Negotiating your Taxi Fare in Israel
A conversation with a taxi driver with Hebrew transliterations
[yjsgfa name="fa fa-taxi"]Le'an ata ro'tzeh - Where do you want to go to?
[yjsgfa name="fa fa-user"]Ani ro'tzeh le'ha'giya le rechov Herzl - I want to go to Herzl St.
[yjsgfa name="fa fa-user"]Ka'ma ze oleh - How much does it cost?
[yjsgfa name="fa fa-taxi"]Shlo'shim ve'ha'mesh shach - 35 shekels ("shach" being the abbreviated form of shekel hadash - The New Israeli Shekel)
[yjsgfa name="fa fa-user"]Ma? Shlo'shim ve'ha'mesh shach! Bederech klal ani meshalem rak 25 - What? So much! I usually pay 25
[yjsgfa name="fa fa-taxi"]Be'seder, be'seder. Az 30 shach - Okay, okay, 30 shekels!
Whatever you do, prior to the negotiation, do not let on that you do not know where you are or that you are new in town. The taxi driver will use this information to his financial advantage.
Now your taxi driver (nehag) may be a shrewd businessman. Once you are in the taxi, he may say:
[yjsgfa name="fa fa-taxi"]Ani ya'chol le asof et ha achyan sheli be'derech - Do you mind if I pick up my "nephew" along the way?
[yjsgfa name="fa fa-taxi"]Ani hiftachti Ie'asot lo tovah, ve lakachat oto le kenyon, she be'derech. I promised to do him a favor and drop him at the shopping center that is en route.
You can be sure that there is no nephew and no favor. This can be the taxi drivers' way of getting an additional fare for the same trip. Naturally you have every right to refuse.
He might also say, when he drops you at your destination
[yjsgfa name="fa fa-taxi"]Ani mekaveh she yaish lecha kesef katan - I hope you have the right amount of money
[yjsgfa name="fa fa-taxi"]Ki ain li odef - As I do not have any change
He may suggest making a detour via the nearest shop to arrange some change.
[yjsgfa name="fa fa-taxi"]Ani yachol le asot sivuv le makolet lakachat odef
Put your foot down, this is not your problem, he must come up with the change. Suggest he drop you off at your destination (let's say your house), without paying him obviously, and you will wait a few minutes for him to arrange the change somehow and then he can bring it to you. This is what you'd say...
[yjsgfa name="fa fa-taxi"]Ta'atzor li leyad habayit sheli, ve ani echakeh lecha kamma dakot, ad she ata mavi li et ha'odef.
Wait and see if he miraculously can come up with the money!
You may however encounter an honest taxi driver and he may come right out and ask if he can pick up another fare along the way. If the taxi driver does not agree to give you a reduced fare, you should refuse.
To be fair (no pun intended), taxi drivers all around the world are known to be chancers.