Need a Taxi? There’s an App for That!

Apps on smartphones and tablets have made our lives much more convenient. We can order pizza, make credit card payments, catch up on our favorite shows, and search for services in our area. We can book flights and hotels, find museums, and file insurance claims. Our entire lives can change with a single finger tap.

But did you know that you can use an app to get a taxi, too? The NexTaxi app allows you to call a taxi in many cities in the United States and Canada, letting you get from place to place without worrying about finding a ride or a parking space.

How Does It Compare to Normal Taxi Services?

If you don’t have an app, you have a couple of options when you need a taxi.

On the Phone

If you know the name of the taxi-cab company, you could look up its phone number online (or in the phonebook if you still have one). When you call the company, you can specify the destination in advance. The company will send a taxi to your home, and you take the taxi wherever you need to go, like a train station or airport.

On the Street

If you don’t have the name of the company or access to the internet or a phone book, you can go to the street and hail a taxi there. However, this process takes a little effort, and you have no guarantee of getting a taxi when you need one. Here’s what you should know:

If a taxi approaches you along the street, look at the roof light:

• Does it have only the medallion in the center of its light lit? Or does the entire light flash? This usually means this cab can take more passengers.

• Is the entire light on? This often means that the taxi-driver has gone off-duty and might not be obligated to pick you up.

• Has the light turned off? This usually means the driver has filled the taxi and is on its way to deliver a passenger to a particular destination.

However, cab companies in many cities use different signals. If you have any questions, ask a local or look a little harder for the cab company’s phone number.

If you spot an available cab, use these signals to hail the driver:

1. Find a clear area where the driver can easily see you. If you can, safely step off the sidewalk and into the street.

2. Stick your arm into the air with flare. You want the driver to see you, so wave your arm a bit if you feel the need.

3. Make eye contact with the driver. This lets the driver know you mean to wave him or her over. If the taxi can take you, the driver should nod or start the blinker.

If the driver pulls over to pick you up, make sure you have an actual address to give him or her, not a place name. If you need to make multiple stops, tell the driver when you get in, and make sure you have enough money to pay the fare and leave a tip. You can pay with a credit card if you want, but you may find it more convenient to pay with cash.

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