Cab drivers, especially in big cities such as New York, are often believed to be finicky. There seem to be some unwritten rules of how you should comport yourself when you get into the back of a cab. If you do not ride in taxis very often, you may find yourself lost when it comes to how you should behave. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to ensure that any cab you hop into will not turn into a negative experience. Here are five rules for taxi etiquette that everyone should abide by.
Keep Your Musical Taste to Yourself
Even if you've had a rough day like "The Dude," you should probably keep your musical opinions to yourself. The iconic scene in The Big Lebowski wherein the cab driver abruptly tosses the main character out of the cab for his hatred of the music is not too far from the truth.
The rule of thumb pertaining to a cab driver's musical choice is that you never tell him to turn it off. If the music is too loud, you can politely ask for him to turn it down, but don't expect him to comply every time. Think of it as his place of business and he can do whatever he wants.
How Do You Say That?
America is a melting pot of different cultures and ethnic groups, which applies heavily to the world of taxis. Many cab drivers are from all walks of life, and may have names that are difficult for your average American to pronounce. If you do not know how to say a cab driver's name, just revert to "Sir" or "Ma'am" to get your point across.
The worst thing you can possibly do in this scenario is refer to the driver as "Mr. Taxi Driver." Not only is that insulting, but it can be denigrating. How would you feel if someone came to your work and called you "Mr. Cubicle Worker"?
He's Not Your Personal Chauffeur
If you are taking a cab, you should know that it is uncouth to make a bunch of pit stops along the way. It doesn't matter if you are stopping to pick something up or picking up a few of your buddies down the road. The taxi cab is not a clown car, and the driver is not your personal chauffeur. You'd be wise to take separate cabs.
Not only does this put the driver in a spot of inconvenience, it is also illegal to have more than four people in a cab at once.
Chow Down Elsewhere
So, you're slammed at work and your lunch break has been cut short. You may think that grabbing a quick bite and eating it in the cab will save you some extra time. Unbeknownst to you, this is one of the biggest pet peeves that cab drivers harbor towards their customers.
The back of a cab is not your personal restaurant, so never eat any meal in the back. Rather you realize it or not, cab drivers have to clean the back seat of their cabs very frequently throughout the day. The last thing they want to see is a plethora of microscopic crumbs to get rid of before they pick up their next customer.
Know How to Tip
A good way for a cab driver to know never to pick you up again is how much you tip. While the industry standard in restaurants might be something like 15%, you might want to tip your cabbie a little bit more.
In fact, the most common tip amounts for cabbies in New York are 20%, 21%, and 22%. This is pretty much the norm these days, and tipping anything less puts you at risk of being on the bad side of the cab driver. You should also note that if you are paying by credit card, gratuity is usually included in your bill. So, make sure you do the right thing or else the cabbie might just pick his own tip!
A taxi can be an extremely convenient way to get yourself from point A to point B without the hassle of wasting gas or riding the subway. However, if you do not know how to properly behave when a cabbie picks you up, you are in for a bad time. Follow these rules and you will ensure that your chances of having a negative experience in a taxi are diminished.
To learn more about taxi and other public transportation etiquette, visit San Gabriel Transit.