If you’ve ever taken a taxi in Panama City you have probably heard the words “no voy“. These are two words I dread when trying to get around town. “No voy” basically means, “nope, not gonna take you there”, when uttered from the lips of a Panamanian taxi driver.
The law in Panama is that a taxi driver must take you to whatever location you request. Many, many cab drivers chose to ignore that rule. I’m not talking about asking the driver to take you to Santa Ana at 3 on a Saturday morning, they will refuse a simple trip from Calle 50 to the bus terminal at Albrook in the middle of the afternoon.
I can only assume since the cab drivers can pick and choose where they want to take you, that they must be very wealthy already or how would they be able to refuse a fare? Taxis have set rates they must follow, and this rate map is usually (okay, only sometimes) posted in the cabs as to avoid confusion. If you are asking a driver to take you to a remote location, there is a specific amount of money you will have to pay. Maybe the drivers don’t feel the rates are fair to certain areas so they refuse to take people.
On a recent trip to the city I left my car at home figuring it would be much easier just to hail a cab when I needed to get somewhere. Boy was I wrong. I would go out on a limb and say that 1/3 of all vehicles on the road in Panama City are taxis, but what good are they if they won’t take you where you need to go? I have stood on street corners hailing every passing cab, only to have 15 tell me “No Voy”!
I have had many visitors to Panama ask me what is the best way to get around Panama City. I would always recommend that people use taxis because they are plentiful and cheap. They are still plentiful and cheap, but don’t expect it to be easy to get to your destination.
|Written by Rebecca Tyre|
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