Taxi Meters

Post by Mark

Something weird has been happening with me and cabs recently and I’m having a hard time understanding the logic behind it. Years ago on the blog I complained about how cabs weren’t using the meters and instead charging whatever they wanted even though the meters would result in a cheaper rate. So for example a ride might cost 800fils based on the meter but the cab would tell he wants KD1.5 for the trip. They basically made more money not following the meter which they are required by law.

Recently though the price of fuel was increased and along with that the taxi meter rates. But I don’t think cab drivers themselves have increased their rates.

This past month I’ve had to use a cab twice, and both times I was quoted a lower price by the driver than the meter eventually read. So first time the cab driver told me the ride would cost me KD2, I got in, he started the meter and by the time we got to the destination, the meter read KD2.6, but I just paid KD2. The second time I was quoted KD2.5 and the meter at the end of the trip read KD2.9. So I’m really confused, if they use the meter which they are supposed to by law, they get more money. So why are they not using it? I don’t get the logic here.

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30 comments, add your own...

  1. m says:

    because they’re stupid i guess lol

  2. Ethan says:

    They also charge 1 or 1.5 for rides that should cost .500

  3. Riba says:

    I have noticed the same, but didn’t complain. :)

  4. Masel says:

    The reason is that some taxi meters were updated with a new price, some not. updated meters have 0.600 starting price, old ones 0.350. I take a taxi everyday, same destination, my ride costs 0.800 KD with old meters, and 1.200 with updated. I pay the driver just 1 KD no matter which meter they have in order no to argue with them.

  5. Shayne says:

    It is because people refrain from taking a cab tht uses a metre which eventually will be higher than the price quoted. The cab drivers need to earn their daily living so they will look for alternatives. However the cab drivers sumtimes quote higher than the metre which is wrng. The law needs to be stringent wherever you go , only the metre reading should be followed.

  6. Kuwait says:

    Because they might be your blog readers and are expecting a free ride in the Lotus perhaps

    • k says:

      yeah i wanted to ask him if i could take the lotus for a spin but i decided against it, i think i’d need a couple hours just to get in to it.

  7. WI says:

    Seem they are getting more from short distances, and also following what the rest of the guyes charge for the same destination.

    As they dont calculate the wait time and the distance, its the area and the price, that already set.

    • Dan_inKuwait says:

      This was common in Thailand as well… Taxi drivers refusing longer-distance rides in order to stay in one area for more short-time fares.

  8. Ahmed says:

    Taxi already expensive in Kuwait as it is.

  9. Adel says:

    Same happened with me a month ago, I took a taxi from Shuikh area to Salwa and the meter reading was around 5.600 Kd but the driver asked for 3 KD only.

    • Brian says:

      I hate dealing with the taxis here. As an American, we get taken advantage of the most by these guys. A fare from Avenues to egaila is quoted at 5kd and can usually haggled down to about 2.5kd depending on traffic.

      I really don’t understand the taxi drivers here either. They would probably make more money in the long run if they just used the meter 100% of the time.

      Of course I just take the bus anyway, too cheap for a taxi.

  10. Momo says:

    I think they just turn the meter on so maybe at the end of the day, their manager can see how many kms they drove. I was out of Kuwait for a while and when i came back i noticed how they now started proposing using the meter, but since they are sneaky they will only propose it for long distance rides but not for anything short distance.

  11. Alphanso says:

    Price depend on which taxi u take, The yellow ones are cheaper. The call taxi (car can be any color) are much higher.

  12. JamesJ says:

    Me and My buddy, we took a Taxi in separate occasion but same way, he’s Kuwaiti, we go to same area from avenues, I was charged 3k.d. he was charged 5k.d.

  13. My View says:

    Logic :

    1. The Driver also wants to go same place (Or may be his transport to pickup somebody) so he might be taken for less Price, so you are lucky.

    2. They Charge double the price because may be they want to return empty while they drop.

  14. Hamza Arif says:

    I asked a driver of the taxi himself, He told me that the most of the customers refuse to pay by the meter, as they are aware the meter will end up costing more. So, they charge them the usual price, same as before the fuel price hike. The customers are used to negotiating, they don’t care about the meter and/or the fuel price hike.

  15. D C says:

    I can explain this as I have been living in Kuwait for all my life (over thirty years) and don’t have a car till now.

