“ Amsterdam taxis. „
When visiting Amsterdam on a short break, I took a taxi from Schiphol airport which is a few miles from the centre of the City, to my hotel in the centre. I also took a similar journey back by taxi when returning. The taxi rank is straight outside the exit to the airport and is well-signed. The first thing that I noted is the quality of the taxis, the one at the front of the queue which I took was an expensive new Mercedes car with leather seats and plush trimmings. It's certainly not the sort of taxi that I'm used to getting in the United Kingdom! The drivers on both occasions were very polite, spoke perfect English (as do most people in Amsterdam) and were dressed smartly in suits. The whole image that it gave, which I also found for taxis going to and from anywhere in the city, was one of real professionalism. The cost of the taxi each way was 18 Euros, which works out at just over ten pounds. This was a reasonable price to be driven straight from the airport to the hotel, although the trains and trams in Amsterdam are very efficient and reasonably priced. If you are unsure of where you are going though, taking a taxi is likely to be the most efficient way of getting to your destination without confusion, and cost effective if there are a few of you in the taxi. Going short journeys in taxis though is more expensive, with the minimum fare being 7.50 Euros, so if you are just going on a destination a few minutes away, it can be quite expensive. You do though get a distance of around 2 kilometres for this, but then of course the clock keeps running. One thing to note is that only some taxi drivers have permission to drive on the tram tracks, and during rush hour, you could get caught with an expensive bill if the taxi you have chosen can't take a short-cut using the tracks. There is a sign on the front window of the taxis which says whether or not they have this permit. In terms of tipping taxi drivers, I found that it is usual to just round up to the nearest Euro amount, or round number if applicable, tipping more than this seems excessive. Overall I found that in Amsterdam it is more efficient to walk or hire a bike, given that the city is well laid out and beautiful to walk around. Failing that the trams are cheap and these criss-cross the city with great regularity, and trains provide a good service from Amsterdam to other areas of the country and also the airport. The taxi company which most locals seem to prefer is TCA Taxis, although in my case I took the taxis at the front of the taxi ranks and was pleased with the result.