“Hey, Taxi”. It seems that most people have either said or heard the term. Taxis have been around even longer than cars themselves, shuttling just about everyone around the planet to their destinations. They are iconic vehicles in our society and nearly impossible to miss. Even the moniker “Taxi” has been used as the title for television shows and movies. It is the de facto universal term for catching a ride. “Taxi” is a shortened term for the word “Taxicab”. It’s one of the very rare words used in the human language that can be broken down into two parts (“Taxi” and “Cab”) but still be understood by everyone using either part of the name.
A taxicab can come in nearly any shape or size imaginable. Normal ones have at least four doors but can be as large as an ultra-long stretch limousine, capable of carrying at least 16 people. As you’d no doubt expect, taxis are more numerous in large cities. Although, New York City, New York currently has the most cabs anywhere in the United States at nearly 13,600 to serve its 8.55-million people, it’s still not the “Taxi Capital” of America. That title currently belongs to one of the smallest cites in the USA, in Bethel, Alaska. Bethel has 93 taxicabs serving the city’s 5,800 occupants, and according to latimes.com, that boils down to 1 taxi per every sixty-two residents. Competition must be pretty fierce there.
But what do you really know about taxicabs and their drivers? Read on and educate yourself.
20 That’s A Lot Of Dough: What The Taxi Industry Is Worth
They’ve had a real stranglehold on the rider’s market forever it seems, but with newer alternative ride-share companies nipping steadily away at them, the taxi business has taken a real hit as of late. Still, as far as getting people where they need to go, the taxicab is still king.
Worldwide, the taxi business is worth something like $108-billion-dollars says Market Watch.
That a pretty big chunk of change when you really think about it. Especially when you consider the relatively small amount of taxis New York City has, compared to a city like Mexico City, Mexico, where there are a reported 100,000 taxis out and about every single day.
19 Travel A Mile In My Taxi: What Cars Make The Best Taxi
Depending on where in the world the taxi driver is will tell you the most popular model of car for the job. In the USA, that could range anywhere from a family-size car to a stretch limo. These days, drivers prefer something roomy enough for four adults and their luggage. Many drivers are also opting for minivans, anything equivalent to the Dodge Caravan or better, which offers superior room and comfort as opposed to a normal car. If it’s a car, then something close to a Ford Crown Victoria. Some taxi companies provide their own fleet of vehicles, normally leasing the car for the driver and getting a cut of the driver’s profits for the day. Most drivers opt to provide their own cars, and the cab company will take care of any company colors and branding. The most popular brand in the USA so far seems to be the Ford Escape.
18 How Long Can It Last? Interesting Taxi Odometer Readings
Since driving is the taxi driver’s lifeblood, they have to make sure to take care of their vehicles. If it’s a company-owned car, then there’s no real worries about maintenance related issues. If the taxi is privately owned, the driver needs to see to it that nothing goes wrong with the vehicle. Luckily, the mileage isn’t as high as one might think.
Auto Trader says the average per-year mileage for a taxi in a place like New York City is around 70,000-miles.
The venerable Ford Escape Hybrid so far is the King of Taxis in that city, with some recording 350,000-600,000 miles in as little as 5-6 years says Auto Trader. That’s not accounting for frequent oil changes, normal wear and tear or other issues.
17 Bring It On: Taxis Have Stiff Competition
Uber and Lyft may be the big boys of the ridesharing parade for now, but don’t think they don’t have their own up and coming competition. Uber by far is the largest rideshare company with a reported net worth of around sixty-billion dollars. Lyft is holding their own with about eleven-billion dollars in net worth. Both companies’ worth is set to explode exponentially within ten years or so. Market Watch mentions that the funny thing is, neither Uber nor Lyft are actually making money at the moment. I think this is mostly because they are still building their respective networks and creating brand awareness by giving away a lot of discounted and free rides. Those two companies might have future competition from newer rideshare businesses like Via, Curb, Gett, and Ztrip sooner that they might want to.
16 Hold On Tight: Taxi Driver Requirements Vs Ride Share
The basic reason for the rise of ride-share companies is that under their regulations, no one has to be an expert to drive for them. Each state, and sometimes the city within, sets their own rules and requirements for taxi drivers. For a taxi driver these regulations normally include a good driving record along with a criminal background check, along with a valid state driver’s license.
Most taxi drivers are also required to have certain endorsements such as taxi or chauffeur attached to their regular license.
If the taxi driver is required to drive a larger than normal vehicle, they will need a CDL endorsement and sometimes a defensive driving course certification. Ride-share guys like Uber and Lyft just need a license, insurance and a background check.
