Belgrade Airport to combat unlicensed taxis

NEWS FLASH


The Serbian Ministry for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure has announced it will remove all unlicensed taxi drivers offering services in the airport’s arrivals area upon the completion of the new central processor facility (pictured), at the start of summer 2023. Highly aggressive unlicensed taxi drivers who prey on foreigners unaware of standard taxi rates have been a long-running issue at the airport. The airport provides a taxi booth from which licensed taxi drivers are called up to pick up passengers. However, this has not deterred unauthorised taxis from trying to lure passengers by asking them if they need a ride in the arrivals hall. The Serbian Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Goran Vesić, noted, “We will resolve the taxi issue at the airport once and for all. This is a major problem and brings shame on Belgrade and the entire country. There will no longer be a group of criminals who threaten and harass legitimate taxi drivers”, Mr Vesić said.

Comments

  1. Anonymous10:37

    I cant believe they can not handle this for decades. If there is desire, this could be resolved within a week, literally.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:39

      It's wild west after one steps out of the airport building, as if one lands in Istanbul!

      Delete
    2. Every single Airport around the World has this issue , especially in Noryh Ameroca . In Toronto they are pulling your arm to get yiu into the cab so not sure why you believe this just exist at the BEG Airport.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11:39

      Bucharest as well

      Delete
    4. Anonymous11:48

      LaneHotLane there could be people pulling your arm everywhere in the world but if you reject them you should be fine. That's where the similarity between Belgrade and Toronto airport ends. I Belgrade regular taxi will refuse rhe voucher or metered ride or ask for more than one passenger to go on a combined ride. Nothing like that will happen in Toronto. They have separate areas for a limo fixed price per zone, separate rideshare and separate regular city cab that will always use the metered price.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous11:49

      I live in Vancouver, and it’s not the case. As you come to the taxi zone, you note that the taxi vehicles are lined up like children in the physical education (PE) class, and nobody gets the client until the dispatch person assigns the client to them. No way there can be a chaos.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous11:51

      "In Belgrade regular taxi will refuse rhe voucher or metered ride or ask for more than one passenger to go on a combined ride."

      This really isn't true at all.

      Delete
    7. Vlad11:55

      It really is. Three licenced taxis refused to take me to the city centre with a voucher on my visit in September, only the fourth one accepted. We're talking about the regular taxi line/station, not the divljaci.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous11:59

      That is true in BEG, happened to me. I also had taxi driver once on a highway point to the meter that was stuck and asked for a higher fixed price to my destination. I refused it as I took the same route many times before but naive riders would get screwed. Driver probably had a hidden switch to freeze the meter so he can do this over and over.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous12:31

      I mean people why don't you simply call any Taxi association (simply google it) after you land and ask for a taxi to pick you up close to NIS petrol station?

      You won't bother with vouchers and wild taxis and you will always have metered ride.

      Delete
    10. Vlad12:47

      Most foreigners that land at BEG can't speak Serbian nor do they want to pay the extortionate roaming fees for calling a Serbian number from Serbia on a foreign SIM card. Although I agree that your method would work for me, I'll try it out tonight after I land :)

      Delete
    11. Anonymous12:54

      Taxi operators do speak English so language barrier is not a problem.
      Calling taxi for 1-2 min would cost much less than paying wild taxi ride or voucher.

      Delete
    12. Anonymous13:16

      Wow, so I have to know the location of NIS station when I land in BEG for the first time? That's amazing, I thought people should know about Kalemegdan, St.Sava church but no, my dear friend, the first thing to know is NIS petrol station. Wow, what a solution this is, amazing.

      Delete
    13. Anonymous13:33

      It is 150m "far" from the airport and you can simply google it.

      If you don't want to use that advise you are free to go with vouchers or wild taxi drivers.

      Good luck.

