taxicab customer information


Thousands of people ride cabs every day. Many are first-time or occasional riders.
SOME do not fully understand everthing about this potentially delightful experience.


Your fare is determined by the meter; amounts quoted over the phone
or by drivers before the trip are usually estimates based on mileage,
and do not include waiting/traffic delay time.

The meter calculates the fare based on flag drop, mileage, and waiting time.

The flag drop is a beginning amount added when the meter
is turned on. (the old mechanical meters had a flag-handle which was up when
the meter was off and the cab was available, and down when hired)
while mileage rates are posted by the whole mile,
the meter actually divides the mile into fractions. for example, 20 cents per
1/6 mile comes out to $1.20 per mile.

Waiting time, also called traffic delay time, is added by
the meter when the cab is stopped or moving very slowly.
the driver's time is valuable, and he or she must be compensated
if your trip, however short, takes longer due to stops or traffic.
on most trips this will be a small percentage
of the fare. if traffic is heavy or if you stop along the way,
the fare will be higher.

A typical time rate is 30 cents per minute, which would be $18.00
per hour. since, at normal speeds, you could go 30 to 50 miles
in an hour, the time rate is much lower than the mileage rate.

Many people believe that, if the driver turns the meter off, he or she
can charge less and still make more money.
Under the old commission system this was once true,
although the driver risked fines and suspension by doing so.

Most cabs now are leased by the driver at a set rate per shift.
There is no savings by not running the meter. you are only asking the driver
to take a cut in pay for your trip. Would you take a pay cut on
your job just because someone asked you to?

If you think a cab's meter is inaccurate and overcharging you, note the cab's
number (usually painted on the side and/or rear of the cab), and phone the cab company.
tell them exactly where you were picked up and dropped, and any delay or waiting
time on your trip. if the company determines that the fare should have been
significantly lower, you should be compensated for the difference.

However, you should know how to calculate distance in your city and the meter rate
before jumping to conclusions. Remember that the same trip can vary from one
time to the next depending on traffic delay.


Tipping is, by definition, optional, but it is the socially correct response to
someone who gives you good and courteous service. It will, as intended,
encourage your driver to give you equally good or better service
next time.

The ideal amount of the tip will vary. for relatively long trips in which
no extra service is needed, the basic 15 to 20% would be reasonable.
if the driver has helped you with luggage, groceries, packages, wheelchair,
etc., or given other extra service, a bigger tip would be appreciated.
if you were picked up in an outlying area or in a hard-to-find place, remember
that the driver probably spent extra time to come to you,
and reward him or her appropriately.

If your trip was short (less than 5 miles), then the proportion of
uncompensated mileage and time is much higher. This means the
driver makes minimal profit on the meter fare, since he or she is
paying for time and gasoline.
A higher tip percentage will help make your call more attractive
next time.

Of course, if you received poor or uncourteous service, you should
not only not tip but explain (politely) to the driver why you were
dissatisfied. In extreme cases you should also call the company back
and report it. note the cab's number printed on the sides and rear of the cab,
and the time of day. Calling right away makes this easier for the supervisor,
but if you have the cab number, time, and date, the errant driver can be
correctly identified from lease records.

Most of us drivers exert considerable effort to please their customers
so they will call again next time. any driver who displeases them hurts
business for all drivers. no one is perfect, of course, and new drivers
can make mistakes, but there is never an excuse for dishonesty or rude


Every day drivers search for addresses that are innacurate, incomplete,
or inaccessible, which delays service. Here are some tips to help us find
you quicker:

calling in your order

1. say the numbers individually:
"one-one-four-five-nine north two-eight drive, building six, apartment

2. Some street names are dupicated elsewhere in the valley. Be sure to
distinguish yours by city, designation (lane, road, avenue, etc.),
and nearest major road.

3. in apartment complexes, know your building number and give it if you
have one. give the name of the complex as well as the address. if it has
a gate, give the gate code.

