When it comes to taxis, Armenia sees no lack. Literally. You have the old and the new, the crook and the sweet old men and the bright eyes young ones determined to mark their place in the world. You have the Pink and the Ararat and the Gyumri and the crazy named ones. And then you have the no names. None of that really matters however. What matters is whether or not they have a meter in the car. When looking to grab a taxi, use these tips:
- Look for the green light on the rear view mirror.
- If the car has no light shining there, stay away!
- If it’s red, you know it’s in use.
- Make sure the driver turns it on. You will know this when the light turns red or when the meter shows a base rate of 600 drams with 100 drams added per extra km or 2. I have yet to figure the exact rate here as taxis can play around with it.
- 600 drams= $1.5 about, usually less. 100 drams= 25 cents or less.
- Know the roads yourself. If you are fresh off the plane and totally clueless about Armenia, even with a meter they will take you round in circles. If you have a GPS on your phone, USE IT!
- I know where I live by heart now and can explain perfectly. If they try any funny business, I put my foot down. Do not be afraid to raise your voice when you know you’re being cheated. Plainly state that you know this trip should cost you a certain amount and stick to it. If it’s in the city and within 4-4.5 km, it’s 600 drams no matter what.
- Remember always: just because you’re in Armenia, doesn’t mean there won’t be people who want to milk every last penny from your pockets.
Those people who haven’t seen how the rest of the world functions believe those from the West gather money from trees, figuratively speaking. Some are mighty pissed off at Armenians who waltz into the country, see nothing but the center of Yerevan, have no idea about the plight of the people and the country as a whole, and traipse back to their heated and air conditioned huge homes in North America especially, spreading opinions based on little fact about the homeland. Hell, I’d be pissed off too if I wasn’t a repatriate who understood both worlds. Though I still don’t excuse such people who waive their money around, stay at expensive hotels, tour only churches and monasteries and walk up and down Northern Avenue day and night 😛 You have to wonder why they put so much money to see absolutely nothing of the country they deem to call homeland. Then again, that’s just my humble opinion.