Barcelona’s taxis are easily spotted in their distinctive black and yellow livery and you can identify them when they’re vacant because of a green light in the front window or on the roof, especially useful at night when you can see them coming from several blocks.
All taxis are metered, with the current rates (January 2009) set at €0.82/kilometre and a minimum fare of €1.80, although this rate rises to €1.04/kilometre and a minimum fare of €1.90 between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. and all day Saturday and bank holidays can take pets for an additional €1.
However, they always seem to be in short supply when you want to get home on a Saturday night and in fact you’ll need to spend quite a time at a taxi rank during any night of the week, let alone flag one down on the street.
Taxi drivers have the following obligations to passengers:
- Start the meter at the beginning of the journey and stop it at the destination
- offer change of a €20 bank note
- issue a receipt including the date, license number, number plate, fiscal identity number and the amount charged
- accept people accompanied by a guide dog
Many drivers rely upon GPS systems to navigate and will not know immediately how to get to your destination. This can be a problem because Barcelona traffic planners change traffic directions fairly regularly and you may be directed the wrong way up one-way streets.
On the other hand, if you’re arriving in Barcelona by air or by train there are always no end of taxis waiting and I’m constantly amazed at the number of taxis sitting idle at Barcelona airport, simply waiting until they are given the go ahead to move towards the airport terminals and the taxi ranks.
A point of annoyance to many locals is that many – if not most – taxi drivers don’t speak Catalan, as they tend to originate either from outside Catalonia or from South America. This probably won’t affect you as long as you can make your destination understood, but be prepared for your taxi driver not to speak English. Locals don’t usually tip, but if you do want to tip 5-10 percent should suffice.
Barcelona airport transfers
The distance from the airport to central Barcelona is around 12 km and in addition to the regular metered taxi fare there is an airport supplement as well as a supplement for any baggage you carry. That said, if you’re arriving at the airport at a peak time, the taxis seem to disappear fast. Although you can guarantee a load more behind, it always seems to take forever for the queue to move forward.
At present (January 2009) the airport fees amount to a €3.10 supplement and €1 per item of baggage, which the taxi driver will assist you with. The metered fare is €0.82/kilometre, with the minimum from the airport set at €15.