Taxi Cab Essentials: Getting One, Getting Where You Need To Go, And Keeping Your Driver Happy

Taxi cabs are strange things. Finding one that doesn't already have a fare can be like searching for unicorn poop, and hailing one that's empty requires the speed and agility of a puma. If you've ever had a hard time hailing a cab and getting to your destination on time, you aren't alone. Here are some helpful tips on how you can catch your cab, get where you need to go, and keep your driver on your good side.

Getting a taxi cab

The best way to hail a cab is to not have to hail one at all. Start by checking to see if your local cab company has an app you can use to schedule a pickup. If you don't know the name of a specific cab company, try the Taxi Magic app, which can help you find a taxi in over 60 U.S. cities. You could also call a local cab company like White Top Cab Company, and schedule a cab the old-fashioned way. Either way, make sure you are where you are supposed to be when it's time for your ride, or you could be left behind.

If you need a cab at a moment's notice, you'll have to get one the old-school way by hailing it on the street. Be aware, some techniques are more likely to get you a cab than others.

  • Avoid looking drunk, rowdy, sick or otherwise troublesome. That's not the ideal passenger your cabbie is looking for, and you could get passed by.
  • Hail the cab as soon as you see it, so it can make its way to you. It's difficult, and unsafe, for a taxi to pull to a stop quickly, so give the driver plenty of notice that he's needed.
  • You may need to step off the curb to get a cab's attention, especially if there's a lot of action on the sidewalk. Drivers can see you more clearly if you separate yourself from the hustle and bustle of the sidewalk, so step out as far as you safely can into the street to get a taxi driver's attention.

Getting where you need to go

Fortunately for you, any taxi driver worth their salt will know the city like the back of their hand. However, it helps tremendously if you know where you want to go before stepping into a cab. Try to be as clear as you can when giving them your destination, offering the address, general location, and any landmarks it might be close to. Many cab drivers will have a GPS or smartphone that they can rely on, or you can use your own to help them find their way to your destination.

It's okay to ask the fare in advance, but be prepared for a "flexible" answer. Traffic or bad weather conditions could slow down your ride, increasing the fare substantially. However, just remember that it's worth paying a few extra dollars to avoid having to schlep home in the rain.

Keeping your driver happy

Cab drivers are often underpaid, overworked, and generally stressed people, but they still provide a great service to people who can't or won't drive or use public transportation. It doesn't take a lot to make your driver happy, and it could even save you a few dollars if the driver likes you enough to take the shortest route to your destination.

  • Don't be rude or abusive to the driver. It's not nice, and your mother would not approve.
  • Do be clear about your destination, and don't change your mind halfway there, unless it's an early stop or an emergency.
  • Do tip your taxi driver, especially if they provided a good service. The standard is 15 to 20 percent of the fare, but feel free to give more if you feel the service was exceptional.

Remember these taxi cab essentials, and you'll have a great taxi experience, every time.