Cab Etiquette 101: Your Guide to a Fun, Hassle-Free Taxi Ride

For the first time, you’ve scheduled a taxi cab to take you from place to place. You need a ride to the airport, or perhaps you’ve planned a night out on the town with your friends. Regardless of the occasion, you need to know how to interact with your taxi driver so you don’t feel confused, frustrated, or embarrassed.

Below, we’ve outlined the basics of taxi etiquette. Use these tips to ensure you have the best possible experience during your ride.

1.Do not eat anything during the ride.

You may not have had time to grab a bite before you ran out the door, but you shouldn’t bring your food into the taxi with you. The smell may make the driver uncomfortable, and if it smells particularly pungent, it could make future passengers uncomfortable as well. Smells tend to linger, especially if food spills. And if it spills, it could stain the upholstery as well, which costs the cab company money and temporarily hurts their image.

2.Keep drinks to a minimum.

Drinks don’t typically smell pungent the way food does, so some taxi drivers allow them. However, drinks tend to spill and stain more easily than food, so you should still avoid bringing a drink with you. Think of what coffee, cola, or wine would do to the cab’s upholstery. Cab companies have to pay to clean the stain, and sometimes they have to replace the upholstery with particularly bad stains.

3.Take all trash with you when you leave.

Think of the last time you entered a car covered with crumbs, food wrappers, and dirty tissues. Did you feel comfortable? Now imagine entering a cab that looks that way. You wouldn’t feel comfortable, and any following passengers won’t feel comfortable either. So remove the trash, even if you didn’t produce it.

4.Don’t ask your driver to take on too many passengers.

Perhaps you had a few friends or coworkers join your ride at the last minute. However, if you exceed the cab’s passenger limit, you can’t ask the driver to cram you in. Every passenger must have a seatbelt, and nobody can share one. Call a second cab or arrange for van or limo transport if your party can’t fit in a single cab.

5.Don’t ask your driver to speed or otherwise break the law.

You may need to hurry to reach your destination, but you can’t ask your taxi driver to run red lights, drive over the speed limit, or blow through stop signs to get you there on time. Your taxi driver must obey the law. Schedule an earlier ride if you worry about traffic or construction making you late.

6.Refrain from PDA and other disruptive behavior.

You shouldn’t distract your driver or make him or her uncomfortable. The taxi is his or her office, so you should respect it as such. You may have normal conversations at normal volumes, but you may not exhibit public displays of affection, say insensitive comments, or act recklessly. Keep the atmosphere respectful.

7.Do not yell or become frustrated if traffic puts you behind schedule.

Again, your drive can’t do anything about traffic, accidents, construction, or other obstacles. If you become frustrated, direct your feelings at the obstacle. Your driver likely feels as frustrated as you do, so if you begin yelling, you’ll only make his or her tension worse.

8.Be polite, but brief, if you don’t want to chat.

Sometimes taxi drivers like to get to know their passengers. However, if you don’t feel like chatting, keep your answers shortmaybe one or two words long. Short answers signal that you don’t want to talk, so your driver should leave you alone. You can also politely state that you don’t feel like conversation.
Conversely, your driver may feel the same way if you want to talk. Give him or her space and call someone on the phone if you really need someone to talk to.

9.Let your driver know if you have a preferred route.

Most taxi drivers won’t “take you for a drive.” Instead, they’ll take you on the most direct route. But if you worry and you’ve already chosen your preferred route, tell your driver. He or she will happily accommodate you in most situations. If your driver disagrees about the route’s convenience, he or she will let you know.

10.Let your driver know if the music is too loud.

Again, the cab acts as the driver’s office space, so he or she gets to pick the music. However, you can ask him or her to turn the volume down.

11.Give enough warning before you arrive at your destination.

Sudden stops and swerves often prove dangerous. So if your preferred drop-off location approaches, give your drive sufficient warning so he or she can safely move over.

12.Leave a tip. 

Just like you tip at a restaurant, you tip in a taxi as well. Give a 10% tip for basic service, but if your driver helps you with bags, leave a larger tip.

Take the steps above to keep your taxi ride pleasant and respectful. If you have any questions about fares, group options, or other considerations, contact your taxi company.