throughout Medellin and the adjoining cities. All taxis use meters which when cleared will display the STANDARD MINIMUM FARE. As you get in the cab, check and make sure that the meter has been cleared and shows the minimum fare. If not, remind the driver to clear the meter.
If you find a driver that you are comfortable with, and you want to repeat the experience, ask for his/her business card. Get the cards from 3 or so drivers. Put their numbers and names in your cell. Now, it's almost like having your own private chuffers!
PERSONAL SAFETY WHEN USING TAXIS
No matter the CITY or COUNTRY your in.....remain alert.
Occurrences of theft or kidnapping of passengers can be held to a minimum if you remain alert and use common sense.
1. It's best if you or a friend phone the taxi company direct. Or, have the hotel where you are staying, phone. The taxi company will tell you the number of the taxi that they will dispatch to pick you up. When the taxi arrives, compare the numbers for a match. If the numbers are not the same, wave the driver on. DO NOT GET IN THE CAB. Call for another.
2. Be more alert when you hail a cab from the street, especially if you are near a bank, disco, bar, nightclub, expensive store, high end shopping center, etc. or when it's past 10 p.m.
Scenario: Before midnight, you could catch a cab: the bad guy driver quickly stops the cab and in jumps bad guy #2 with a gun or knife at your throat. Act calm, say nothing, and do as you are told. Number 2 demands your wallet. The driver pulls into the first ATM machine, uses your credit and bank cards plus the PIN numbers which you wisely gave him and makes the maximum withdrawal for each card. The bad guys may know of a nearby, but different company ATM's that will permit more withdrawals, so off the three of you go. At midnight, ATM machines permit new withdrawals, so you, in your wet pants, watch as the withdrawals are repeated. Hoping you won't quickly contact your credit or bankcard companies, the bad guys keep your cards for future withdrawals. Your cash, watch, rings, cell, etc. are taken. On a dark street, with the cab lights out (so you can't see the license or cab number) your pushed out of the cab.
TIP: Carry at least the equalivant of $50 U.S. with you at all time. You don't want the bad guys to get mad at you. Don't wear expensive jewelry, rings, watches, etc. Remember this when traveling: bad guys seldom mess with backpackers!
TIP: If your in a taxi that makes a sudden stop in the middle of no where, don't look around to find out why....quickly slam down all the door locks-then look for the reason of the sudden stop. OR, you be the judge. Perhaps a better idea would be to quickly get out of the cab and run!
Scenario: Become an actor. You hail an approaching cab. Immediately start talking (pretend talk) into your cell or just your closed hand (phones are mighty small these days). As the driver pulls up....back up a few steps and noticeably talk into your hand (or cell) repeating the TAXI NUMBER which is painted on the sides and back of all taxis. IMPORTANT. DON'T FORGET FINISH THE ACTING SCENE: Before you walk toward the cab put your (cell or no-cell) hand, back into your pocket and get in the cab. You may never know, but this little bit of Oscar Award bit of acting could have turned a "bad guy" into a nice taxi driver.
TIP: Act like you know: where you are, what you are doing, and where you are going. Look like you belong, and not like a "tourist". Smile, be sure, step lively, don't look around, pause, fumble or act confused.
TIP: Older drivers or female drivers (there are a few) usually cause fewer problems than young males who may have a habit, owe lots of money, or have more than one woman on the string???
The above info. probably applies to your hometown as well....especially if your from a big multi-million population area?