4. Don't try to give detailed directions. they are usually unnecessary and too
time-consuming. brief information such as landmarks, which entrance
or side is closest may be useful. give a phone number for call-back
whenever possible.

5. Be sure the order-taker repeats back your address to you correctly after
taking your information.
6. If you want to pay by credit card, say so when ordering the cab. not all companies
nor all drivers accept them. most require pre-approval over the phone.


1. Wherever you live, be sure your address is plainly visible, contrasts
with the background, and is lighted at night.
also be sure it's painted legibly on the curb.

2. If your street signs are hard to see or read because of trees,
weathering, or poor placement or color, either fix them yourself or
insist your city take care of it.

3. Remember that your life may depend on emergency vehicles
and pizza delivery finding you as quickly as a cabdriver does.

4. If your apartment complex is poorly marked, pester the manager until
something is done. in large complexes, missing or hidden building numbers,
tiny apartment door numbers, poor lighting, and no posted maps can add an
extra 10 or 15 minutes to response time.


1. Though the order-taker may have given an estimated time-range for
arrival, remember it is only a guess, and many unpredictable factors
affect the response time.

2. Be where you said you were as soon as you hang up the phone,
and stay there. the cab may arrive sooner than expected as well as later.
3. though it is good to wait outside and watch for the cab, never be
> out of sight of your door.

4. In public places, don't expect the driver to know automatically that
you are the one who called. watch for the cab, walk up to it and/or
wave when it arrives.

don't be a 10-8!

(customer not found)
If you find you no longer need a cab, call and cancel immediately.
if the driver arrives before he or she is told of your cancellation,
you owe him or her at least $3.00, though $5.00 would be fairer.
if you are in an outlying area, you should increase that accordingly.

NEVER, EVER call more than one cab company without cancelling
the first one well in advance. it is an extremely dirty trick to play on a
driver, who loses time and money. it can result in your address being
placed on a 'no-cab' list by the companies, and many drivers will
individually refuse you service when they discover it.

how to behave

Very few cab customers need to be told how to behave in a taxi.
most people are congenial and reasonable wherever they go.
to help prevent the rare problem, here are some suggestions:

1. Don't ask or attempt to sit in the front unless you are invited to do so,
or you are the 4th or 5th adult passenger in your party.

2. Tell the driver where you are going--at least the major cross streets--at the
beginning. also mention if it is to be a round trip or if there are stops on
the way.

3. If you anticipate needing more than $5.00 change back from the fare,
tell the driver in time to stop along the way if necessary. change is limited
to deter robbery, and the amount availible will vary from none to $20.
any additional trip to get change will increase your fare.

4. At any stop on your trip, if you will need to be out of the driver's sight,
leave a deposit at least equal to the meter fare at that point.

5. Be sure you have the CASH to pay your fare. nonpayment of cabfare
is a crime: theft by defrauding. checks or i.o.u.'s are not an option.
the alternative is arrest and jail. the meter will run until the police arrive

Credit cards, if accepted, must usually have been pre-approved when the order
is made over the phone, or at least before the trip is made.

6. DON'T ask the driver "have you ever been robbed?"

7. Remember that, if you are perceived as a threat to saftey or intolerably
obnoxious, your ride can end AT ANY TIME AND PLACE the driver chooses.

8. While we encourage the inebriated to taxi and not drive, if you become so
pickled as to lose the ability to (a) walk to the cab, (b) refrain from
regurgitation and other excretions, and (c) remain concious, you will
usually be refused. if you create an aromatic cleaning problem in the cab,
prepare to pay at least a $20 cleaning fee. In a towncar, this may be $100 or more.

9. NEVER: open a door while the cab is moving, touch or distract the driver
unexpectedly, or touch the driver's equipment or belongings.

10. When directing the driver to your destination, it is pointless to point.
the driver cannot watch your finger behind him and drive safely.
say "left" or "right", and know which is which.

Taxicab drivers are skilled professionals, responsible for transporting
thousands of people safely through city traffic each day. when treated in a
respectful and friendly manner, they will reciprocate.