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When travelling recently to Rome, I was approached at the arrivals exit of the Fumicino airport by a gentleman wearing a "TAXI" badge around his neck. There were a few more - plainly visible.

I normally go straight to the taxi lane but they were just in front of it and seemed to orchestrate the taxi operations (which happens at some airports and I have not landed in Rome for some time so I could not remember if this was the case over there)

He was not with the official taxi lane - we walked to a car in the parking lot. I am used to all kind of taxi scams at airports so I asked for the price to city center - 60 EUR.

Taken into account the travel time (~1 hour), the price seemed reasonable. the car was nice as well.

Coming back the same day in the evening through the same route with UBER, I paid 70 EUR - close to the price of the transfer above.

My question is: are these "TAXI" operations legal? They do not rip-off travelers so I have (positive) doubts.

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    Nowhere are such people legal. Those who orchestrate taxi operations are not driving taxis themselves. Also, they are at curbside alongside with a signpost saying taxi. – chx Sep 28 '17 at 6:16
  • @chx: I should have made it clear that the guy I ment does orchestrate trips (he did not drive himself, just brought me to a car with a driver). And he had a badge, some kind of a jacket stating AIRPORT TAXI or something -- all the things one can buy to pretend being from the airport. – WoJ Sep 28 '17 at 6:57
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These badge-wearing taxi drivers are illegal. They are called "abusivi" in Italian meaning that they provide taxi services in unlicensed cars. They charge an amount compatible to what a licensed taxi would charge, sometimes more, sometimes less, often depending on the type of tourist (i.e. prey) they think they are dealing with. It is easy to distinguish between a licensed and an unlicensed taxi since licensed taxis do not pick you up from the arrivals exit (unless they are NCC which are pre-booked high-end cars with a driver). Quite the contrary: licensed taxis wait at designated pick-up points and/or can be hailed from the street.

Unlicensed taxis are a common problem in Italy. They are commonly found in airports and busy train stations across the country, and are more or less organised (for example with fake ID's).

Whether or not you should use such unlicensed taxis is up for discussion and is ultimately your decision. Keep in mind that you are stepping into a car with a stranger who promises to take you to where you are supposed to go, which in itself can be risky. In addition, unlicensed taxis do not give receipts, which you might need when travelling for business, and therefore do not pay any taxes on their income since there is no record of the transaction. For this reason, they do not really need to ripoff tourists: they charge amounts similar to those a licensed taxi would, and 100% of that amount goes straight into their pockets.

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    Sounds a lot like Uber ;) – Relaxed Sep 28 '17 at 5:10
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    Thanks for the detailed answer. I received a receipt (ricevuta fiscale), though. – WoJ Sep 28 '17 at 6:04

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