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Taxis have meters in Quito, Ecuador. In theory.

One thing that Jonathan and I were really excited about when we came to Quito was that the taxis have meters.

Nowhere did we find metered taxis in Central America.  And we always knew that we were paying more, but there was nothing we could do about it.

taxi in Quito, Ecuador

taxi in Quito, Ecuador

We did learn that in Quito, these meters are only used during the day.  After dark, you need to negotiate a price before getting in the taxi.

No big deal.

Sometimes, however, taxi drivers do not want to use the meter, especially with gringos (i.e. us).  So, we usually end up asking the driver to start the meter.

Most drivers are happy to start the meter, because they know that it’s the law, and after all, it’s only fair.

I’m not afraid to get out of a taxi if the driver won’t start the meter.

On Saturday, Jonathan and I found ourselves in the following situation:

We need a taxi.  So, we get in one at a stop light, and ask him to start the meter.  He refuses.

He says, “It is only $3.50”.  We say, “Please start the meter.”  He says, “No, it is only $3.50.”

After going through this same dialog 3 more times, we just get out of the cab.

We get into a different cab (still stopped at the traffic light – the same one).  Here’s what happens this time:

“Do you have a meter?”

“No.”  (There’s one sitting on the dash of the car in plain sight and working.)  “Where do you want to go?”

“Terminal Ofelia.”


We got out.

I had absolutely no problem getting out of the taxis.  Nobody wants to be overcharged.

I am shocked that the taxi drivers in Quito, Ecuador would rather lose out on a fair fare than start the meter.


Our third taxi driver happily put on the meter for us.  How much did it cost?

$2.98.  We paid him $3.50 with a tip (because he was really nice and took us to our destination quickly, directly, and fairly).

I just don’t understand why the first driver refused to put on the meter.  He was asking for only $.50 more.  He would have gotten the $3.50 from us had he just been fair with us in the first place and put on the meter.

Oh well.  His loss.

4 thoughts on “Taxis have meters in Quito, Ecuador. In theory.

  1. Pingback: 5 Things I Will Miss About Quito, Ecuador | Travel the world with Carrie and Jonathan!

  2. Marty

    You really don’t know why the cab won’t turn on the meter?
    Because if the meters run, the owners know EXACTLY how much money that
    cab driver made. IF he gets you with NO METER, he can keep the cash
    for HIMSELF!! Also, from the quotes you gave, they were fairly close in
    price, except the $6.00 man—TAKE A CAB IN BOSTON OR NEW YORK and see
    what you get!!! NADA!! The drivers are all black from some Island somewhere or Africa, & they not only overcharge you, but they purposely
    drive ALL OVER THE PLACE to run up the meter. In Boston, I KNEW how
    to get to the live play theatre, & the guy drove around 6 blocks so
    many times, I finally made him stop the cab & I got out AND WALKED to
    the theatre & told the people getting into the cab what a CROOK HE WAS.

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