Despite Uber and Lyft taking the forefront of modern transportation services, travelers still see tax drivers sitting in line at the airport pickup. Airport taxi drivers have a bad rep when it comes to charging, but they have a bit more to offer in terms of safety and professionalism. Taxi drivers are employed by companies, meaning they have been strategically vetted so that you will feel safe. After all, you are trusting a complete stranger behind the wheel.
If you feel a little uneasy about ordering a taxi in today's society, you wouldn't be the first. While there are plenty of horrific Uber stories available on the internet, taxi drivers tend to have more of an inscrutable air about them. Here are ten secrets airport taxi drivers don't want you to know about them.
10 They Charge Tourists More
If you are picked up at an airport by a taxi driver, they might assume that you are a tourist (even if you're not). Under this presumption, taxi drivers may opt to take the scenic route in order to get the most money out of their ride. If you are a tourist and have pre-planned a taxi ride to your first destination, take some time to familiarize yourself with the lay of the land. Open up your own GPS and make sure that the taxi driver is taking the quickest route possible.
9 They Need A GPS
Despite the fact that taxi drivers are typically familiar with the city they're working in, they will still use a GPS. They won't have it on display, but they made have to reference it from time to time. They will do this to ensure they are heading to the right location and as a way to see how long they can keep the meter on for.
8 They Can Refuse Service
The Taxi Bill of Rights gives drivers the right to refuse service. Airport passengers who immediately give them a bad vibe or are simply rude can be asked to leave the vehicle. They can also refuse intoxicated riders who they fear might leave a mess in their cab. Their car needs to be in workable conditions in order to accept passengers. And if you leave upchuck in their backseat, that's hours of cleaning that digs into their earnings.
And if you're thinking about calling to complain about this refusal of service, chances are the taxi company will have their driver's back.
7 They Charge For Traffic Delays
Taxi drivers thrive in overcrowded cities like New York and Los Angeles that have a reputation for traffic delays. There isn't much they can do about bumper to bumper traffic, so there's no use in stressing over the climbing meter.
Even if you have been sitting in traffic for four hours, your taxi driver will keep the meter on because, technically, they are still working as your driver. However, what's important to note is that some taxi drivers will intentionally find a way to these streets knowing that it will result in a higher fare.
6 You Might Want To Watch The Meter
On that note, travelers may want to periodically keep track of their taxi driver's meter. When you are first picked up at the airport, be sure to see that the meter starts at zero. Then throughout your trip, check to make sure that the meter didn't spike a considerable amount. This is a sure sign that your taxi driver has meddled with the meter in order to hand you a pricey bill. They can also claim that the meter is "broken" and give their passengers a hefty price point to suit their needs.
5 They Can Contact The Cops Instantly
In the event that a taxi driver feels threatened or on edge, they have the means to contact the cops quickly. Some cabs have a panic button installed so that all they have to do is press it in order to get some backup. An amber light will emit from the front, side, and rear of the cab so that passengers are none the wiser. Some might also use this handy feature if a passenger is refusing to pay the total amount.
4 Their Cabs Are Disgusting
While taxi drivers have some responsibility to keep their cars pleasantly clean, it's not entirely their duty. Taxicab companies will work to clean their line of cars in bulk, though this isn't done on a regular basis.
Because of this, most taxi cabs are disgusting. It may not be on the surface level, but there are sure to be some long-forgotten messes in the crevices of the seats.
3 They Listen To Your Conversation
Most airport taxi drivers are friendly and will try to offer a bit of small talk for the ride. However, if you decide to talk on the phone or to another passenger instead, they're probably eavesdropping on your conversation. Long rides with no one to talk to can get boring, so your conversation is their only source of entertainment. So be sure not to share pertinent information because it is most definitely not falling on deaf ears.
2 You Can Negotiate
This little secret is one that taxi drivers definitely don't want their passengers to know. Negotiation is a fair tactic that can be used on taxi drivers, though truthfully, few fail to give in. The best way to get a taxi driver to lower their price is by pointing out the number of other airport taxi drivers nearby or deliberate on taking an Uber.
1 They Don't Carry Change
Although digital payments are the norm nowadays, anyone who decides to pay their cab driver in cash should do so with caution. Cab drivers tend to not carry change with them because most people pay by card or under the pretense that they will be robbed. However, taxi drivers also use this method as a way to give themselves a tip. No change means you're out of luck and the extra money goes directly into the driver's pocket.