Taxi Cab Etiquette – The Do’s and Don’ts of Back Seat Driving
Taxi cab etiquette may not seem of the utmost importance – you don’t need it to get through dinner with the new in-laws, for example – but for those who travel frequently, knowing what and what not to do in a taxi cab is essential. From knowing how much to tip to knowing what to do if you have a complaint, riding in taxi cabs can involve walking a fine line between getting from point A to point B or getting asked to get out and walk. The following offers tips on how to behave as a backseat driver.
Get an Idea of the Cost: Different cab companies can charge different rates, particularly in different cities. A cab in Boulder, Colorado may be relatively cheap while one in New York City may almost require you to put your first born child down as a payment. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to know what you are getting into before you get into it. Instead of just flagging down a cab and giving the driver the address of your destination, ask them how much it will be. They won’t likely be able to give you an exact number – unless they have flat rates – but they can easily give you a ballpark figure. This will help you to determine if you want to take a cab or if you would rather find some other means of transportation.
Ask for an Hourly Rate: If you find yourself in a situation where you need your cab driver to take you to a variety of places – perhaps from the airport to your hotel and onto a convention center – ask about an hourly rate. Not only may an hourly rate be cheaper, but it will also free you of the stress that comes from keeping the meter running. If you need the cab to wait for you while you run into your hotel and change, an hourly rate will allow you to be less in a hurry and less likely to forget something as you run out the door.
Don’t Grow Impatient: A cab stuck in traffic is frustrating, but it’s not the cab drivers fault. Getting angry, frustrated, or huffing and puffing in the backseat isn’t going to take care of the jam that is blocking traffic. Along these lines, asking the driver if they can go any faster – when the cars surrounding them are barely moving – won’t succeed in anything, other than making you come across as condescending. Instead of growing inpatient with the cab driver over circumstances beyond their control, control your own circumstances: give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
Don’t Forget to Tip: Taxi drivers probably aren’t in it for the money; they aren’t rolling, nor driving, in the doe. For this reason, it’s important to give them a decent tip; what they make in tips may account for a good portion of their overall salary. Usually, it’s best to tip a cab driver what you would tip a waiter or a waitress: between 15 and 20 percent of the overall bill. If the cab driver was exceptionally good – if he took a short cut to get you to an urgent meeting, for example – then tip him more. If he was rude or made a point of going ridiculously slow when there was no traffic, then don’t feel too guilty when you tip him less.
Write Down Information: Whenever you get inside a cab, it’s a good idea to write down relative information: the cab driver’s name, the cab’s number, the time, date, and destination of your route. This not only helps you in the instance you want to complain about service, but it also helps you get items returned if you happen to leave something in the backseat. Calling the cab company and saying that all you know is that the cab was yellow will probably get you nowhere.
Jennifer Jordan is a senior editor for [http://turbocellcharge.com]. A professional business traveler, she aims to make business trips feel less like work. She also has a healthy collection of hotel shampoos….and a shower cap or two.