Life on the road isn’t always a cabaret. When you’re trying to puzzle out the quickest route from the airport to your hotel, or just trying to find a comfortable ride around an unfamiliar city, it can feel like you’ve entered a maze. Speaking of mazes, have you ever tried to figure out if taxis or ride-sharing apps like Uber are the safer bet? You can feel as if you have placed your entire life into your taxi driver’s hands. That’s not always an ideal situation.
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Planning a Taxi Ride – Be Smart
Not many would think about this but trust me, having a taxi professionally arranged for you is a win. In some cities, our yellow-cab friends still rule the roost. Knowing where to find reliable taxi services is a secret art that is valuable to know. One wonders…how to do this, though.
Here’s where locals or businesses such as in-airport taxi services come in handy. They can help you secure a trustworthy and easy ride. Hotels are often hidden gems in this respect; their front desk agents are pros at arranging rides with approved cabs. Some swanky places even offer their own car service. It costs a little more, but if you’ve cash to spend, having your own private driver for an hour or two is a fun experience for sure.
The Meter Conundrum
Next up, let’s tackle taxi meters. Some countries impose certain regulations that set a fixed tariff for specific rides. Yet, in others, like Paris for instance, it’s up to the drivers to set the fare. In such situations, if you’re planning on jumping into a cab, make sure to ask your driver to start the meter. That way, you won’t be bowled over by a monstrous bill at the end that would put a dent in your travel budget. Everyone must make a living, but you don’t have to bankroll your friendly driver’s entire family for the next month.
Let’s Talk Price
Okay, so what if the meter decides to take a day off or you can’t use it for some reason? Well, believe it or not, you can bring on your negotiation skills! Some cities impose strict guidelines on the amount to be charged for a ride – no haggling allowed.
But when this isn’t the case, before your journey begins, ask your driver about their rate before you get moving. Doing a bit of homework – like looking up average taxi fares before you travel, can come in handy now. If that quote sounds a tad high, why not try to strike a bargain?
Be realistic. If you know a trip to the airport will usually cost about $30, some drivers will try to charge $100 or more, while some passengers will try to squeeze them for $10. If you say “I want to go to the airport and I’ll pay $35 if you get me there quickly” drivers will often appreciate you are being reasonable and will respond in kind. Good luck!
Go Official – It’s Safer!
In Almaty, Kazakhstan, it seems everyone turns into an impromptu cabbie. Just flag down a car, let them know your destination, and you’re off! It sounds fun, and it is a cheap way of getting around but here’s what’s not exactly surprising: this isn’t entirely safety-proven.
Always stick to official taxis. They’re governed by strict guidelines – for instance, there are specifications on vehicle standards they need to meet. Plus, they’re part of a larger organization. So, whether you’re in the bustle of New York or perhaps a more quaint location in the former Soviet Union, this is your safest bet. Also, if an accident should happen, suing for a Lyft Accident or one in a licensed cab is a lot easier than seeking recovery from some random guy in his private car.
Women-centric Taxis – Who knew?
Interestingly, some cities offer taxi services operated by women for women. It’s a fact! A 2019 survey by Alarms.org has thrown light on this phenomenon. If you really think about it, it’s quite the safety revolution and it makes a whole lot of sense.
Being streetwise while traveling isn’t rocket science. If you’re wondering just how possible that is, trust this guide. This is your ticket to riding smart and safe. Some may say that’s even more priceless than your very own limo. And you know what? I happen to agree!