In my 3 or so years living in Thailand, I have had a rigged Bangkok taxi meter 4 times (less than 1% of all taxis).
Twice at Suvarnabhumi Airport, once outside Ekkamai Gateway and another outside the Muse Hotel. All common places to find tourists. Just a few days ago I landed at Suvarnabhumi Airport and thought I’d be clever by going to departures to find a non-scammy Bangkok taxi driver.
Pro-tip: Going to departures also saves you the 50 baht service fee that you would otherwise be paying at arrivals.
Anyway, I hail over a cab Fresh Prince style as I noticed he just dropped off a family. He seemed friendly enough and I put my shit in the truck. Just to let you know, about 12 hours earlier I ingested 6g of Xanax ahead of my long 12 hour flight.
The taxi driver asked me:
“You want to use the toll way?”
In a non Xanax induced state, I would have said uw0tm8? Followed by if he’d kindly like to park up by the side of the road to literally go fuck himself.
However, I will still drowsy and said:
Sure thing Boss.
I pop in my sim card and instantly log on to Thai Friendly (as you do), when I see the meter was already at 49 baht and we had driven less than 1km.
I thought maybe I got it wrong and the Xanax was affecting me, but the meter was shooting up faster than a New York crack whore. In perfect and correct tonal Thai I said:
“The meter is incorrect, please take the next convenient u-turn and take me back to the airport kind driver.”
At this point he knew the gig was up, turned off the rigged taxi meter and asked me what I wanted to pay. I didn’t want to piss this guy off as the last thing I want is to get in a fight with a Bangkok taxi driver. I tell him 200 baht (I expected the meter to be 250 bhat~) and he agreed.
Not a single word was spoken for the rest of the journey. I went back to playing on my mobile phone.
I feel entitled to be respected by scammy bangkok taxis
If you have lived here for any length of time, you probably get annoyed when a taxi driver refuses take you, uses a rigged meter or asks you to pay 3-4x the price. I am a
sexpat expat – I deserved respect!
Don’t get me wrong, around 99% of all Bangkok taxi drivers will always use the meter (outside tourist areas such as Soi Cowyboy and Nana Plaza, Route 66 and other Bangkok nightclubs), and offer great value for money.
I do however get annoyed that they mistake me for a fool.Or maybe my ego is too big or my anus too sensitive that I feel farangs should be treated better?
My other two Bangkok taxi scam experiences
The other time was outside the Muse hotel, I suspect the taxi driver waits for tourists to target. He agreed to take us to where we wanted and since I was meeting old friends, I didn’t even glance at the meter. Less than 1km later it had reached 55 baht and I knew he was scamming us. I got out, we paid and left it at that.
The other time was outside Ekkamai Gateway, the same thing happened, we got out and paid 57 baht.
When I get in a rigged Bangkok taxi, I will always pay the fare to save any problems or fights. 50-100 baht is not worth getting beaten up for. What are you experiences with bangkok taxi scams or rigged taxi meters in Thailand?