Taxis in Monaco: the improvements you would like to see
Having polled users’ opinions, we interviewed a taxi driver in the Principality to gain a better understanding of the reality on the ground.
Taxis are available day and night to get from A to B in the Principality. Appreciated by some and criticised by others, the ‘jury’ was far from unanimous, and a number of issues were raised. First up, waiting times, which many of our readers find too long.
The driver we interviewed, who wished to remain anonymous, reminds us that traffic jams in Monaco are unavoidable. “Many people who order a taxi forget that we usually have to get through a lot of traffic jams to reach them. They usually start at about 6.30 in the morning and ease off during the morning. Then they start up again at 4.30 pm and go on until 7 pm. Pick up and journey times even within Monaco itself can be very long, but outside these times taxis usually arrive quickly.”
A booking application?
The idea for users like Jeannine would be to be able to book the fare in advance: “I think it’s a shame not to be able to book ahead of time. This would have avoided me missing two medical appointments at the CHPG because the taxi was delayed by road works.”
Another reader would also be delighted: “My parents, aged 84 and 86, would like to use taxis, but they would need to be able to book them in advance. Noon to go to the restaurant, 3pm to go to the hospital, for example. But no, you have to call just before, and either they come right away and yell at my parents for not having had time to get downstairs from their flat, or my parents wait outside for 20 minutes and get stressed they’re going to be late. The service really needs to improve so that people, especially older people, can rely on them.”
To remedy this problem, the idea of an application is gaining traction. “It would be good if there was an app where you could book taxis. The customers, because they would be in direct contact with the drivers, would also feel more in control,” as is the case in France, for example, with “Uber” type vehicles, which are banned in Monaco.
Regarding bookings, “they are possible today for destinations from Nice or from Ventimiglia,” says the professional. “We have asked to be able to bring in reservations for fares within Monaco, but this would certainly mean a surcharge. Because to be sure to be on time for a reservation, we would have to arrive on site earlier and organise our fares to fit that schedule, which is not easy when demand is high. A reservation takes up about twice as much time as a normal fare in the Principality.”
Inflation is also affecting taxis
A potential increase might discourage some, like Cécile, who already finds the service expensive: “I have used a taxi once in five years in Monaco, and I found the fare astronomical compared to what is charged elsewhere (London and Paris)”.
Booking or not, fares are likely to increase soon. “The price has been the same since 2016,” the professional points out. “But since then, operating costs have gone up by 30%,” partly due to the rise in petrol prices, but not only.
“Insurance companies have put their premiums up by 16% between 2010 and 2020, the health insurance fund for the self-employed (CAMTI) has increased contributions by 26% in five years, and the price of spare parts has risen 14.7% since 2016. This is why the Association des Exploitants de Taxis Indépendants de Monaco (Association of Independent Taxi Operators) requested an increase in fares eight months ago, and we are still waiting for a gesture from the Monaco Government,” says the driver.
While some praise the drivers’ attitude, like Sara: “They are all very good, kind and professional. The problem is mostly the traffic, the congestion on this small territory” or this reader: “most of the drivers are friendly and ready to help you if you have heavy bags, for example”, for many others, the professionals have got it wrong.
“They aren’t always friendly,” we read in some of the user feedback on our survey. Christiane regrets the lack of consideration towards customers: “I have a cane and no one gets out to open the door for me, but still, the service exists and I’m very happy to have it.”
The Principality driver’s response: “Who hasn’t had a bad day at work? I think we have to forgive them when they are not quite as cheerful as usual. With the traffic and the long working hours, sometimes smiles can wear thin. However, I can assure you that taxis drivers are all attentive to customer service.”
The taxi price list is available via this link.