How to make sure your driver is an official and registered private driver or taxi in France?
A news item has recently been reported in various media..... it is an illegal driver who picked up a couple of Thai tourists in Paris and threatened them to get the incredible amount of 247€ for a 40 km service!
So how do you avoid being trapped and how do you recognize a regular and official driver... I am a VTC, both a driver and a registered private driver, operating in Bordeaux and Cognac area and I list the elements to be checked.
In France there are two legal private transport options for you when you arrive at the airport, station or cruise ship docking in Bordeaux : taxi or VTC.
Either you choose a taxi. It's easy. They wait in the official taxi line and materialized taxi stands that signaled by a blue square sign on which is written “taxis” and ground signage at the exit of the airport hall. You will easily recognize them as all french taxis should be equipped with a green and a red light next to their taxi light on the roff of the car; green is available, red means busy.
You can also look for a license plate with the license number attached to the right front of the car or inside the left rear door or the driver's business card on the left corner of the windshield.
For VTCs like me, it's different! Like taxis, we are not allowed to sollicit or wait for a potential customer in front of the station or airport.
⚠️ Good to know : In France, only illegal drivers solicit the clients in airports and stations ! ⚠️
In case of an inspection, we must be able to show a reservation you have made in advance. We therefore only take care of passengers by reservation!
The real danger you face as a passenger customer? No serious insurance coverage in the event of an accident: illegal taxis are not insured for the transport of passengers.
How can you tell the difference between a real legal registered driver and an illegal transport service?
- A red badge: you must be able to identify a VTC driver checking the red badge, which must be displayed on the windscreen and rear window; it certifies that he/she has been registered in the official register. The badge must mention the same number as the one on the vehicle plates! This mandatory signage since 2017 must in particular make it possible to certify that the vehicle belongs to an operator duly registered in the VTC register. It is secured by a QR-code. The badge is irremovable and cannot be removed without being damaged.
- A purple badge: you must be able to identify a transportation registred driver. The purple badge is another legal national registry mentionning your license number. They cannot take only one passenger as they are registered as public transportation (services for 2 passengers minimum)
- No meter: Unlike a taxi we don't have a meter! And if your private driver shows you or turns on any meter, you may already have doubts! You must know the fare before getting into the car, as soon as you book, and this fare cannot change despite a traffic jam or deviation or any waiting time. The only change can happen if you order a provision of a driver, then you will be charged per hour.
- Presentation of a professional card: The VTC driver must be able to show you a copy of the registration in the official VTC register as well as his professional card issued by the prefecture stipulating his number with his photo. To enable control officers to verify regularity, these professional cards are forgery-proof: issued by the French National Printing Office after validation by the prefectures of the successful candidates in the VTC driver examination. They are valid for 5 years.
Now you know what you have to check to make sure you will be driven by a professional and efficicent driver to your hotel or any place!