Getting around Madrid by Taxi
Taxis in Madrid are white with a diagonal red band on their front door bearing the emblem of the city. They have a green light that is on when they are free. To hail a taxi all you need to do is raise your hand.
There are also several taxi ranks around the city, indicated by a blue sign with a white letter ‘T’. Taxis must be taken from the corresponding ranks at railway and bus stations and at the airport. Throughout the rest of the city, they can be easily stopped on the street.
With over 15,000 taxis in Madrid, finding a free one on any of the city’s main thoroughfares is rarely difficult. All vehicles accept payment by credit card and can also be paid in cash (taxi drivers are required to have coins in sufficient quantity to facilitate change to the user up to the amount of 20 euros). It should be noted that some taxis have wifi service available to passengers.
Some taxis are equipped with car seats so you can travel with small children. If you book a taxi in advance, you must inform the taxi company that you require a seat in the car. Small pets can travel at the discretion of the driver, although travelling with guide dogs is always permitted.
There is a fixed airport transfer of 30 euros, which applies 24 hours a day every day of the year for services to and from the airport and to or from the area inside the M-30 ring road. If you are in a hurry, it’s better to get a taxi that has priority when driving through certain streets, such as access to the departures areas of the airport.
Fares are based on a price per kilometre and a price per hour, which is applied alternately depending on the speed of traffic. Zone A applies to the city of Madrid and Zone B to the rest of the region.
The following rates are applicable:
- Journey Commencement (minimum fare): 2. 50 € Monday to Friday from 6 am to 9 pm; 3.15 € Saturday and Sunday and at other times.
The fare is based on a price per kilometre and a price per hour, which is applied alternately depending on the speed of traffic.
Monday to Friday (not holiday)
7 am to 9 pm
All other days and times
- Day-time hourly rate: 23,75 € (from 7 am to 9 pm).
- Night-time hourly rate: 27 € (from 9 pm to 7 am).
- For services booked electronically, a minimum fare of 5 € in Zone A and 8 € in Zone B will be charged to get to the passenger pick-up point.
Surcharges or special rates
- Special Rate on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and Three Kings’ Night (trips ending between 9 pm and 6 am on the following day): 6.70 €.
- Journeys departing from Train (Atocha, Chamartín) and Coach Stations (Avenida de América and Sur Méndez Álvaro), and from the IFEMA MADRID fairgrounds: 7.50 €.
Fixed Airport Rate
Journeys between the airport and the inner M30 area, or vice versa, including those reserved electronically, are subject to a fixed rate of 30€. This fixed rate is exempt from all surcharges, including the maximum surcharge for services reserved electronically, providing the passenger is at the pick-up point at the agreed time.
At the same time, applications such as Free Now (mytaxi) have begun to work with closed rates on all routes.
Madrid City Council makes the official application TXMAD (App Store / Google Play) available to travellers and professionals in the sector to provide information of interest on the Madrid taxi service.
There are various private taxi companies you can ring to order a taxi, although you need to bear in mind that the metre will be turned on as soon as the driver starts heading towards your location. There are also mobile apps available, however, that will only start charging you once you get into the taxi.
- Free Now (mytaxi) – Telephone: +34 902 050 570
- Join Up Taxi – Telephone: +34 915 331 464
- Tele Taxi – Telephone: +34 913 712 131
- pidetaxi – Telephone: +34 915 478 200
- TxMAD – Telephone: +34 914 04 33 24
Taxis in Spain | Money Saver Spain
Everyone has a tale about being ripped off by a taxi driver when they visit a foreign country, however when you live permanently abroad you may be targeted too. Read our tips on how to avoid pitfalls and what your consumer rights are.
Municipal Taxis – Your Rights
It goes without saying that you should only use legally licensed taxis. They are subject to regulation regarding pricing and safety, you are also protected both regarding your consumer rights and in the unfortunate case of an accident.
Taxis in Spain have different colours depending on the city where they are located. All are clearly marked and inside there’s a card with the driver details and taxi license number.
All taxis must have current tariffs and supplements clearly visible, on the rear windows or behind the front seats. Additionally the taximeter must be in view of the passengers and not hidden away.
Most taxi drivers are able to provide a printed receipt, whilst others will complete a blank template, both must show the license number. You have a legal right to request a receipt, and will need one in case of any claim for overcharging. All taxi drivers must also carry official claims forms. Before you leave the taxi make sure you note down the taxi license number, date, time of day and the route taken.
Passengers have a right to choose the route they wish to take, check on Google Maps before you travel.
Municipal Taxis – The Cost
The meter moves according to distance, not speed, but the meter also ticks over during traffic jams and at traffic lights. Drivers can charge for waiting time, if you book a taxi to pick you up don’t keep the driver waiting!
Many regions include an initial cost plus the distance travelled. Some also fix a minimum fare regardless of how far you travel. Night tariffs can be expensive, at around 30% more.
If you want to make a longer journey, for example between two towns, this is fixed by regional authorities and covers the whole cost of the trip for the taxi driver.
Going to or from the airport or train station is sometimes subject to a supplement, depending on the city. This can be confusing as it can result in different costs depending on where the trip originates, once again these supplements appear on the list of tariffs inside the taxi.
A fixed price is charged in Madrid for trips from the airport to the city centre in order to avoid tourists and business travellers from paying over the odds.
Taxi Apps in Spain
Use one of these two apps, available for Android and iPhone:
- Free Now
- Pide Taxi
Remember that for these apps to work, you’ll need to have your GPS location activated.
