If you have never ridden in a taxi before, then you may feel a little nervous about the experience. While it is understandable to feel that way, the good news is that you really don't have anything to worry about while riding in a cab. Mostly, all you need to do is just be yourself, and the experience will be unremarkable and perhaps even pleasant. That said, below are a few hints that can help make your first taxicab ride as enjoyable as possible.
Let the driver take care of the route unless you have a strong preference
One concern that rookie taxicab passengers may have about their first trip is ensuring the driver gets them to their correct location. However, it is reassuring to remember that taxi drivers are professionals and are experts at navigating throughout their locales. That means you should not feel compelled to attempt to "help" the driver by providing them with route information or directions of any kind. In fact, some drivers may wrongly construe your efforts as a lack of confidence, so sit back and enjoy the ride.
There are instances when you should provide a suggested route, such as if you want to sightsee a bit, or if you don't like riding freeways, for example. However, it is best to keep these requests limited in scope, as you may frustrate the driver with complicated instructions.
Be courteous to future passengers and the driver
Another way to enjoy your ride to its fullest is by exercising ordinary courtesies while inside the cab. Don't allow yourself to be rude or engage in inappropriate behavior that would fall outside the confines of what is acceptable in everyday society. Here are a few specific things to keep in mind:
Don't eat or drink inside the cab - While drivers probably won't mind if you sip on a soft drink or from a covered coffee cup, avoid eating while inside the taxi. The smell be objectionable to the driver and future passengers, and there is also a significant risk of spills and staining. In addition, do not consume alcoholic beverages inside a cab; while it may be legal in some areas of the country, depending on state and local laws, the act may offend the driver, nonetheless, and may also result in a messy spill.
Keep your conversation at an appropriate level - It is perfectly acceptable to engage in conversation and enjoy the company of others while riding in a cab. However, it is also important to keep your voice volume at a level appropriate for an enclosed space. Being too loud can distract drivers and make it difficult for them to maintain focus on the road.
Act like you would in front of your mother - It is never a good idea to use profanity, slurs, and other crude language inside a taxi, and making close interpersonal contact with others inside a cab is also taboo. Keeping your intimate moments in a private venue will benefit your driver and lead to less-awkward situations for everyone.
Don't feel obligated to engage in small talk
For some persons, the thought of getting into a vehicle with a stranger and not knowing whether to engage in conversation or be silent is uncomfortable. However, you can relax if you feel unsure about what to do. Most cab drivers are happy to chit-chat with their passengers if they are inclined to do so; however, drivers are also content to be silent and leave their passengers to themselves if they desire. While you don't need to be discourteous, simply acting disinterested in a conversation is a good cue to a driver that you wish to be left alone.
Provide a driver with a gratuity for a job well-done
One of the most pressing questions that new riders have about cabs is regarding the amount to tip their driver. As with many service occupations, a gratuity is recognition for a job well-done and should be extended to a driver who provides safe, comfortable, and expedient service. The standard tipping amount is fifteen percent, but also be prepared to tip an additional dollar or two for extra assistance such as baggage handling or opening the door to a building.
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