Monday, 26 April 2010

Taxis in Israel - Costs (Part 3 in our Series about Taxis in Israel)

A taxi is known as a "Monit" in Hebrew. The reason it is called this, is because its main focus is on the Moneh – the counter, the meter. What makes a taxi a taxi is not the driver, the car or the company; it's the counter that turns this car into a business machine.

You are perfectly entitled to demand that the driver put this counter on. 

We're going to learn a little about the actual hiring of the taxi, the ride itself and the "after effects" and possible additional costs one might come up against at one of these points.

Imagine the following scenario:

You need to go from Yerushalayim to Tel Aviv. You call the taxi and hire by phone (and pay the extra 4 shekel as per our previous post) and he arrives. Keep in mind that his arriving could be on time, early or late! 

If he's early, he'll be eager to tell you so by hooting (blowing his horn) uncontrollably (don't worry, this is normal Israeli behaviour and may take some time getting used to). He is also a wizard with his cell-phone and wishing to show you his technological  prowess, he will be sure to call you from his own phone. You best be warned about this, because depending on the cab hired, you may find yourself paying extra for his having to have waited for you – though of course he arrived early. 

Those wishing to engage in battle with the driver are welcome to – it's old sport for most. But you best not try to get the winning hand – come what may. There are many uncomfortable scenarios that can be listed here for "non-understandable" situations between the cab driver and the client. Of course, he may be one of the "impatient" types, and after trying unsuccessfully to get your attention for too long (though it still be early!) he may drive off leaving you without your cab!

The driver may also arrive late… Don't forget about the Moneh – the meter! The thing is that his arriving late may not be bad if it's 2pm. But when you need a cab at 5pm, and he arrives at 5:15pm – this may result in being caught in even worse rush hour traffic. If you're paying by the meter, you're going to be paying a lot more now for the additional wait!

On these points regarding waiting, do keep in mind that when the meter is activated, the cab driver may do so the moment you come out to say hello. If you now run upstairs to collect something you may have forgotten, your cab will be happy to wait as the counter accumulates "points."

If the meter has not been chosen as a means of monitoring costs, once he arrives, you may be able to negotiate a price with him (if you haven't already done so.) 


The cab's arrived. You know what you're in for! Be prepared for a variety of circumstances that can add to your costs – from the taxi arriving early and charging so, to his waiting downstairs for you as you go up to fetch something! If he arrives late, don't forget, if it's now closer to peak-hour traffic and the meter is running, you'll be accumulating costs at an accelerating rate!

Stay tuned for a further post where we will compare the differences in cost between using the meter (Moneh) and arranging a fixed price before the journey begins. There are a number of other areas concerning costs that we'll be speaking about.

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