Page update - Jan 15, 2023
Taxis in Tunisia are very cheap when compared to other popular resort countries. The price for taxi services in Tunisia is about 5 times or more cheaper than in the US, the UK, Western European countries. What are the official fares? What are the surcharges? Do Tunisian taxi drivers always ride by the meter? How do they cheat tourists? Read the answers on this page.
The last fare increase was at the very end of 2022 (14 December to be exact). The new fares are (see the current exchange rates on our page "Money in Tunisia"):
Yellow (regular, aka "petit", "small").
- For boarding: 0.9 Tunisian dinar.
- Per kilometre: 0.58 dinar (0.93 per mile).
- Waiting or low speed: 9.2 dinars per hour.
White (high comfort, aka "touristic" or "grand").
- For boarding: 1.35 Tunisian dinar.
- Per kilometre: 1 dinar (1.6 per mile).
- Waiting or low speed: 11 dinars per hour.
The official documents show the fare a little differently. The distance fare is 0.046 dinar per 79 meters. The waiting (slow movement) fare is 0.046 dinar per 18 seconds. In other words, the taximeter should give a 'tick' for waiting every 18 seconds. And that's great! After all, many countries round up waiting times to 10 minutes, and not to the passenger's benefit.
Unfortunately, the official document does not define the figure of the slow speed movement in any way. By law, it is up to the taximeter manufacturer to decide what speed to set. The official document looks like this.
The first difference is the fare (white ones are more expensive) and the comfort level of the cars. It's a matter of luck, though. There are some good yellow taxis that are better than most white ones.
The second difference. Yellow taxis are NOT allowed to drive outside the borders of their 'home' province. White taxis can drive to other provinces, but the taxi drivers usually refuse to ride by taximeter in that case, and you have to negotiate the fixed ride cost.
From 9 pm to 5 am (21-00 to 5-00), the nighttime ("nuit") fare is 50% above the normal fare.
There used to be no surcharges in Tunisian taxis. But starting July 2018, two surcharges have been introduced.
The first surcharge. For luggage weighing 10 kilograms (22 pounds) or more or 45 centimeters (17.7 inches) or more. The surcharge is 1 dinar.
The second surcharge. For rides from airports. The surcharge is 4.5 dinars (until 2023 it was 3 dinars).
By law, a yellow taxi is not allowed to leave its region of registration. For example, a taxi driver from Sousse is not allowed to take a tourist to Hammamet.
However, drivers of yellow taxis often break this rule and ride to other regions. In this case, they can be fined by the police. But it is the drivers who are fined. Passengers are NOT liable. You do not have to be afraid.
There is one exception to this law. The urban agglomeration of Grand Tunis consists of the city of Tunis (the capital) and its surrounding suburbs and satellite towns. All these sites are located in 4 different provinces. And metropolitan taxis are allowed to travel within these 4 provinces: Tunis, Ben Arous, Aryana, Manouba.
These fares (listed above) are defined by Tunisian law as minimum. There are "delux" taxis with higher fares.
In resort towns, taxi drivers often refuse to ride by taximeter and demand a flat fare, although this is illegal. In this case, the ride cost is negotiated between the passenger and the driver. To tell the taxi driver that you want to ride by the taximeter, say the word "meter". If he wants a flat fare, he will say the word "fix".
Taxi drivers in popular tourist places usually charge extra for getting into a car. It's better to catch a taxi on the road than to overpay.
At airports, there are always taxi drivers on duty in the arrivals area, offering their services at inflated prices. This is commonplace in many countries, and the advice is always the same: get out of the terminal and catch a cab there.
A trip from Tunis-Carthage Airport to Tunis city costs about 12 dinars (yellow cab).
A metered ride does not always guarantee the lowest price. A taxi driver can always take a longer route or simply drive in circles. It can happen that tourists get in a cab and immediately notice that the meter shows 3 or 5 dinars and the taxi driver proves that his rusting car is a deluxe taxi.