      Delete
    14. Anonymous14:30

      Anon 12:31 why don't you simply call any Taxi association (simply google it) after you land and ask for a taxi to pick you up close to NIS petrol station

      Because that's not what people do at other medium/large airports in Europe. It is expected and customary to have organized taxi line outside the terminal and to have safe, licensed, metered ride EVERY time.

      Delete
    15. Anonymous14:33

      I'm local so I know where's NIS. I just think that's not the solution, but the tribute to the criminal activity.

      Delete
    16. Anonymous14:47

      FCO's illegal taxi drivers are also horrible.

      Delete
    17. Anonymous15:03

      Why would you use illegal taxi at FCO when legal taxi works perfectly fine? Not to mention express train, regional train etc...

      Delete
    18. Anonymous15:13

      Anon 14:30

      I agree it is not the proper way, but we are talking here about the solution for the problem that exists for decades. It is not perfect solution, but it works and saves a lot of money.

      Real solution must come from authorities, but we have been missing it for ages.

      In the meanwhile you are free to use vouchers that cost almost double more.

      Delete
    19. Anonymous17:40

      Calling taxi to NIS gas station is not the solution. It only makes it worse, as the only solution is to fix the problem at the regular taxi line outside the terminal.

      Delete
    20. Anonymous18:12

      Maybe not for you..
      For someone else it is.

      Delete
    21. Anonymous18:39

      It is not the solution for taxi companies and regular taxi drivers that are waiting outside the terminal. It is only a "solution" for illegal taxi drivers.

      Delete
    22. Anonymous19:54

      You are very wrong.

      It is solution for regular taxi drivers that wait outside the terminal as they get called by operator to take over the customer.

      Illegal taxi drivers have nothing to do with it.

      Delete
    23. Anonymous21:04

      Comical. Try telling that to airport authorities in the West, how they should close the taxi stand right in front of the terminal and instead ask passengers to call the taxi and walk 150m with all the bags, kids, cart etc to the gas station to get the taxi? That's the solution? Insane!

      Solution for all the sane people is to fix the taxi operations right outside the terminal.

      Delete
    24. Anonymous05:35

      I actually work at YYZ for many years and funny enough for the airport authority. The "scoopers" as we call them are regularly banned from the terminals and legal proceedings are taken against them. No one is going to pull your arm and physically drag to you the parking garage unless you are really stupid to do so, since Taxis signs are right outside each terminal with clearly marked airport authorized vehicles which all have to be within certain standards with licences clearly displayed on each vehicle. Also, there are multiple signs on all exit points of the terminals stating to use only airport authorized taxis and limos. Yes, there will be always "scoopers" however as I said, you really have to be spaced out not to figure out that this is not right, especially if someone is taking you to a sketchy spot in a passenger parking garage with unmarked vehicle and a driver without any labels or markings as well. At that point, if you don't realize you are being scammed, you kind of deserve to be scammed. So no, it's not the same at Toronto Airport and no, you cannot compare the wild west of BEG to YYZ.

      Delete
    25. Anonymous05:38

      Simple solution is to apply the process like in many North American airports, have a designated dispatching area for authorized vehicles from a compound with BEG authorized additional taxi plates on the side of the car and parking ground operations team who will be in charge of the ground taxi operation. There must be an oversight from a ground transportation team dedicated to these processes.

      Delete
    26. Anonymous08:20

      Anon 21:04
      I am not saying it to anyone in the West as very often passengers on their airports have to walk much longer than 150 m to find a taxi taking in consideration the sizes of the airports.

      So, once again, if you did not understnad. This is not the perfect solution, but it is at the moment acceptable until the authorities do not find any better...and they have been searching for it for decades.

      And I am glad you understood this way of calling taxis helps only regular taxi drivers.

      Delete
    27. Anonymous10:21

      It's a cultural thing. Zagreb doesn't have that problem, Vienna, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Munich, Brussels... don't have it either. It's a cultural thing, just like in Istanbul for example.

