There is a constant battle to stop pirate taxis. | T. AYUGA


British tourists have been warned of “pirate taxis” charging clients triple the official rate at Palma airport.
These fraudsters are said to be ripping off weary travellers by charging them extortionate sums they claim are the going rate.

The tend to operate between 4pm and 11pm - mostly on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays - when police are not doing the rounds.

Héctor Prego, the director of a magazine for taxi drivers in Spain, has warned tourists about the scam and identified two ways to avoid it.

“This type of illegal vehicle is creating tension at Palma Airport which can lead to confrontational situations.”

Prego said some drivers blame a European Court of Justice decision to scrap a rule which said a company must have at least five taxis to operate.

He added: “Now, you only need one vehicle to be able to provide this service which provides the opportunity for people to operate illegally by themselves with their own car.”

Holidaymakers visiting the island often have no idea how much they should pay to reach the town of Palma or other popular resorts like Magalluf or Pollensa.

They can then end up agreeing to a fee, sometimes up to double or triple the usual cost.

Prego told tourists that, firstly, legal taxis would always have a metre.

Secondly, the approved vehicles would have a sticker displaying the area of Palma from which they have been granted permission to work from.

Prego explained that illegal, unvetted vehicles would not have been given one of these stickers, usually found on the vehicles bonnet or front window.

There are inspectors at the airport and CCTV cameras to try and stop pirate taxis operating.