There have been lots of issues with Uber since they launched in Spain. As of April 2018 Uber covers Madrid, Barcelona with more cities coming soon. Just download the Uber app, register and request a car for your route, the app will show the price. You’ll need to register your credit card details also (no prepaid cards) for charging fares automatically.
Cabify is present in more cities than Uber: Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Seville and Valencia. Get a quote online via the website with the following options (where available):
- With child seat
- Wheelchair access
- Eco-friendly option
- Group (6 passengers)
In Spain you’ll have to reserve 6 hours before travel time. Download the Cabify app and register, include your payment details (credit card or PayPal).
Related post: Official Claims Forms in Spain
Taxi. Spain in Russian – all about life in Spain
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In Spain, every city has its own taxi. In large cities, taxi cars are decorated in the same style, and belonging to different commercial companies is determined only by documents. In towns with a population of up to fifty thousand people, private entrepreneurs who have received a license for this type of activity are more often engaged in carting. You can call them by phone, and the number will be prompted in any bar or hotel in the city. In Barcelona today there are about 20 cooperatives and different types of cabbie associations. But there are also “loners” who prefer to search for passengers on their own without the help of a dispatch service. Outwardly, their cars are no different, and these differences are purely organizational and paper. In Barcelona, taxi cars are painted bright yellow and black and have a fare indicator on the roof. If the green light is on, wave your hand, the car will drive up to you by itself. By the way, now in Spain it is forbidden to smoke in a taxi. But, if you are dying from withdrawal and the body does not have the strength to wait, ask the taxi driver for permission, perhaps he is also a smoker and will take pity on his brother in misfortune. It is also important not to know that in Spain only four people are allowed to be transported by taxi, regardless of their age. It doesn’t matter to the police that your child is “not yet two years old”, it doesn’t matter, according to the rules, he is considered a full-fledged passenger. If a taxi driver puts a fifth person in the car, it is against the law and he risks his license.
Little tricks for a passenger who does not want to overpay:
- Look at the counter when boarding, there, on a weekday, there should not be more than 2 euros “with a penny.” More can be only if the car was ordered by phone. There are three tariffs in a taxi, with the same digital names. The “first” tariff is night, holiday and weekend. Its action begins daily at eight in the evening and on weekdays ends in the morning. And on non-working days, the “first” tariff is charged around the clock. “Second” tariff for ordinary working days. It is the most economical in relation to the city center. The “third” tariff is used for out-of-town trips, it is more beneficial for the passenger in terms of minutes/kilometers while traveling on freeways. Do not be surprised at the additional costs that the taxi driver adds upon delivery or departure from the airport, railway station or seaport. “Dachshund” for a special flight will be from two to five euros. By law, you may be required to pay a few coins over the bill on the taximeter and for carrying luggage in the trunk, a dog or a stroller. The exact rates for additional costs are usually indicated on a sticker placed on top of the glass of the rear doors of the car.
- Speak the address clearly and distinctly, it is even better to show your travel destination on the map with your finger. For those who do not speak Spanish, a good solution is to give the driver the address written in block letters on paper. Many older drivers play the tricky game “ke-ke” (que, que?). Hoarse quacking is literally translated as “what – what?”, But, in fact, taxi drivers rarely understand the passenger. Wincing and asking again is their bad manner to rise above the client and, while he is discouraged by rudeness, an occasion to give a little “round” in the center so that the counter turns out 3-4 euros more expensive. Treat the poor fellows condescendingly – they have a hard, sedentary job that disrupts the work of the psyche, so for the most part they are all unhappy in their own way. To win the game “KE-KE”, you need to have some patience, good diction and a detailed map of the area. For tourists who want to avoid such meetings, we recommend calling a Russian-speaking guide with a car.
- If you are not in a hurry, and you are far away from taking a taxi, then wait for the exact car that you like. The taxi fleet is quite shabby, and you will have to pay the same price for a ride in a 2010 Mercedes 300 or in a Seat with failed seats from the era of the dictator Franco.
Read more about how to order a taxi in one of the most popular tourist cities in Spain in the article “How to order a taxi in Barcelona”.
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Taxi or Uber and Cabify: which is cheaper?. Spain in Russian
Spain’s taxi sector breathed a sigh of relief after the Supreme Court’s decision was announced to limit the issuance of VTC (car rental with driver) licenses operated by Uber and Cabify. The “invasion” of competitors from the collaborative economy caused a real panic among taxi drivers, and the court decision helped reduce tension and smooth out the conflict.
The fixed price of the VTC service, often lower than the cost of a taxi, has become a real problem for the latter. However, are Uber and Cabify always cheaper than taxis? A study by travel price comparison company Chipi found that this is not the case, as the final cost depends on many factors: traffic, day of the week, time of day, distance, trip duration, minimum fares, and demand.
According to the company, which analyzed more than 18,000 trips, the main factor influencing the pricing of Uber and Cabify services is demand, not the length of the trip, as many believe. The law of supply and demand works here: the more in demand the direction is, the fewer cars are available, and the higher the price. If we talk about the time of day, the peak of demand for VTC services is observed in the early morning and around six in the evening on weekdays, as well as late in the evening and at night on weekends.
The study analyzed three types of trips: short, medium and long distances, including transfers to the airport. In Madrid, a short trip (for example, from Ponzano Street to Alonso Martínez Square, 1.2 km) will cost an average of €4.66 for a taxi and €5.91 for a VTC car. Thus, for short trips, it is more profitable to use a taxi.
On the other hand, for medium distances (2 to 10 km), taxi services are more expensive than VTC transport services: €8.