      Delete
    28. Anonymous18:35

      Anon 08:20 your mindset is dead wrong: "it is at the moment acceptable until the authorities do not find any better". It is not acceptable and will never be acceptable. Point is to help passengers and those taxi drivers that play by the rules - lining up in front of the terminal, accepting vouchers, not hacking their meters etc. If needed, make taxi drivers register for biometric (fingerprint, face recognition) access to taxi ramp, record their vehicles and licenses and bring 10-15 policeman from day one to enforce rules and project power, not just one or two.

      Delete
    29. Anonymous18:58

      You simply don't get it no matter how many times I explained you.

      Discussion pointless.

      Delete
    30. Anonymous20:40

      Where in the civilized world airports have no organized taxi queue outside terminal arrivals but are asking passengers to call taxi and walk to petrol station 150m away? You don't get it.

      Delete
  2. Vlad10:45

    This is fantastic news and I really hope to see it implemented as soon as possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:50

      Could have happened decades ago, but nobody can be bothered with the rule of law.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:22

      News are not implemented,decisions are.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous10:49

    Finally!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous10:55

    Well, when I land anywhere in the world I am approached by someone offering a taxi ride and know I shouldn’t fall for it. I think much bigger problem and disgrace are the official taxis in Ljubljana airport charing legally tripple rate from the airport and no other taxi is allowed to compete with them. Every tourist complains about a 80eur taxi ride to ljubljana :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vlad11:57

      Also true, happened to me on my first visit. I was too trusting of all the stories of how Slovenia is the West compared to the Balkans and I didn't bother to prebook transportation. Luckily it was a work trip :)

      Delete
    2. Anonymous20:42

      Slovenia might be a Westernized country, but the Taxi drivers are not. Most of them are from the South (Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia)

      Delete
    3. Anonymous21:59

      Taxi drivers don't make the law, the country does.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:04

      Wow casual xenophobia.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous10:59

    Far from it that I'm defending anyone but this isn't such an uncommon thing around the world. At JFK there are constant announcements in the arrivals hall not to accept a ride from anyone. In Doha and Dubai I was also offered rides in the arrivals hall by rogue taxi drivers. The good thing is that BEG has put up signage as early as the passport control to go to the taxi booth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:19

      The bad thing is it doesn't always have someone inside and the vouchers are not always accepted. But those are minor issues compared to JFK.

      Delete
  6. Anonymous10:59

    I must comment that the building looks great and especially the signage on it! As far as for taxi mafia I ma sure that they will somehow persist and find a way to continue doing what they have been doing for decades. By the way where are located the regular taxis that accept the vouchers? Every time I landed I was dragged but some standing taxi driver who offered me a ride for the same price as the voucher drivers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:05

      This is the first time the government has acknowledged the taxi problem and I am 100% certain that it is VINCI's request. They didn't pay almost a billion euro concession to have unlicensed taxi drivers roaming the arrivals hall. So I'm actually pretty certain they will actually deal with the problem. For foreigners money, the government will do anything.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:13

      The major problem is that the police is aligned with the mafia (of course for some bakshish).

      Delete
    3. JATBEGMEL13:04

      @11,13

      I couldn't agree more. The illegal taxis work right in front of police, not just at the airport but around Belgrade as well. Nothing will change until the authorities crack down on the illegal taxis and regular taxis not following the law.

      @11,05

      I'm not as optimistic but I hope that I am wrong.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous14:58

      JATBEGMEL this is where we disagree. I am optimistic as concessionaire is eager to have this resolved once and for all. Taxi location has been moved around due to construction but once new terminal extension is open, taxi location will always be in the same place. Many measures can be enforced: multiple HD cameras to capture license plates and taxi licenses of every vehicle, police cars parked outside all the time, ramps with card access to taxi lane (you can't enter it unless you are a licensed driver with a card that matches your license plate and taxi license), private airport security staff maintaining waiting queue and monitoring taxi drivers refusing rides, large and well-lit voucher zone maps in multiple languages etc.