15 Where To: Taxis Can And Will Go Anywhere
A taxi will take you anywhere from down the street to across the country if you want them too. The longest taxi ride ever recorded was a trip of over 43,000 miles. The bill came to a staggering $105,000. It was performed by three university friends from England, and took them 15 months to complete, according to Guinness World Records. The trip went around the world through many countries. Luckily for the friends, they didn’t have to foot the bill. It was all done for a charity stunt with the friends hoping to raise around $25,000. They were about $5,000 dollars short when they reached their home soil.
14 Tell It Like It Is: What People Confess Would Amaze Anyone
Turns out, people love to talk to cab drivers. The only scientific reason for this might be the old saying about how people find it easier to talk to a total stranger rather than someone they know. Maybe it’s a guilt thing, I just don’t know. Sometimes the customer is just having a bad day and are in need of a good cry. Sometimes customers try to hail a cab after they just robbed a bank. A guy named Michael Ciaccio tried this trick after allegedly robbing a Queens bank in New York, according to the New York Post. But no taxis would stop for him, probably seeing how he had red paint all over him, just like an exploding ink pack from a money bag might look like.
13 Turn Here, Turn There: Backseat Drivers Lose Every Time
Admit it: Backseat drivers are the WORST! What if you had to listen to 40 or 50 different ones every day? Yep, it would make you irritable too. For those people who think they are a living, breathing GPS, I’ve got news for you: You are not.
Taxi drivers know their jobs extremely well.
How a customer can sit in the backseat yelling and screaming at the driver to turn this way and that way always baffles me. As soon as the driver gives in and takes that turn you insisted on, his GPS recommending that he NOT go that way, and the taxi gets stopped because of even more traffic or construction, what happens? The backseat driver starts yelling and screaming again. Which is why any taxi driver with an ounce of good sense will not listen to a backseat driver. He’ll instead trust his LIVE GPS and get you where you want to go in a much quicker time.
12 Panic At The Disco: How Taxi’s Alert Help When They Need To
Taxi drivers are far from stupid. If you as a customer, think you are just going to start getting all crazy in a taxi, that would be one of the biggest mistakes you could make. Most Taxi drivers these days normally have forward and rear facing cameras, recording your every move and words. Taxi’s also have panic buttons they can use if needed. Some can send an automated message back to the dispatcher, who can radio for assistance. The panic buttons also activate lights from the fron and back of the vehicle, whether day or night, alerting people and any passing police that they are in trouble.
11 Pick Me Up: Drivers Might Not Give A Ride
I love to read the social media pages sometimes just to see who’s complaining about something they alleged happened to them. If it concerns a taxi, it’s normally about how one refused to pick up a passenger. Then said passenger hops on Facebook or whatever, ranting on and on about how they are a victim for whatever reason they see fit to post (using all caps, of course), trying to see if they can get their so-called virtual friends to condemn the taxi driver and his company. If no one realizes it, a taxi driver is normally a contractor. That means they don’t have to pick up anyone they feel is too drunk, too crazy or that they feel are a threat to their safety. That’s it, I’m done.
10 Lost And Found: What Drivers Find In The Back Seat
From what I’ve read, people leave all sorts of stuff in the back of a taxi.
Even if I were to use London, England as an example, I could report that 190,000 people leave their phones in the back of a taxi every year.
That’s an untold amount of money lost, as well as the inconvenience of replacing a phone. During Hurricane Harvey in Houston, TX a taxi driver found a hawk in the backseat that refused to leave, as it was so frightened by the storm, according to the IBTimes UK YouTube channel. From child seats to large sums of money, from expensive jewelry to suitcases, its pretty unpredictable what’ll be left behind in a taxi when the customer is in a hurry.
9 Want Fries With That: Taxi Drivers Know The Best Places To Eat
There’s places to get something to eat, and then there’s places to really get something to eat that you’ll remember for a long time to come. When you’re new in town and want to check out a great restaurant, just ask your local taxi driver where to go. I’ve tried this method many times, and I’ve never been taken to someplace that wasn’t fantastic. If you are visiting a fairly large city, then I would say the sky is the limit. From Asian to Moroccan, your taxi driver will take you to the real restaurants, not some fast food place to get chicken nuggets. Even smaller towns offer something to eat that can truly be special, if you know where to look.
