Newly Swissed Online Magazine

Zurich Taxicab Fiasco

If you have ever waited outside Zurich's main station, you would know that we have a problem. Day and night, a ridiculous abundance of taxicabs is lined up right outside the main gate, with the problem being that they never seem to move from the spot.

Apparently, the reason for this congestion is that Zurich has issued too many cab licenses over the years. This recent article states that there are currently more than 1500 active licenses, which translates to roughly 4 cabs per 1000 residents in a city where public transportation is omnipresent. As a point of reference, London has 25,000 licensed drivers, which translated to only 3 cabs per 1000 residents.

This competitive environment has driven Zurich's cabbies to become very much customer unfriendly. In fact, they would pick and choose passengers based on the destination and anticipated fare, and would refuse service when the fare was too low. Their behavior makes sense from an economical perspective because in terms of pay/hour, why would you pick up a 10 Franc fare after having just waited for an hour outside the main station? Why not gamble for a higher fare to come along?

Obviously, from the perspective of customer service, this behavior is unacceptable. After several damaging news stories lately, such as about an old lady on her way to the hospital, pregnant women or blind people who were refused service, the cab association has put on their thinking hats and has devised a program to improve their image. Namely, they are handing out white ribbons to those cabbies who officially agree to pick up all fares regardless of destination.    

Thanks for saving Switzerland's image as a tourist destination after all! So, what do you think about this controversy? Please do share!

Dimitri Burkhard

As the founder, editor, and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of Swiss Travel Communicators. Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.


  • Well, that explains a lot. The first time I went to Zurich, the cab driver was mean, and was sort of angry about going to our hotel but finally did it for a ridiculous sum of money (50 CHF!!). Then he drove around in what seemed to be a circle before letting us out.

    I did the train the next time. :)

  • let’s see, i think they should send some to my town because i arranged for a cab for friends for 5:30am and they DITCHED us and their phone was disconnected…weird? yes

Dimitri Burkhard

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