A fixed price is more interesting, but only if the passenger has an idea of the real journey cost. The Google.Maps service on the Internet helps. It will tell you the distance, and you can calculate the cost according to the meter. Haggle based on that figure.
Bargaining a good price is not always possible. If the driver is uncooperative, you should pass on to the next taxi driver. Most importantly, don't get in the car and don't let them put your bags in until you've negotiated a price.
Taxis in Tunisia often have a sign indicating whether they are occupied or not. Red sign - free, green - occupied. Why exactly this way? Nobody knows, it's the custom there. Probably, Tunisians have a slightly different association with colors than we do.
Some Tunisian taxi drivers are not used to worrying about having change. They often say they don't have change, hoping you'll leave it as a tip. Stock up on petty cash.
If a taxi picks up a tourist from the airport, the driver sometimes tries to assure the passenger to stay in a particular hotel. Hotel owners pay the drivers extra for this. This practice is common in many countries.
In many Arab countries, women are forbidden to ride in the front seat next to the driver, or it is simply not customary. In Tunisia, it is not forbidden. Tunisia is one of the most progressive Arab countries. Even pigs are bred there and pork is prepared for tourists, and Tunisian alcohol is very interesting and diverse.
Taxi cars in Tunisia are mostly of French origin. You can see brand-new cars as well as very old ones. The dry climate favors the long life of the cars. This situation is very similar to Egyptian taxis, where you can find very old cars which still serve their owners.
The most common way to cheat tourists is through the use of taximeters. There are two fares for taxi services in Tunisia - daytime and nighttime. The night fare is 50% more expensive, and switching between the fares is done manually by the driver.
Upon seeing a tourist, the driver promptly switches the taximeter to the night fare. Tourists don't understand Tunisian meters and pay strictly by the numbers on the screen, believing the amount to be correct and fair.
Of course, taximeters in Tunisian taxis show the fare. Either by a number: 1 for day, 2 for night. Or in French: "jour" for day, "nuit" for night. Or by the first letters of these words: J for day, N for night.
The most unusual taximeter we have seen in Tunisia is in the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge. The day rate is marked with the letter "j", but it was difficult to recognize this letter in a strange symbol similar to the mirror digit 6.
It's easy to guard against such deception - you have to look at the meter when boarding, and if you feel something wrong, you point your finger at the meter and say the word "jour". The driver will realize at once that you are aware of such schemes and switch to the day fare.
The second popular deception is not to reset the meter after the previous trip. Again, our advice is similar - look at the taximeter when you get in the car and make sure the meter is zeroed.
The third method is very common for cheating European tourists. A taxi driver takes a passenger at night and at the end of the trip he claims he forgot to change the meter and demands a +50% charge. This method works half by half as not every Tunisian taxi driver speaks English at an affordable level, and not every tourist speaks French at an affordable level. Read about the language situation in our detailed review "What languages Tunisians speak".
- Tunisian taxi drivers often accept US dollars and Euros. However, you will overpay in this case as the taxi driver will round the exchange rate to his side. Better change your currency and pay in dinars. Read our detailed review "How and where to change money in Tunisia";
- In many cases, Tunisian cabs help to save on excursions. For example, the distance from the popular resort Port El Kantaoui to Friguia Park is 50 kilometers (31 miles). It seems far, but it is cheaper for two tourists to take a taxi and buy tickets at the ticket office than to pay USD 50 for an excursion;
- Another huge benefit of taxi drivers is that they know all the shops and tourist spots. For example, you can say the phrase 'magasin general', and the taxi driver will take you to the nearest Magasin General supermarket. Or say 'ooredoo sim card', and the taxi driver will take you to the Ooredoo office, where you can buy a Tunisian SIM;
- Back in 2014, the first online taxi ordering service, E-Taxi (www.etaxi.tn), was launched. The service is convenient, but you need a local Tunisian number.
Enjoy your rides in Tunisian taxis and read our useful and interesting pages about Tunisians and Tunisia (find the pages list below).
map-for-tourist.com © 2020-2024