      Delete
    5. JATBEGMEL17:56

      @14,58

      The concessionaire can have all the will it wants, at the end of the day it comes down to authorities to crack down on it, which is why I am pessimistic. I think this will just push illegal taxi drivers to be a bit more creative however little if anything will change. Parked police cars provide no benefit if those illegal taxis are working together with police, considering they openly operate in front of them, and not just at the airport.

      Talk about reducing illegal taxis has been going on for over 10 years. With the implementation of new number plates, TX code was added so as to identify taxi vehicles. This I believed was going to be a large enough change to fix the problem, and that still wasn't enough. Special stickers for taxis were to be implemented for vehicles meeting the standards to operate at the airport, central bus station etc. Nothing changed even though it has been talked about for years (at least 10).

      Serbia has problems implementing the rule of law. Good luck with your optimism and I honestly hope that things do change for the better. This is one of those 'ill believe it when I see it' scenarios unfortunately.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous18:33

      Would it cost more to have zero-tolerance heavy police presence or to have millions knocked off concession fee government is expected to receive?

      Delete
    7. Anonymous19:45

      JATBEGMEL Serbia has no problems implementing rule of law at that same airport prohibiting dangerous items in hand baggage or allowing immigrants into Serbia without visas. Serbia would face serious consequences if they did.

      All you need to fix the taxi problem is a painful consequence for the government if they don't.

      Delete
    8. JATBEGMEL23:23

      @19,45

      Certain things just have to be done, its not entirely anarchy in Serbia. But problems with the rule of law is a known fact.

      Serbia doesn't allow visitors requiring visas for entry to enter Serbia without a visa. The problem is Serbia allowing 'high risk of overstaying' nationalities visa free entry into Serbia, only for those 'tourists' to head for the northern borders in search of asylum. If it wasn't a problem, Serbia wouldn't have reintroduced visas for Iranians, or recently Tunisians and Burundians, with India next to follow. Europe is removing borders, while Hungary built a razor wired border fence on the Serbian border to curb illegal crossings. Not to mention that recent talks with Hungary and Austria got us some assistance to finance the repatriation of denied asylum seekers that crossed in from Serbia. So yeah, we do have some consequences on that front since you mentioned it.

      Failing to curb illegal taxis does have consequences for us, as they are obviously not paying taxes which regular taxis do, they leave unpleasant experiences to our guests while negatively presenting our country to foreigners. After all, we want foreigners to feel safe and welcome when visiting our country and not attacked at the airport the moment they enter the arrivals hall.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous10:07

      Serbia was forced to reintorduce those visas by a power that has financial leverege (EU). Luckily latest EU polls shows support is dropping due to these blackmails.

      Delete
  7. Anonymous11:09

    Also they can make a contract with taxi companies like CarGo or Yandex Go, the fares are transparent even before the ride depending on someone's final destination.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:10

      Car:Go is crazy expensive, to the point where it's more expensive than a regular taxi. What started as an interesting idea and a company that disrupted the market ended up being the victim of its own success, with original founders leaving the company recently. Tells you everything you need to know. It was good while it lasted, I'll stick to Yandex and the rest of the regular companies for the time being, and so should you.

      Delete
  8. Anonymous11:11

    I arrive at BEG almost 6 times a year and they keep changing the taxi stand and rules. A few months ago it took me 25 minutes after I exited the airport to find a taxi that wasn't part of the taxi mafia. I still ended up paying 2,600 RSD to get to Vojvoda Stepe. I couldn't get a CarGo to come to the airport at the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:40

      You understand you got a 20 km ride for 22 euros in a European capital? What would you expect, a rickshaw for 5 rupees?!

      Delete
    2. Vlad12:00

      A metered drive to Vojvode Stepe doesn't cost 2600 RSD. Stop justifying thievery.

