Odessa Airport Taxi Alert

For those of you thinking of travelling to Odessa in the near future and if you have not been there before, please be aware of this: Taxi drivers at Odessa airport are very "persistent" even when you tell them that you are meeting with someone who was picking you up. If you stay in the arrivals hall, they will circle like vultures. Domestic arrivals now arrive in the new terminal. On one occasion, when actually needing a taxi to a city centre hotel, I was approached by a driver who asked where I was going to. This driver had a "manager", a woman standing close by. This manager also asked me where I was going and said that will be 1200.00 hrv. "No", said I, " I could go to Nikolaev for that amount". "No, that could not be possible", she replied, "The price of benzine is high now. How much would you expect to pay?". I said "About 100 hrv, it's what I paid a couple of months ago from city centre to the airport". "Impossible!, no driver would do it for that", she replied. At this point the driver put up the figure 900 on his calculator, later reducing it to 800. I decided to walk away and go to the domestic terminal where I topped up my phone and called my friend in Nikolaev who phoned a company in Odessa to pick me up for the usual fare (this time about 135 hrv). Even as I walked away from the new terminal another driver persued me. I said I'm not staying there to get ripped off. He asked me how much I wanted to pay. "Around 100 hrv", I said. "Oh no", he replied, "That's only about $5, it can't be done".
Be aware that normal fare from Odessa airport to the city centre is usually between 100 and 200 hrv. Don't get ripped off at the airport. If you can, get someone to phone a radio cab from the city.

I was swarmed by two taxi drivers at Borispol Airport who looked like fresh out of prison. One had a scar across his face from a knife slash. They hounded me even after telling them multiple times politely, No thank you in the Airport lobby area. I went to the ATM to get money and one stood very close to me and I finally got ticked off and told him to get away from me. Before my trip I had researched transportation and was going to catch one of the buses that were supposed to always be parked just outside the exit.  Of course there were no buses to be found and none ever came after waiting for 45 minutes,lol. So I decided to grab one of the official taxi's along the curb. I didn't care if it was more expensive. It appeared safer than the other guy who said his taxi was his personal car parked somewhere near by. He followed me to the official taxi and appeared to argue with them,then got angry and cursed in Russian as he walked away. They hounded me for 30minutes,following me around the Airport,so I was very relieved  to get them off my back.  I showed them the address of the  hotel in Periaslov Kilmaniski ( Bad spelling) I wanted to go to which was about 1 hour away.  They didn't speak English and three drivers seemed to be having big discussions about it passing the paper back and forth. After 10 or 15 minutes of this they put me in the third taxi back and we left. The driver took me to Kiev, (opposite direction I was going) where we met up with a private taxi in his personal car and I had to switch over. No English. Started driving again and he seemed to know where to go, I HOPED! Finally, we got to the right place and I was happy to give him a generous tip. Their typical salaries are around $65 a month! So for me, a $20 tip on top of the $15 fee was like nothing. For him it was wonderful. I was happy to do it! This is the short version of the story,but it took more than 3 hours in a circus  for me to finally get to a hotel 1 hour away. I realize these people are poor and barely surviving, now when I go to Ukraine I am always happy to tip a little extra if they are a nice person. To give them a $5 tip for a $2 taxi ride is nothing. In the US that ride from the airport would have been at least $80 to $100. I paid $35.

I just want to comment - I fly in to Borispol regularly, and I realise most of these private drivers are just trying to make a living in a country where that isn't easy to do, and the majority are "honest" just trying to make a buck.
BUT they are a bit of a hassle and create a bad first impression. The airport authorities and security should stop these "private drivers" and touts.
They make it difficult for travellers to enter the airport on "Security grounds" but these drivers appear to be able to come and go as they wish.
Use the bus or official taxis

in reply to this i would also use uber the app works well from airport on wifi and centre city is 90 grivna or as above call a local to order you a student taxi which will cost 70 grivna but you need to speak a little Ukrainian or Russian,
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martin

Yes, this is quite typical of a lot of airports in Ukraine. I flew into Kiev a few times and had the same experience. Now, like you, I fly to and from Odessa. Fuel prices have risen a little bit in Ukraine recently and I have seen my trip from Nikolaev to Odessa go up from 1200 hryvnia to 1400 hryvnia. I'm coming back on Friday, so I am interested to know what it will be then.

In Odessa, like you, I found the drivers to be particularly persistent. I only use one driver, so I have no need to use one of the drivers in the airport. I have tried various tactics such as pretending I don't speak/understand Ukrainian/Russian, speaking in good Russian and simply ignoring them. Even when I travel with my partner, she has the same issues and she is Ukrainian. She gets quite annoyed with them, but they still persist.

I think that it is nothing to do with where you are from, I think that this is the culture in this part of Ukraine. But, it is very good advise and worthwhile letting foreigners know of this possibility when they arrive. Arrange your own transport ahead of time and have someone meet you at the airport...

I was in Odessa this past summer and the arrivals terminal is where I flew in, but you do not use the same terminal to depart; you use the old one to depart.  The vultures hang out at the arrival terminal.

Yes, the taxi drivers all over Ukraine prey on unwitting foreigners to gouge.  True fare from the airport to downtown Odessa should be about 150 grivnas.  They would charge at least twice that.  Either they are trying to make extra money from unwitting foreigners, or they have to pay for what is known as крыша, which you may call extortion money from organized crime.

The new arrivals terminal in Odessa is very nice, and as you exit the terminal there is a row (the second one past the door as you exit) dedicated to ridesharing apps like Uber, Uklon or Yandex Taxi.  You can easily download it on your phone, but it will be necessary to speak Russian.  Those options are the cheapest.

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