Amsterdam is served by a number of taxi companies, alongside independent taxi drivers, with quality and service ranging from excellent to ‘never again.’
Amsterdam taxi rates (cab fares) are among the highest in Europe, if not the world. Taxi companies can set their own rates, within certain legal limits.
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ViaVan is an on-demand ridesharing taxi service. It has proven to be very popular in New York City, and is now available in Amsterdam, London and Berlin as well.
The DutchAmsterdam team members regularly ride with ViaVan. Just as with Uber, you order your ride via an app.
ViaVan charges less than Uber. The trade-off is the possibility that you may share your ride with other parties. If that is not your thing, you can also order a private ride, at a slightly higher rate.
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As in any other city, there are plenty of taxi horror stories. Some unscrupulous taxi drivers either refuse short drives, or literally take their customers for a ride — taking the longest possible routes and charging outrageous fees.
Matter of fact, Amsterdam taxi service ranks very poorly in European tests.
In recent years the Dutch government has tried to clean up the taxi industry with mixed results.
Travel guide books suggest you select your cab with care — and they correctly point out that at a taxi rank you do not have to take the first taxi in line.
Many Amsterdam locals prefer to simply use taxis from Taxi Centrale Amsterdam (TCA) — though more and more people switch to Uber. Why pay extra?
In Amsterdam every taxi must have:
- Blue license plates
- A price list visible from both inside and outside the taxi
- A taxi driver’s pass on the dashboard
While Amsterdam has an excellent, fine-mazed public transport system, the folks behind DutchAmsterdam use Uber whenever we need a taxi.
Uber in Amsterdam is legal and efficient. The app works well, the drivers are friendly and helpful, and we get places at about half of what we’d normally spend in a ‘regular’ taxi.
That’s right, Uber is approximately 50% cheaper than traditional taxi services.
How to recognize the fast taxis
Only those taxis displaying an exemption card (photograph 4) may use the tram and bus lanes. This card must be clearly visible, inside on the passenger side of the front windscreen.
The taxis that may use the tram and bus lanes have the advantage of being able to get you to your destination faster than those which are excluded from the tram and bus lanes.
The exemption card also serves as a guarantee that the taxi driver knows the city. In order to qualify for the card, taxi drivers must pass an exam in which their knowledge of the city (including streets, routes and alternative routes) is extensively tested.
Hailing a taxi cab
• You may hail a taxi in the street. However, there are many places in the inner city where no stopping is permitted. This includes the bus and tram lanes.
• You can order a taxi by calling 777 7777 (7×7) TCA, which connects you to Taxi Centrale Amsterdam — the largest taxi base in Amsterdam. TCA works with fixed rates and qualified drivers. There are no call out charges.
• Alternatively, walk to one of the many taxi ranks in the city (e.g. at Central Station, Dam Square, Rembrandtplein, or Leidseplein). You do not have to take the first cab in line. We recommend you select a TCA cab. Note: taxi drivers are not allowed to refuse short trips.
Amsterdam’s taxis are among the most expensive in Europe. Mind you, taxi drivers can set their meters at different rates, so it sometimes pays to check various taxis at a rank for the best deal. Again, you don’t have to take the first cab in the queue.
The 30-minute ride between Schiphol Airport and Downtown Amsterdam will set you back about €45. By comparison, the 30-minute train ride from inside Schiphol Airport’s main hall to downtown’s Amsterdam Central Station costs €4.20 (2nd class) or €7.10 (1st class).