About Taxis, minivans, minibuses, private car transfers, etc.

As it happens in other kind of businesses too, in taxi/transfer services there is -any more- a growing problem of illegal transportation services, provided by people/businesses that have no or - at the best case scenario - incomplete legal authorization and permission to do so. How it is done? Easily, if you think about it: a little bit of different regulations among different countries on the transfer business, a little bit of a lack of official information on this subject (or hard to find them on the internet – at your language, at least), a little bit of an amazingly (!) cheaper price for the same transfer and bang: you have been caught!

So, let’s short some things out about transfer services in Greece (therefore in Crete too):

In Greece, the only legally authorized professional categories that can provide to the consumers a private, single type (from point A to point B) transfer ground services under a fee, are three: Taxis, Private Buses (*a vehicle is defined as a BUS when the total number of seats are OVER 9 seats, without the driver seat included {10+ seats in total}) and specially licenced Limousines.

So, ladies and gentlemen: "car pooling services", "private cars with hired drivers", “minicabs”, “minivans”, “chauffeured hotel cars" and similar services that you will be charged for a transfer is simply illegal .

Some would think: "Who cares, Kostas?... I will be charged less money, even the half, of what you charge as a legal taxi owner. So, why should I bother if it is illegal?"... You may be right. But then again, would you PAY to stay overnight at my “hotel” if that was my private house or would you PAY for a dinner at my “taverna” if that was my house’s kitchen?...

I won’t argue on that, the choice is totally yours. As the potential risks of doing so.


How do you recognize that your reserved taxi is indeed a legal taxi?

A taxi vehicle has some unique characteristics that distinct it from private cars:

  1. The number plates are YELLOW with black fonts. It is a 3 letter – 4 digit combination, e.g. TAZ–9999. In Crete the 3 letters are “TAZ” (except taxis that are registered in Heraklion prefecture that the letters are “TAE”).
  2. The exterior colour: In Crete the exterior colour of a taxi must be (depending the registered area of work): Blue (taxis of Chania municipality) – White (Rethymnon municipality and some areas in Heraklion) – Silver or Grey (Most common colour – found in most parts of Crete).
  3. ALL Taxis must have: 1) a Taximeter, 2) a “Taxi” or “Radiotaxi” roof sign, 3) a “free for hire” sign in the right side of the dashboard, 4) an Electronic Recognition Label - ERL - (it is a small round sticker containing a microchip, placed at one corner of the windshield)

If something of the above is “missing” (mainly the specific number plates type, the taximeter, the “Taxi” signs and the ERL), then have your doubts.


Why should you use a legal taxi?

There are many reasons to use a legal taxi; most of them are common reasons as why to use any legal retail merchant or service provider of any type:

  1. Legal taxis and legal taxi drivers are officially REGISTERED businesses and employees. That means that each taxi as each driver has a “name” and an “address” known at the public authorities. Which means that they can be located/traced if something goes wrong during the taxi transfer (from simply losing/forgetting an item in the taxi, up till having undergone a bad service experience or even got offended/insulted, etc. at any level).
  2. Each taxi vehicle has to undergone an annual mechanical inspection to verify its state of good maintenance. That offers a minimum level of safety on the vehicle’s good worthy operation level. Additionally, all taxi drivers have to renew their Taxi License on a 5-year basis, by doing specific medical exams.
  3. All taxis must be insured in the case of an accident, as all cars must. The difference is that in the case of getting caught not being insured, it results to a revoke of the Taxi License for at least 3 months period up till permanent suspension of the license. So, the “price” is too high on cutting expenses on that way.
  4. Last but not least: Paying for a service to a legally authorized provider simply allows our society to be. Jobs and businesses do exist on that principal, as well as a certain level of professionalism on the delivered products/services. If not, very soon the quality of anything will be diminished. This is something that I don’t want to happen. Do you?


Kostas Kourgiantakis
Taxi owner in Chania area / Manager of www.taxi4crete.gr