Steffi, my host in Amman, was kind to share with me some tips to avoid paying the “stupid tourist tax” – being ripped off by taxi drivers, which prepared me for what to expect when I got off the JETT bus in AlAbdali bus station, after a 5 hour journey from Aqaba…
Steffi’s 3 rules for taking a taxi in Amman
1. A taxi within Amman should NEVER cost more than JD5. Steffi told me about a guest she had who paid JD50 from downtown to her apartment near 6th circle! Avoid paying the “stupid tourist tax”!
2. Make sure the metre is on. If the driver says it doesn’t work; get out immediately – he’s trying to rip you off! Another option is to set your price with the driver before entering into the taxi.
3. Avoid white or silver taxis. Take the yellow ones. White taxis are line taxis only going a particular route and take many passengers. Yellow ones are just for the one who hires them. Silver ones are the same as the yellow ones, but more expensive.
Steffi’s says: Generally the taxi drivers in Jordan are amazingly honest compared to other countries around. An exemption are tourist locations however. So wherever you arrive in Amman, start walking a bit down the street, then hail a yellow taxi.
“Taxi?” “Taxi?” “Taxi?”
This is the familiar sound that rings in your ear the moment you step off the JETT bus in AlAbdali. Taxi drivers will be bombard you before you even ask for one. Take a moment to adjust to your surroundings and don’t feel pressured to accept the service of the first driver who approaches you. When you’re finally ready to venture out, clarify a few things before entering the vehicle;
– Ask the driver if he knows your destination. Most drivers will say yes even if they are unsure, so ask at least twice!
– Name your price and stuck to it (see Steffi’s price tips for Amman). If you’re not sure what the price should be, ask and offer half!
– From the AlAbdali bus station it is possible to walk to “Wast Al-Balad” – downtown. It’s about a 15 minute walk if you’re the sporty type and don’t have much luggage. However for 1 dinar, you can arrive there with a taxi (I paid JD2 because I was fed up of being hassled).
Happy and safe taxi rides in Amman!