Taxi scams

Despite recent attempts by the Budapest municipality to regulate taxi services in the city, some taxi swindlers still manage to rip off unsuspecting tourists, especially at the East and West railway stations (Keleti Pályaudvar or Nyugati Pályaudvar). No need to worry at the airport, as the rogue taxi drivers are literally not allowed to set a foot on the ground there. Some may try it, but as long as you book a taxi through the official taxi service desk at the airport, you will pay a reasonable fixed price to be taken into the city.

Budapest-taxi-scamsBudapest has an extensive and cheap public transportation system, with buses, trams and metro lines across the city. Only use a taxi service if it’s the easiest and quickest way to reach your destination, and don’t get into a taxi with just a sign on the roof, but no other indications of an official licensed taxi.

Before the regulations of 2013, each taxi company was allowed to set its own tariff structure, which resulted in tourists being ripped off by some of these companies. Nowadays, the licensed taxi’s in the city are easily recognizable from their yellow color and the taxi sign on their roof. They have to abide by a predetermined rate system, with the prices clearly indicated outside and inside the car. They are obligated to use their taxi meter at all times. Still, some may take advantage of tourists unfamiliar with the city infrastructure to take a longer route to the destination. The most reliable companies are City Taxi (+36-1.211.1111), Budapest Taxi (+36-1.777.7777) and taxi (+36-1.222.2222).

It’s never a good idea to ask a taxi driver for a recommendation on restaurants and bars, as they are likely to take you to a place that pays them a commission for every customer they bring, and these are generally not the best nor the least expensive establishments. Instead, they recover the commission paid by charging their customers outrageously high prices.

Find experiences from real victims or post your own story in our Budapest and Hungary Tourist Scams Forum.


  1. Well, silly me. Got scammed today. I took 15,000 ft from a teller machine at the baths near Heroes square. So clearly a 10,000 ft note and a 5,000 ft note. Got a cab at the kerb and went back to the Marriott by the river. Meter read 4,950 ft. I handed the dude (grey, long hair btw) the 5,000 note and he did a sleight of hand apparently and says I only gave him 500 ft. I didn’t quite get it, my wife says you only gave him 500, and I was like oh ok here the 10,000 note. As it turns out, she was only translating what she heard him say where I thought she had seen the note I gave him. Anyway he gives me a 5000 note back. Turns out we were going to Gundel restaurant for dinner, just across from the baths so we got a cab there… Only 2,500 ft. I paid by credit card. Then got a can back later, it was only 1,950 ft this time and I handed him the 5,000 note I got from the earlier driver, and this guy says I need florist- the 5,000 was one of these Indonesian things. SOB. Ok, only like $50 in total for what should have been at worst a $10 cab ride, but …
    So, beware the scam and if you see a grey long haired dude driving your cab, pass him a false note or do a runner on him for me please. Pity, we had such a good time otherwise in Budapest.

    • Michael Fong says:

      Taxi scams are still going on. I have just caught a taxi from the Chain Bridge to the Hotel Mercure Korona, a distance of around 2km. Got charged 5,000 forints. Googled what the fare should have been when I got back to the hotel – around 1,100 forints.

      Certainly put a very bad taste in the mouth, bad enough for me to decide that I will not be visiting Budapest again.

  2. There is an app for checking taxi fees:

  3. Jordan Budding says:

    …..same happened to me and my wife….2km taxi ride (6-7 minutes) cost us 5000 desptr it clearly detailing cost on the taxi door and window. It should have been c.1200. No compromise with these guys either, you question it and they simply shrug their shoulders.

  4. Taxi scam main train station. Go for a taxi and another man approaches showing a card “with zones” saying your hotel is in zone whatever and the charge is 7,500Fo -zone 1. Like at some airports. No such thing. Point to sticker on cab window 260Fo per km. Insist on meter use and make sure it doesn’t go round like a slot machine.

    • Got scammed from the train station to the Intercontinental. I had no idea of what’s going on. The guy showed me the card and asked 25 Euros or 7500 forins for the ride. 1st hour in Budapest and being ripped off. Obviously, nothing being done to fix the issue, reading all these posts. My mistake that I did not check before landing here. Frustrating and obviously I wont be back in a city so corrupt. They should be kicked out of the EU.

  5. Craig Johnson says:

    Had a five minute trip in one of Budapests taxis & charged us 9000 forint, when i questioned the price, he insisted he was correct!!
    Even dressed in a shirt & tie, mentioned something about weekend rate!!
    Lovely city, but…. the taxi situation leaves me thinking we won’t be back.

  6. Same scam today with us. Gave him 10,000, says I gave him 1000. Also overcharged a 3000 fare as 6450. Terrible. These thugs give Budapest a bad reputation.

  7. Vinit mehta says:

    We were scammed by a taxi driver who charged 6000 forint for a distance of 1 km. From our hotel Eurostars Citi enter Budapest. This city is very nice to look at but the. Taxi guys are not controlled.. and they do not want. Uber….

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