Catch Me If You Can
It might not be rocket science, but there are a few tricks here and there that can make your life easier when trying to hail a cab in Argentina’s capital city.
First things first, you want to be able to identify cabs. Luckily for you, the black and yellow cars are easy to spot and you can flag one down at almost every corner.
Before you wave down your cab, you want to make sure that the sign that reads “LIBRE” (free) is lit in red. Otherwise, it means they have other passengers or aren’t in service. When in doubt, just give it a shot. Beware of traffic and hold your hand out waist-high, that should do the trick. Try to pick a location where the cab will have some space to stop safely.
Hint: stay away from the bus stops.
If you’re feeling a bit too comfy, the other option is to call a RadioTaxi to pick you up from your location. There are several companies, we will provide you with a list of options so that you can call from your Home and have them pick you up right there.
For the more tech savvy, apps like Easy Taxi and Safer Taxi are also good alternatives on the rise. You will need to sign up, but there is no need to fill in any credit card information. You can pay for the ride in cash just as any regular taxi.
As for Uber, even though the company is trying to make its way into Buenos Aires, there is still a lot of pushback and not too many units available, so it might be a bit more complicated to get a car.
Once on the cab, it is time for directions. It helps to tell the driver the intersection of the streets rather than the exact address. “Vamos hasta Malabia y Nicaragua” (We’re going to Malabia and Nicaragua) instead of “Nicaragua 4500”.
If you don’t feel particularly confident with your Spanish, you can always write down where you’re going on a piece of paper and show it to the driver. A “Por favor” (please) never hurts.
So, you are now comfortably sitting in the back of the cab and ready to go. You want to make sure the driver has turned on the meter. The meter should start at around ARS 20 pesos (USD 1,30) during the day and there is a 20% increase for fare at night, between 10 pm and 6 am.
Payment will need to be in pesos, always. Cash is the only accepted payment method and taxi drivers will very much appreciate it if you also have change.
As for tip, this is not customary in BA, and passengers are more likely to round up to the nearest number. However, if they helped you with your bags or you enjoyed the conversation (they’re known to bend an ear), around 10% will suffice.
So now you know the porteño way. When your feet are sore from all the sightseeing or if you find yourself in a post-parilla coma, you can always sit back and relax in the back of your cab, and enjoy BA in all its glory (traffic included!).