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Travel Advice From New York Cabbie

Big city cab drivers have seen it all when it comes to customer behavior and they know what works for the customer and for them when it comes to using this popular form of urban transportation.

Here are some helpful suggestions from an anonymous but very busy New York City cab driver.

The universal way to catch a cab is to hold your arm up and straight out. Many taxi drivers play the stereo or wear headphones so they are not likely to hear whistles or passengers yelling “taxi” on the street. It is also in your best interest to try and hail a taxi from as close to the sidewalk as you can to avoid stepping out into oncoming traffic. You should also try to call a taxi from a more visible position on a street corner and not step out onto the road in between parked cars.

Whenever you need a taxi to airport or taxi from airport you need to negotiate the airport service flat fee with the taxi driver before you get into the cab. This can prevent misunderstandings about your airport taxi service later during the ride.

If you want to get to the airport on time it is best to call for an airport taxi. Booking the taxi 24 hours in advance is the best idea as sometimes cab companies do get busy and drop the ball when it comes to picking up people on time. Yet another reason why bookings to the airport with taxi companies’ sometimes backfire is because of bad weather which generally means more demand and more traffic.

If you are trying to hail a cab remember that it is the policy of most taxi companies to leave the plastic signage on top of the roof of the cab lit up. Then when the taxi already has a fare the light is turned off to indicate that it is not available to pick up new passengers.

If the taxi has a sign in the back that says No Smoking then you need to abide by this rule. This is because in many countries you can be fined for disobeying this law. Rolling down the window and smoking is an even worse idea as it makes you even more visible to passing police who can choose to fine you.

Not all cabs have seatbelts, but if you are sitting in the back seat and your taxi does have them, then it is a good idea to put it on. This is especially true if your taxi is going to be traveling along local highways or in bad weather.

Do you suspect that the meter is rigged? In general a meter should only click over to the next cost unit every four or five blocks. If it is clicking over once a block then it is probably rigged to rip you off.

In terms of tipping it is customary to leave between 15% to 20% of the total fare as a tip. If you are not satisfied you do have the option of leaving no tip, but it is recommend that you leave a tip that is around 5 to 10% instead.

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