Uber has been banned by the city of Rome. Thanks mainly 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 they do not go head-to-head with taxis in terms of price and availability. See the price comparison on this page – they work out twice as expensive as a taxi, or worse.
Meanwhile 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.
Alternative to Uber in Rome
Luckily there is an alternative! The Free Now app (formerly MyTaxi) allows you to pre-register a credit card or PayPal account to pay for your ride, to order a taxi through the app, rate the driver, etc. We recommend you register for this 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.
Never book an Uber from the airport
However it’s tricky to use Free Now to book a pickup from the airport, and an Uber limo is absolutely extortionate (see price comparison). Your choice is either to join the long line for a regular cab, at a fixed price of €48 provided you’re going within the city walls, or as an alternative we highly recommend the Welcome Pickups service, which costs the same as a cab, allows you to pay online, and also guarantees that an English-speaking driver will meet you at the gate, and will wait for your plane if it’s delayed. More about Welcome Pickups here…
Watch out for:
- Guys who approach you to offer a “cheap” ride from the airport in the arrivals hall. These are usually third party shysters who will take you to an off-duty limo or a private car, sometimes shared with other passengers. This is completely illegal, and they do not offer liability insurance for passengers nor do they necessarily have the correct drivers licence. They can also sometimes “forget” the price they offered you in the first place and end up trying to rip you off.
- Official taxi drivers who offer you a one-off 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.
- Be informed: taxis from Fiumicino airport are always €48 within the city walls (see map) and from Ciampino are always €30 within the walls. Outside the walls the driver must use the meter, which can work out cheaper depending on which side of the city you are staying.
Quote from the inner suburbs to Termini station
Uber Black: €18
Uber Lux: €24
Uber Van: €24
Regular taxi: €9
Free Now: €8-9