Last week I was in Sevilla, Spain, and I noticed some of the taxis (but not all of them) were displaying a digit (often a 1 or 2, sometimes a 3) on their roof. The number was yellow on the front side and red on the rear side. What could these numbers mean? It wasn't the number of passengers or the number of free seats, as far as I could see.

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The first taxi has a clearly visible 1, the second one was displaying a 2.

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Two other two taxis seen from the rear, the nearest one showing a 1, the other one a 2 (IIRC).

  • 3
    Here's a guess: it appears that Seville has three different fare rates (tariffs) that are in effect at different times of the day/week. It may be that the number indicates which tariff is currently in effect (though then you would expect all taxis to display the same number at the same time). Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 16:41
  • Interesting! I do remember seeing a 1, 2 and 3 in the same traffic jam, so that makes it rather unlikely (or they are really sloppy with updating the number).
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 16:43
  • Such a public display of the tariffs however isn't unique to Spain. Beside lighting in either white or green (free) or amber (occupied) light for the main sign, the taxis in Paris have a little lights (globes) in white (A), amber (B) or blue (C) to indicate their tariffs, too (e.g., timeout.fr/paris/feature/taxis-in-Paris, fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxis_parisiens).
    – Buttonwood
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 20:55

2 Answers 2


As suggested in comments there are three tariff levels in Sevilla but they apply for different sorts of journey as well as for different times. 1 is for urban, 2 for inter-urban and 3 for airport.


It is in Spanish I am afraid but perhaps on-line translation tools may help here.

  • 3
    Thanks, that's plausible ... but why would those numbers continue to be shown outside the car in the middle of the city?
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 21:24
  • 4
    The tariff level is probably tied to the car, not the particular route it is travelling at that time. You don't want to try and flag down a taxi for a trip to the other side of town when it has been assigned to the airport run
    – mcalex
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 3:15
  • 4
    @mcalex that's not the case, the cars can do any of the assigned tariffs. Also, you only flag taxis that are 'green' with no number associated. The reason is more to force honesty.
    – LaintalAy
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 15:21

Tariffs are made highly visible in many places in order to keep the drivers honest. It would otherwise be easy for a driver to select the expensive out of town tariff while on a local journey in town and get paid a lot more for the journey. For example, it may be that the driver should only move to the most expensive tariff (3) when leaving the outskirts of town. If the local enforcement or police see a vehicle driving in the centre of town on tariff 3 they could then take action.

  • 3
    Wouldn't it make more sense for the number to display somewhere the passenger could see it instead of on the roof? Or is there also a display inside the car that the rider can see? Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 18:37
  • 1
    @DarrelHoffman: There is a display inside the car showing the tariff and the updated import of the trip. At least in Barcelona it works that way and I expect it to work the same way in Seville.
    – Pere
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 21:19

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