Does Rome have Uber?
Uber is not illegal in Rome, despite many local taxi drivers claiming so. It is legal to use Uber in Rome, and the app appears to work – but it’s not the Uber you might be expecting: you will only be able to use the expensive Uber Black, Uber Lux and Uber Van.
Regular Uber in Rome
Thanks to lobbying by the city’s taxi drivers the regular “taxi” part of Uber does not work here, even though the app does: in Rome there is still Uber Black, Uber Lux, and Uber Van, but in price terms they do not go head-to-head with taxis, only with the local “NCC” limo service.
How much does Uber cost in Rome?
See the price comparison below – an Uber in Rome works out twice as expensive as a taxi, or even worse.
Quote from the inner suburbs to Termini station
Uber Black: €18
Uber Lux: €24
Uber Van: €24
Regular taxi: €9
Other Taxis in Rome
Regular taxis can officially only be hired from a taxi stand or ordered by phone, but very few of the operators speak English and they have a tendency to hang up on callers if they don’t understand them. Not just that but almost no taxi drivers take any kind of credit card – 99% of them are cash-only – and even if they do (or are PayPal enabled), it is not always possible to know that the car picking you up will have the facility. And of course Rome taxis do not have a good reputation for honesty at the best of times. Thankfully there are alternatives.
Lyft has not arrived in Rome at the time of writing.
Alternatives to Uber in Rome
From the airport
If you try to use the Uber app to get to your hotel from the airport, you’ll be assigned an Uber Black or Lux limo which will work out absolutely extortionate (see price comparison table below). To avoid this your choice is either to join the long line for a regular “white” cab, at a fixed price of €48 provided you’re going within the city walls (see map), but better still is an alternative called Welcome Pickups which costs the same as a cab but has all the advantages of Uber – in that you can pay online and you will know who your driver is – but better still the driver is guaranteed to speak English and if you enter your flight details into the booking they’ll wait for you at the gate, even if your flight is delayed (within reason). More about Welcome Pickups here…
For getting around the city there is an alternative app to Uber! The Free Now app (formerly MyTaxi) allows you to pre-register a credit card or PayPal account and use the app to call a taxi and pay for your ride, rate the driver, etc. We recommend you register for this before or as soon as, you arrive in Rome. The drawback to this is that unlike Uber, the meter goes on the moment you book the taxi and continues to run as the driver comes to get you.
Things to watch out for
- Be informed: taxis from Fiumicino airport are always €48 to anywhere within the city walls (see map) and from Ciampino are always €30 within the walls. The driver has a special setting on the meter that will reflect this. If you’re staying outside the walls the driver must use a regular meter, which can work out cheaper if you’re on the west of the city, but much more expensive if you’re on the east. Which is why a Welcome Pickup is also a good alternative because the set fee covers the entire city.
- Ignore the guys who will approach you in the arrivals hall to offer a “cheap” ride to your hotel from the airport – usually around €40 or €45 per person. These are third-party shysters who will hook you up with an off-duty limo or a private car, sometimes shared with other passengers so you’ll have to go around the city dropping everyone else off. What they do is completely illegal, and they do not offer liability insurance for passengers, nor do they necessarily have the correct drivers license. They can also sometimes “forget” the price they offered you in the first place and end up trying to rip you off, which happened to this author and nearly led to a fight in the street at 4am…
- Don’t accept if official taxi drivers in town offer you a one-off “special” fare without using the meter. Insist that the driver turns on the meter before you set off, and if they don’t, get out of the taxi and threaten to report them, using the word vigili when you do (pronounced “VEE-jee-lee”) so even if they don’t speak English they will recognize the word for the local cops…