Whether you're using a local taxi service limited to your immediate area, or a taxi from out of state, it's in your best interest to recognize a good taxi cab driver and service. A reputable and fair taxi service will typically employ licensed drivers who drive metered cabs. The drivers communicate well with customers and know their routes perfectly. Here's a run-down on what to look for in a top-notch taxi service:
Sign #1: The Driver Informs You About Fees Before You Enter the Cab
A good taxi cab driver will tell you upfront what your approximate fare will be. The driver won't give you a roundabout answer to your inquiry pertaining to fees. Before you jam your suitcase or bag into the backseat, a good taxi cab driver will tell you if the fees are determined by the electronic meter or by a set amount. This will leave no room for error – or for being over-charged.
Sign #2: You're Given a Brief Explanation on How the Taxi Meter Works
No, you shouldn't expect your taxi cab driver to give you a detailed account on the internals of taxi meters, or how they are manufactured. That's asking for too much. A good taxi cab service will, however, employ cab drivers with some basic knowledge on how the meters run.
Keep in mind, the digital meter is determined by time spent in the cab and by distance traveled. While this sounds simple enough, it is not that cut and dried. Depending upon the city you're traveling in, rates may vary considerably. You may travel the same time and distance in New York City as you do in Denver, Colorado, yet pay a higher fare in one city than you will in the other.
A good taxi driver will explain (when asked) that your higher fee may be due to extra time spent in traffic. Although this is not always the case, you may spend more money on taxi service in the city due to traffic delays and jam-ups.
Sign #3: Your Taxi Service Uses Cabs Equipped with Radio Transmitters
The radios enable the taxi drivers to communicate with the dispatcher. This is not only a reflection of professionalism, it is a standard for safety. A licensed taxi driver will also use the radio to summon help in an emergency.
Sign #4: You're Not Obligated to Tip By Percentage
Did you know that many modern taxi services now employ machines designed to handle tipping through credit cards? By doing so, a tip is automatically added to the fee when using a credit card. The tip will typically be 20 percent of the taxi fare. You should be able to adjust the amount of you wish to do so, based on the service. A good taxi service will offer the option of paying by credit card or by cash.
Sign #5: Your Driver Knows the Exact Route to Take
Have you ever been driven aimlessly by a taxi driver that was seemingly lost? A good tax service will employ drivers that know the routes to take within their area. The taxi driver will not take a so-called "alternate" route that could add time and distance to the meter needlessly. When your taxi driver knows the routes, you're paying fairly, by getting to your destination in the most time-efficient manner.
Concluding Thoughts on Taxi Services
Reputable taxi services will employ drivers that are easily identified. This means the driver will wear a badge with his or her name and the name of the taxi service. For your security, look for the badge before entering the taxi cab. If you're in an unfamiliar area, research cab companies such as San Gabriel Transit so you have an idea of what to expect.