The Basics of Taxi Cab Etiquette

You’re en route to a faraway destination and waiting with baited breath for that moment when the pilot comes over the intercom to announce your landing-place is only minutes away. Your plane touches down and you hurriedly exit, itching to feel the warm air and feel the breeze of the ocean. You round the corner of the terminal and realize your trip just got a bit more complicated . . . you forgot to order a taxi.

Whether you’re traveling in a faraway place, or need a ride from the airport, taxis are an easy, safe, and affordable mode of transportation. Booking a taxi before you land can save you time, money, and the hassle of hailing a cab in a distant land. As a bonus, taxi cab drivers are usually more than willing to accommodate you and your traveling schedule-showing proper etiquette is a terrific way to pay back your driver in more than dollars and cents.

Be Proactive

Unless you’re traveling in a big city, taxi cabs are hard to come by. Be proactive and order your taxi beforehand to ensure you are picked up on time. Frustrations mount when people are forced to wait-save yourself the hassle and make sure you’ve given your taxi driver plenty of advance notice. Most taxi drivers and companies prefer to be called ahead of time (plan on a week or two).

If you are proactive, the first leg of your trip will go much smoother. Follow these tips to order a taxi before takeoff:

  • Research – Look online, read reviews, and decide which taxi driver and/or company is right for you.
  • Contact – Get in touch with the driver and/or company to determine whether your schedule lines up with theirs.
  • Book – Simply calling beforehand doesn’t necessarily ensure you’ll be picked up. However, once you book, the driver and/or company will be contractually obligated to service you.

 Be Specific

Once you’ve booked your taxi, keep in contact. Let your driver know exactly when and where your plane lands. If you have a change of plan, or the plane is delayed, contact the driver and/or company immediately. Consider this: waiting isn’t fun for anyone. If you prefer your taxi to show up at the right place on time, make sure the driver is informed of any changes in place or time.

When it comes time to stop at your destination, give your driver ample warning. Don’t scream or suddenly tell your driver to halt at a specific location-give specific directions and addresses when boarding your cab.

Be Prepared

Whether your taxi driver has five minutes’ or five weeks’ notice to pick you up, make sure you’re prepared. Once you’ve left the plane, keep your luggage close. Don’t wander around the airport and keep your driver waiting an unnecessary amount of time.

If your driver isn’t there waiting, you should wait by the curb until he or she arrives. And if your driver keeps your waiting for more than ten minutes, try to stay patient and assume the best-your driver might be stuck in traffic.

Be Honest

Don’t ever lie to your taxi driver. If you pre-order a taxi and promise to only have two people and two bags, but show up with double or triple the amount, your driver might become flustered and frustrated. Keep in mind that it’s illegal to overload a taxi cab and your driver won’t have to service you if you’re unwilling to be honest and law-abiding.

Be Considerate

Just because you’re using your taxi driver’s services, it doesn’t mean you should use your taxi driver. Be considerate and give your driver a hand when loading baggage and passengers. Instead of sitting back, relaxing, and watching your driver struggle with heavy bags, jump in and help. Many hands make light work-volunteer yours and you’ll be out of the airport faster than you can say “taxi!”

Be Patient

Are you stuck in traffic? If so, don’t automatically assume your driver is at fault. You can’t always depend on freeways and highways to get you somewhere on time. Be patient-take your driver’s ETA with a grain of salt and enjoy the window views of your taxi cab.

Be Polite

It doesn’t matter whether your driver can fluently speak English; be polite. Avoid the following while on the road:

  • Foul language
  • Backseat PDA
  • Shouting
  • Road rage
  • Backseat driving
  • Eating
  • Smoking
  • Loud music

Be Generous

Tip your driver to show your appreciation and respect. When it comes to taxi cab tipping, the general rule of thumb is 15-30%. Unless your driver was rude, impolite, or dangerous, be generous and tip as much as your budget allows.

If a vacation is in the works for you, make the most of your taxi ride and use these etiquette tips the next time you hop into a cab.

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