Adventures by Taxi in Budapest

Max Taxi BudapestThe presence of the so called taxi mafia in Budapest has got to a point where it’s so strong it seems only an urban legend, but they are there and they are more difficult to get rid of than what many had thought previously. If there’s one thing you can say about this phenomenon and Budapest itself also: things can always get worse. The best example is a new star that has just appeared on the dark sky of corruption, this flagship of the mafia called Maxtaxi. Unfortunately we’re compelled to write about this once more. Here’s another new enterprise that strives on scams against tourists in large numbers, virtually everywhere in the city centre. As far as we know, Maxtaxi employs really effective and aggressive tactics: it uses intimidation and violence to force other cab companies out from the areas that get the most business. All the big shopping malls, all busy hubs, nightclub areas… now they all belong to them. Of course that’s where most foreign tourists are, so it’s easy for them to fall victim to Maxtaxi. In our experience, casualties are many. Just a couple of days ago for example, we got an angry letter from a reader, who told us what happened to him. He had just left Kyoto (a Japanese restaurant near Chain Bridge) and was to go to a club he had previously looked up on the internet. Unfortunately he chose Maxtaxi to get him there, because a car was waiting outside the restaurant. The driver told him, however, that his bosses wouldn’t let him take passengers to that specific club, because allegedly there had been many complaints about it, and of course the driver claimed to know a much better place, which was supposed to be honest, cheap and wonderful. Please take note: if you ever hear an opinion like this from a taxi driver in the future, you must insist on the club you have chosen or even better, get right out of the cab, because this is a surefire signal that you’re about to get scammed. To continue our reader’s story, his fate was decided when he accepted the club recommended by Maxtaxi. For one round of drinks the price was EUR 400 and there was also an embarrassing situation when at first they tried to resist and not pay.

So what does Maxtaxi do?

They are so aggressive and violent, they force everyone else out of all downtown taxi stations. They won’t let other cab companies use the stations, or if another taxi comes to the station, they employ physical violence to get them to leave. We’ve been informed there’s a criminal group behind all this. Since in this way they are the only ones who have access to basically all tourists visiting the city centre, they can take all of them exclusively to clubs, restaurants, etc. where nothing else is going on but scams, frauds and theft. Of course from the profit of these crimes, Maxtaxi gets its share as well.

The phenomenon is hardly new. Unfortunately taxi companies contracted by hotels have been doing the same for ages. We’ve written many articles about this. What has happened? Nothing. The situation is only getting worse.
We are determined, however, never to give up, and if we need to, we’ll write a thousand articles until the police and other authorities wake up, smell the coffee and do something about this. Who’s profiting from this on a city or state level is a mystery. Little else could be done to cause even more harm to the city’s image and in general to the entire tourism industry of the capital or even the country.

But even if politicians are unable to act, we’re here to warn all tourist about to visit Hungary, never to choose Maxtaxi. If you want to keep your money safe, choose a different company, because not all companies are as corrupt as Maxtaxi.

Should you have a related story, please, tell us!

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