      BTW, if you're going to compare taxi prices at European capitals, try Sofia. Similar living standard, less than half the cost for a taxi compared to Belgrade.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous12:10

      Sofia has a metro.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous13:23

      Sorry but 2600 RSD for that drive is not that much. You'll pay at least 20-30 bucks at the most airports in Europe. That's fair price and there are some busses that can drive you for as low as 0.8 eur. I don't have issue with these prices but with the uncertainty that you'll have any other option but illegal taxi which is really bad.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous13:58

      Just Vesic. Three times laying bricks for republic square, two times rupture pipes in queen marija street and you expect Coban from Jastrebac will fight BGD Taxi. Yes.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous16:54

      Since a lot of above people are comparing price of taxi in Belgrade and Europe, be reminded about average salary here. Also, taxi price is FIXED at 1800 to Zone 1 (majority of the city)

      Delete
    7. Anonymous17:50

      Problem is not the fixed price, problem is caused by illegal taxi drivers using fake taxi sign and license, refusing vouchers, forcing other people to share the ride, refusing to use taxi meter or worse, to use fake/tampered meter, threatening passengers. Those are real problems.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous21:47

      a1 departs from slavija, stops at old train station, fontana and heads to the airport.

      Delete
  9. Anonymous13:58

    They MUST make an airport bus shuttle every 15-20 minutes. Anything else is stupid.
    Its true that taxi drivers in cooperation with "communal police" refuse the voucher, but that is not 100% of the time. If you ask 2-3 of the drivers someone will take you. The problem is that they target middle east or african immigrants, take a lot of the money and usually rob them and leave them on the side of the road. If they complain, they can get beaten up. This is a thing I heard from SEVERAL legal taxi drivers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous14:37

      Not only, but it seems they are scamming Indians as well. This guy shares his experience being robbed by taxis at the airport. The young boy gives him good advice:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUZLb96wXhU&t=10s

      Delete
    2. Anonymous15:40

      @anon 13:58
      There were Jat buses from Slavija back in the days. It's good idea to have shuttle bus if there is no metro or train to the airport. An that GSP line is pathetic.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous15:48

      There is a shuttle bus. It's called A1 and departs every 30 minutes during peak times and every hour during off peak times. It costs just 300 dinars (you pay the driver and get a receipt) and it goes directly to/from Slavija square with a stop at the main bus station. This A1 line has existed 15 years now. I'm surprised you don't know about it.

      Delete
    4. JATBEGMEL18:01

      @15,48

      A1 used to stop at the old central train station, not the bus station. For the past few years this isn't the case. The only stop it has is Fontana in Novi Beograd.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous18:13

      I use A1 often and it does stop at the bus station just to pick up or let off people.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous22:48

      A1 bus does not work for years already.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous23:16

      Stop spreading lies! I used it 9 days ago!!

      Delete
  10. Anonymous14:46

    I hope they really do something about this... But I usually use the A1 mini bus to Slavija Square... Gets there fast and the price is something like 5 EUR

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:46

      A1 is needed and great if it works for you. But it's useless if you live far away from Slavija. Going from airport to Banovci or Novi Beograd Block 45 means A1 is not your solution. Taxi station must exist at the airport and must be controlled and functional.

      Delete
  11. Anonymous18:30

    How can you detect if a taxi driver is fake or not? Is there a fixed price per km written anywhere and also how can you know if the taximeter is working?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous18:32

      By their car license plate. If they don't have "TX" as the last two letters on their car plate, they are not licensed as taxis and are fake.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous18:52

      Ah, thanks for the info. Hopefully one will be able to see them at night.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous22:03

      Someone being a legal taxi driver with TX doesn't mean they won't try to rip you off though

      Delete
  12. Anonymous22:47

    Just install CarGo app and it works like Uber. Thats it. You are safe. I am from Belgrade and would rather walk back home from airport than give wild divljaci taxis the fare they ask for.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous23:25

