Taxi driver observations


As a product manager, I get to travel the world, and unless I need the mobility afforded by a rental car, I usually rely on taxi services. They know the territory, they are (usually) a reasonable price, and you don’t have to worry about parking (a concern in big cities).

However, I often have white knuckle cab rides.

  • Boston Apparently cabs in Boston don’t have turn signals. I have been in dozens of cabs here and can’t recall once seeing the driver indicate either a turn or a lane change. Amazingly, even in heavy traffic, they can make amazing time.
  • Seoul Legendary traffic, poorly marked streets and addresses, I have been involved with many wildly illegal U turns, quick wrong way trips in traffic (when oncoming traffic was queued at a light) and some amazing navigation to avoid long delays.
  • Tokyo Probably the most reasonable cab fares in the world (compared to local prices). Their drivers are courteous to a fault, almost never speak English, but always get you to where you are going. Pro-tip: If you are out drinking in Tokyo past the stop time of the trains, a cab driver will usually take whatever cash you have ($50 – $60) to get you back to your hotel, even if it would be a $150 fare. Really good guys!
  • Dubai Probably the cleanest cab I have ever been in. New, un-abused, and a pretty friendly driver. But one oddity is that there is a cab service with only women drivers. Seems to be a cultural thing.
  • India Wow. Traffic. Lots and LOTS of traffic. Try to not pay attention to the antics of your driver. It is all normal. Also, don’t be surprised if it takes 20 minutes to go 2 blocks. You really don’t want to get out and walk.
  • Singapore Since they drive on the wrong side of the road there, I always cab it. Fortunately, they have a very efficient cab service. Grab a card with the phone number to call for a cab, and you are one quick handy phone call away from a ride.
  • London Probably the most expensive taxi rides I have ever taken were in London and the surrounding areas. 2 – 3 miles with a bill of £18 (about $32 on my last visit). And the drivers expect a healthy tip. <cough, cough>. I often will work with the local office to hire a car and driver for lengthy trips in country. Far more cost effective.

There are more, but in general I enjoy using the local cab services, and seeing what they bring to the table.

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By geoffand


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December 2013

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