    The taxi meters weren’t updated since the past twelve years(or more) until recent. So before the update, the taxi guys used to say the meter charges weren’t sufficient to meet their expenses. Their expenses being rent, fuel, tires and spares(which have to be changed quite often) and daily payment to their owning company which ranges from KD 5 to KD 9. The last mentioned expenses is in direct violation of human rights as they have to pay for everyday including Fridays, even if their car has been confiscated by the police for 10 days or if it is in the garage. So if you paid 750 fils for a ride from Salmiya to city, it would definitely not meet their expenses, let alone be profitable.

    So after twelve years when they increased the fares, they didn’t increase in par with the salaries of the general public. Now people who use taxis are the ones who have low salaries or don’t have the ridiculous requirements for a driving license.And the taxi guys know the salaries are the same as it was 12 years back even though inflation has happened gradually but again not in par with the salaries. For example, the starting salary of a graduate twelve years back was from KD 250 to KD 350 and in 2017 it’s still the same. So if they start charging the fares as per meter, no one will even look at a cab. The majority of the people who use cabs are storekeepers, waiters,nurses, low salaried office workers and are of south Asian, Filipinos, Egyptian and African nationalities.

  16. GoogleIt says:

    Before getting a car I used to ride taxis all the time to and from the uni, one day I stopped a taxi and asked the driver how much does he want? He literally replied with: “do you want me to tell you the fare’s price or my own price?” I told him I wanted his own price and he said 2KD and I said ok, when I got to the uni the meter was like 2.5 so I asked him why did he do that and he didn’t just say anything and let me pay the whole 2.5KD, he told me that currently they play with the meter and tweak it a little bit so that if you decide to go with the meter it’d actually be higher than the actual fare, that way you’d just agree on paying whatever they want without negotiating.

  17. Sam says:

    The meters are not the same in all the cabs. some drivers spoiled their meters to count more money. Many drivers told me that.
    And they keep this to use when there’s a problem with the customer or a fight around the money.
    Another thing, that there are two types of cabs with two different meters prices.

  18. Laersen says:

    Recently I got fooled by a Malayalee cabbie. I asked him how much it would cost me reach South Surra, a trip which would cost me normally 2.5 KD from Salmiya. He said he would charge me according to the meter to which I happily hopped in thinking it would be cheaper to what I normally pay. By the time I reached there, the meter displayed 4 KD to which i bargained and paid him 3.5 KD. I guess they manipulate with the meter settings. I urge people to bargain first rather than going according to the meter as it would save you a lot more of your buck.

  19. raihan says:

    yea happened with me also
    from al kout beach to maidan hawalli the driver told 4 kd and every 10 mins the meter went 1 kd up eventually the meter was showing 12 kd till i reached home

  20. 123 says:

    on longer routes if they use the meter they make money but on shorter ones the meter doesn’t help them too much. hence they just quote a price either u take it or leave it or bargain. the meter starts at 0.350 fils or something so going to Fahaheel etc would benefit the taxi guys.

  21. Hozz says:

    who still uses cabs !? try this app “q8 grand limo”

  22. Meshx86 says:

    You should try Jordan sometime, Taxi drivers honk the horn to bump the meter a couple more pennies lol

  23. M3T4L says:

    I had used a taxi recently when my car was being serviced, after almost 10 years of not getting into one.

    The scenario happened as I hopped in one taxi from the service center to my home. I have turned several taxis before the taxi that agreed, because I was stubborn and refused to pay if not “by the meter”. I eventually ended up paying 950 files (they were quoting 1.5 and 2 KD).

    Now on the journey back several hours later, I turned a few taxis down for the same reason. Then came along this driver who saw me turning down the driver in front of him, and told me it is better to pay 2 KD than the meter. I was like NO, I had just paid less than a KD for the same trip in the morning, so he accepted my challenge and I hopped in. The meter read 2.8 KD on arrival. The taxi driver said there is a switch that most drivers can use in their meters which accelerates the meter reading, and next time I should go with their quote as a better alternative.

    Both drivers in both cases mentioned they were on the new meters policy, but they keep their tricks nonetheless. I hope I never have to use one again anytime soon, the whole ride/smell/music/chat/cleanliness experience is a disgrace.

    Question here, where are the sudden/undercover checks by the authorities ? and what is the use of having a new meter if it easily tampered with ?

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