    As someone already said the issue is not just wild taxis. A lot of licensed taxi drivers will refuse to drive you for the price that's written on the voucher with excuses like "that is the minimum price for your destination it will be more because of this and that" or "that price is per person" etc
    Or even just straight up refuse to dive you if they see you are local.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous23:38

    I don't understand why people even use taxis to get to/from airport.
    I always do my research in advance and know how to get from the airport to the place I need to be, no matter the country or language.
    Taxi drivers are annoying everywhere in the world, not just BEG.
    Until the renovations are done, there can't be done much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous05:44

      Well that's you, what about some old grandma coming from diaspora who travels once every 10 years? She would have no idea how to "research" this or that. There must be an oversight from the BEG Airport Authority with a whole new process set-up along with legal penalties actually applied and followed through for the "divljake".

      Delete
  15. Anonymous05:01

    For at least a year before Covid situation was very good I must say - and I traveled often - you had voucher and then the proper taxi line in front - sure there were occasionally guys trying to grab you by your arm - but as long as everything is properly and clearly marked where you get Taxi, service is quick (you don't have to wait for 5 minutes on a booth that looks like from hell and person there doesn't speak good English), and you have line of taxis where you can use the voucher, there should be literally no problem with illegal fares and hand pulling.

    Then Covid came, and organization of this completely failed - booth was not open - and illegals just swamped the place. Then, with the works Vinci is moving taxis all over the place, and there is no more control on what taxi can access "taxi waiting line". During nights you only have illegal ones, etc. etc. Plus, with the way that traffic works now around the airport, several regular drivers told me that they avoid the airport as much as possible.

    To be really honest, I think that current issue is created by Vinci - and someone in charge not being properly informed/aware on how easily the mess with taxis can escalate - or just not caring at the moment (or having a deal with them). Now when it's a complete mess, it probably got escalated high enough that Vinci is putting pressure on the city.

    I was recently in Bangkok, and they have pretty cool system where you have several taxi kiosks - you select the service you want, and it prints you out a ticket and taxi number. That's easy to implement, works 24/7, and can be in multiple languages. Done deal.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous09:32

    The taxi booth at the arrivals DOES NOT call up taxi drivers to pick up passengers. They just give you a voucher. The problem is that the majority of the taxi drivers simply refuse to take you to the city centre for 2200 dinars expecting a long(er) and more expensive drive. It happened to me twice: in August and now in December. Regular taxi drivers should be OBLIGED to accept the voucher.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:24

      Yes, there should be a system which bans taxis from entering the airport if they refuse a ride and that will be the biggest issue. Banning wild ones is not that hard.

      Delete
  17. Anonymous12:57

    In Summer was the first time I flew to Serbia from LHR The check in staff were excellent friendly and helpful, with baggage, unfotunately they said the flight has been delayed, ok by two hours eventuallygot the plane peckish they handed a small biscuite after arriving Belgrade it was late and I had an early start the next morning, my accommodation was not far from the airport about 3km I was alone tired, got taxi the airport driver took me like through the car park next building work didn't look Good I just wanted get to my accommodation, got in the car and saw the meter thete was traffic watch meter go up around 3500-3800 RZD i felt I really got stung i had use euro as I no more local currency!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous12:58

    And bottle of water on the flight too can't forget that!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous13:03

    I was s'to stressed and only had few hours to sleep as my flight was at 7am to Moscow, my bags were already at the airport got there 3am security wouldn't let go through until after 4am sat in cafe area reading my book the saw a long line got there far too early too but I didn't know that so not much sleep.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous14:18

    I don't know what this "voucher" many people are talking about is exactly? Can someone please elaborate?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:01

      On exit you get a voucher at the airport desk and it has a fixed price for part of the town you are going. Taxi driver is obliged to take it and charge you only that amount. Some taxi drivers refuse tho.

      Delete

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