Im Jahr 2011 wurde im Rahmen von EuroTest erstmalig eine

Methodology: This is how we tested the taxi journeys
It's something we're all familiar with - taxi trips that are anything but pleasant. The driver seems to be
going around in circles, only he knows what the surcharges on the taximeter are for and traffic rules no
longer apply. This is all extremely unpleasant, especially if you find yourself in a foreign city, not to
mention if you can't speak the language. That's why EuroTest has now undertaken a Europe-wide taxi
test, something ADAC has already twice undertaken in Germany. As part of EuroTest, the consumer
protection test programme involving 18 automobile clubs in 17 European countries, taxi journeys in 22
major cities in Europe were inspected. We wanted to find out if the taxi sector is really as bad as its
reputation and whether stories of dreadful taxi trips are just one-off events or if it is a recurring
Five routes in each city
The partner clubs selected the following cities for the inspection: Brussels (Belgium); Berlin, Hamburg,
Cologne and Munich (Germany); Paris (France); Milan and Rome (Italy); Zagreb (Croatia);
Luxembourg (Luxembourg); Amsterdam and Rotterdam (the Netherlands); Oslo (Norway), Salzburg
and Vienna (Austria), Lisbon (Portugal), Geneva and Zurich (Switzerland); Ljubljana (Slovenia);
Barcelona and Madrid (Spain) as well as Prague (Czech Republic). The inspectors were out and about
in these cities on five typical and comparable routes: airport – main train station, main train station –
exhibition centre, exhibition centre – hotel (3-5 kilometres), inner city – tourist attraction in the city
centre (short trip up to 2 kilometres), hotel – restaurant (5 to 7 kilometres). Each of the precisely
defined test routes was inspected by a male passenger during the week: once during the day between
6 am and 9 pm outside peak traffic hours (7.30 to 9.00 am and 4.30 to 7 pm) and once at night
between 10 pm and 5 am. The pick-up point and destination were always the same. This means that
each of the five routes in each of the 22 cities was taken twice – that adds up to 220 single trips.
Travelling incognito as a businessman
In its capacity as project manager, ADAC commissioned Skopos Next GmbH to conduct the
inspections. This mystery shopper specialist is headquartered in Hürth near Cologne and works on
behalf of numerous national and international companies in various industries. The company has its
own resources comprising a mystery shopper pool and a telephone studio for mystery calling projects.
The professional test customers went out on behalf of EuroTest to conduct their inspections between 2
May and 17 June 2011. The test journey always began at a taxi rank. When possible, the inspectors
were required to take the third taxi waiting at the rank. The experts pretended to be businessmen and
had a trolley with them. They were unfamiliar with the respective cities, were not in a rush and wanted
to reach their destination for the lowest possible price without any detours. They communicated with
the drivers in English. As soon as the taxi set off, they asked if they could pay with a credit card,
however, they paid for the trip with a 50 euro note or a 20 euro note for a short trip.
Armed with a checklist, Sat Nav and a camera
The inspectors' checklist was broken down into the following main categories: “Driver” (weighting of 40
percent), “Vehicle” (20 percent) as well as “Adherence to route” (40 percent) and contained a total of
60 items for inspection.
In the “Driver” category the inspectors noted, for instance, whether the driver complied with the
obligation to carry passengers (even for a short journey), observed traffic rules, was friendly and
helpful, assisted with loading and unloading luggages, communicated in English, was able to
recommend restaurants or tourist attractions, or was able to deliver a receipt correctly at the end of the
journey. In the “Vehicle” category items assessed included whether the taxi was clean and tidy, the
taximeter was switched on correctly and the fare sign, driver ID, company address and taxi licence
number were visibly displayed in the vehicle. In the “Adherence to route” category it was assessed
whether drivers took deviations from standard routes and whether an eventual detour was obviously
intentional or not.
Each of the experts was equipped with a Sat Nav in order to record the route taken. This data was
then compared with the matching reference routes provided by the taxi associations in order to
evaluate adherence to routes, i.e. whether the driver actually took the shortest and hence cheapest
route. The device was also used to record speed and traffic violations.
A "Fare" item was assessed as part of the “Adherence to route” category and showed the price
structure of the city inspected. In this case, the taxi fare price list valid in the respective city at the time
of testing was used in order to calculate the fare for a seven-kilometre long journey with a five-minute
waiting period (congestions, traffic lights, etc.) and one piece of luggage. Each inspection was also
documented in photos whenever possible.
Knock-out points for detours, over-pricing and refusal to pick up a passenger
In the case of particularly serious shortcomings, a so-called “knock-out criteria” was applied which
could result in the points for the category in question being reduced to zero. This was the case in the
"Adherence to route" category if the driver took an unnecessary, long detour resulting in a much higher
fare, and in the "Driver" category if the price was much higher than in the valid taxi price list or if the
driver refused a ride.
The points given in each test journey are expressed in the following ratings: “Very Good”, “Good”,
“Acceptable”, “Poor” and “Very Poor”.