Janek Rubeš was named Personality of the Year 2017

The video journalist is still trying to stop overcharging by taxis and exchange places

Investigative video journalist Janek Rubeš was named Personality of the Year 2017 in the Křišťálová Lupa Awards for the best Czech internet projects and personalities of the year.

Rubeš is best-known to expats and tourists as the host of the series Honest Guide, which recently has been taking on the issue of exchange offices that give bad rates. Before that, he was involved in a series called Praha vs. prachy (Prague versus Crooks), which in part exposed taxi drivers who overcharge. Both series were made for Stream.cz

He says the issue of corrupt taxi drivers persists, and he would put concrete anti-terrorist barriers where rogue taxi drivers stand in the downtown area to get them out of the city center.

In an interview for Stream.cz’s show Výzva after winning the award, Rubeš pointed out one of the dishonest taxi drivers he uncovered during his time making Prague versus Crooks in 2015 is still in operation. In the most famous sequence from the series, a taxi driver gets into a violent scuffle with Rubeš when the journalist points out that the fare being charged is much higher than it should be.

“[He] still drives and parks in the stand next to the City Hall every Thursday and Friday evening. He does not drive at the normal price, and he only takes foreigners,” Rubeš said. The taxi driver charged Kč 600 for a three-kilometer ride. The rates in Prague are Kč 40 to start the ride and Kč 28 for each kilometer. A three-kilometer ride should cost Kč 124.

“Tourists are not used to being in the city center,” Rubeš said, adding that they are not familiar with the exchange rate, taxi prices or typical restaurant prices.

Rubeš previously told Prague.TV that some of the taxi cases he exposed led to legal action against specific drivers, but he wished that the videos would have had more of an impact because the problem still gives the city a bad international reputation. Still, he praised the police for the extensive investigation that they did do.

City Hall this year launched a poster campaign to warn people about dishonest drivers and also has had several crackdowns on dishonest drivers including one following a protest by taxi drivers that blocked traffic to the airport.

More recently, Rubeš has been trying to get exchange offices that give very poor rates closed, and he has been making videos warning people about specific exchanges.

Aside from exchange places in the city center, he has been trying to warn people about the ones at Václav Havel Airport Prague. He claims that stores and fast food chains there offer much better rates. He has been trying to work with the city- and state-run tourism agencies to address the situation.

Similar to exchange offices, he has also recently been trying to warn people about changing money on the street, which amazingly some tourists still do. Typically people get money from other countries that have had high inflation so a high-denomination banknote is worth next to nothing.

He also in his Honest Guide videos points out places downtown where people can get good deals on beer and food, and find interesting places off the beaten track, so his work isn’t all doom and gloom.

He told the show Výzva that he does not know what big topic he will take on next, as his focus now is on exchange offices. But something is sure to come up.

Video on YouTube

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