8 Scenic Or Direct: The Definition Of Long Haul
If you are not familiar with the term “Long Hauling”, be sure to read this. Long Hauling, according to Time Magazine, means that the taxi driver is running a scam. The driver takes an unnecessary route to your intended destination. It’s a deliberate attempt to get more money out of you by running up the fare. The Las Vegas Review-Journal thinks that long hauling has reached near-epidemic levels. This is especially true at popular destinations like Las Vegas, because they claim the taxi driver figures that if you are a visitor, that you wouldn’t know Vegas from the Grand Canyon.
7 Say Cheese: Most Drivers Know Who’s Going To Skip A Fare
It’s a shame that people will try to catch a taxi and then refuse to pay once they get to their destination. For the most part, Taxi drivers know who’s going to pay them for their time and who is not.
It really has nothing to do with what someone wears or how they look.
Talking with several local taxi drivers in my city revealed some interesting information. They basically said when they think someone isn’t going to pay them, their destination is in an unusual area, somewhere not too far from, but not too near their intended destination. Of course, a taxi driver knows where the popular spots are and are ready if someone decides they want to skip on the fare. Most of these people don’t think about the fact that they are probably being recorded. Those pics can be instantly sent out to other drivers and if caught, the taxi thief will be banned from all taxi services in the future.
6 Chill, Dude: Drivers Know Exactly What To Say
If you’ve ever wondered why taxi drivers can speak calmly to even a highly agitated person, it all basically boils down to years of experience. Everyone has had a really bad day when things didn’t seem to go right no matter what. Some people’s lives are literally like that Alanis Morissette song, “Ironic”. I’ve even read reports like the one in New York Daily where a passenger was so upset that her taxi driver stopped, ran into a store and brought her a bottle of water. So, if you’ve ever been calmed down by a guy or gal driving a cab, you are definitely not alone. Keeping a passenger chilled out is best for all parties involved.
5 Driver’s Usually Never Start The Conversation
It might be an unwritten rule, but most taxi drivers stick to not starting a conversation with a passenger. Most cab drivers will tell you (if you ask) that people don’t like the perception that they are being forced into conversation. Although I’ve read a few reports that mentions some customers being upset because their driver didn’t say a word to them, I think that those are the passengers who simply don’t know proper Cab etiquette. Cabbies try to avoid offending their passengers, so things that might not be discussed even if the passenger brings it up are politics, weather and religion, according to Brightside.me.
4 Who Down-Arrowed Me: Passengers Are Rated Too
I bet most passengers are not aware that they are being rated just as much as their drivers. Much as they would like to think otherwise, passengers are NOT the have all, end all ratings taker in the Taxi world. Yes, taxi drivers really like and appreciate customer ratings.
Praise or criticism are effective tools to let a driver know what he or she is doing right, and where to make improvement.
Likewise, passengers are rated just as easily. A driver could award a free ride if he wished or give the passenger a heavy discount. It just depends. Plus, they could mention a regular customer to other drivers as being safe, or nice or a good tipper.
3 Driving Can Be A Dangerous Game
Safety should be the number one concern as far as taxi drivers and their passengers are concerned. A lot of drivers lease their car from the cab company and are responsible for the maintenance. Passengers shouldn’t assume that the taxi they requested are the newest model whatever. Drivers: if you need to get those brakes fixed, then please do. One passenger on cracked.com wrote about his taxi’s brakes being so bad, that the stopping distance on a dry road was nearly half a block. Passengers: if your taxi has more dents in it than a stepped on soda can, think very carefully before hopping in.
2 Cash Or Credit: Can Be A Big Difference In What A Driver Makes
Sometimes what you tip a cab driver isn’t really the end of it. Sometimes the driver’s company will keep a portion of a tip, citing whatever reason they want to.
This is very evident about ride-sharing companies like Uber, who have placed a cap on tips a driver can receive.
Is that crazy or what? I mean, if a passenger had an unusual trip request, why shouldn’t the driver not receive whatever tip the passenger want him or her to receive? According to ridester.com, Uber says it’s to protect passengers who might type in too many zeros. But the app could be tweaked to ask for extra permission to exceed regular tip caps.
1 They Love Me, They Love Me Not: How Drivers Really Feel
Cab drivers are just like anyone else. The ones I’ve spoken to seem to really like what they do. It gets them out of the house and the salary helps to pay bills. From what I’ve researched so far, the average taxi driver likes their customers very much, and they like the fact that they help out someone just trying to get to wherever they need to be. The drivers seem to know that you’ll get a lot further with people using honey instead of salt. They realize that sometimes it can be an absolutely thankless job, but they also know that sometimes they can really change the outcome of someone’s day, simply by getting them to their destinations safely and with a smile.
Sources: ridester.com; nypost.com; Brightside.me