Taxis are omnipresent in Belgrade and using them is a convenient way to navigate through the city.
Though not cheap they are affordable, especially if more persons are sharing a ride.
Hailing a passing taxi or ordering it by the phone should be easy excluding the afternoon rush hour (3-6pm) or in bad weather,
above all in rain which Belgraders don’t like at all.
There are many taxi associations in Belgrade, but there is little difference between them, the main one being the quality of their cars. Since there is no regulation how a taxi should look they come in all shapes and sizes, but all of them have a sign with a logo of their association on the roof. This sign is lit if the vehicle is available. They should also have a uniform blue sign with a white four digit serial number for all the taxis in Belgrade. The latter is not strictly observed in all occasions but should not necessarily be considered as dangerous – the key thing is that you're being driven by the meter. Nevertheless, if you have a choice, go for those with both signs.
The meter should be visible, but don't be surprised to many of its variations. Currently (November 2012), the start in any taxi at any time of the day is 170 dinars. There are three tariffs that should be appropriately used and the list with all the fares should be visible to you, usually in the co-driver's seat. The first one (marked with "1" on the meter) is used for day rides, i.e. from 6am to 10pm hours and at the time charges 65din per kilometer. The second one ("2" on the meter) is used for the night rides (10pm-6am) and is 85din/km. The third tariff ("3") is applied for the intercity rides and costs 130din/km. The hour of waiting in any time of the day is 150din for all zones.
As a way of tipping, it is customary to round up the sum (for instance, from 560 to 600din), but you can decline on doing this if you’re not satisfied with the service. Taxi drivers are not obliged to issue a bill but if you're expenses are refunded, or for any other reason, you may ask for it – Molim Vas i račun ("The bill as well, please").
The passenger is allowed to have luggage up to 20kg of weight or up to 50kg in total if there are more persons. If your luggage exceeds this, you will be asked to add around 100 dinars to the cost of your ride. Since there is no way to establish the exact weight of a bag many of the taxi drivers will ask for this sum, or negotiate a similar one, for any larger bag. Thus,if you have considerable amount of luggage with you should ask before the ride if you will be charged additionally.
To order a taxi, call the association of your choice, state the address you start from and the one you're going to and wait for the operator to give you the number of the cab and the estimated time of the arrival (usually 2-3 minutes during day and 3-5 in the night). The meter is switched on only when you enter the vehicle. Calling a taxi for a very short drive is not recommended since the drivers may decline the ride. In such a case you should hail a cab in the street.
If there are no taxis in the streets (or none available), which is rarely a case, walk to one of the taxi ranks (taksi stajalište). In city center you will find them in Studentski trg, Trg republike, Terazije, Makedonska Street, Zeleni venac, Slavija or the Church of St Mark. Outside of the centre you will find one at each prominent intersection.
All the taxi drivers should in theory speak some English and know all the streets by heart, but this is not always the case. In order to avoid unpleasant misunderstandings be sure that he or she understands you and knows where the street of your destination is.
One should avoid the "sharks" waiting at the airport, bus and the train station. Though not necessarily a bad sign, one should avoid those who advertise their services aloud and try to pick you up. All taxis in Belgrade have a license plate with 4-digits, ending always with the letters TX. A sure sign is that the meter is not turned on. In order to avoid it use the phrase po taksimetru? ("by the meter?") and make sure you agree on that before getting in the car. If you're not sure about the taxis standing in front of the station just walk away to the street and hail the first available one that comes along. Despite all these warnings, visitors to Belgrade do have many horror stories about being bullied to pay large fares by taxi drivers. The most usual way to overcharge the foreigner is to drive him on a longer route, but this, if intended, is almost impossible to prove. If you think you're being fleeced you are allowed to leave the vehicle at any time provided you pay the sum displayed at the meter. Use the phrase Stanite ovde, molim ("Stop here please").
Exactly because of the overcharging incidents the city fathers have introduced a system of fixed fares for taxi rides from Belgrade airport. To get yourself a taxi go to the "Taxi Info" stall at the Arrivals; state the address you are going to in order to receive a voucher with a price you ought to pay. This price does not vary with the number of people onboard and includes your entire luggage. For locations in the city center the ride costs 2,000din. With this voucher you should go to the taxi line in front of the airport building, present it to the driver, enjoy your ride and pay for it at the end.
Maximum four persons (plus the driver) are allowed in a taxi.
The pets are allowed in the vehicle by driver's consent.
A TIP: Since the meters are set both on the mileage and the time spent in the taxi (that is, the meter ticks even if you're not moving) it is not wise to use a taxi if you know that the road (usually one of the bridges) is congested. If you get stuck close to your destination just use the phrase u redu je ovde ("here’s fine") and pay the bill.
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