Updated: Aug 9
Every job has its challenges, but in a public customer facing role the chances are that taxi drivers have to deal with more irritations than most.
Whilst customers were, and still are, few and far between during the COVID-19 period, cabbies generally deal with all sorts of passengers. From the very young to the very drunk. Some of their annoying habits can be quickly forgotten, while others require drivers to have the patience of a saint.
According to The Taxi Insurer, here are TEN of the most irritating things that passengers do in taxis.
Demanding a detour on a fixed price journey
So you’ve agreed a fixed price for the trip from their house to the airport – but suddenly, they insist on going via a cashpoint or even to pick up another passenger. Pretty irritating behaviour, but sadly all too common for taxi passengers, some of whom seem to think you’ve got nothing else to do all day but act as their cut price personal chauffeur.
Keep you waiting
Some passengers’ attitude to timekeeping can most charitably be described as relaxed. If they’ve booked you for midday, you want them to be ready by midday, not quarter or even half past – after all, you’ve got other fares waiting. And you know that if the tables were turned and it was you who were late, they’d be outraged!
Fail to keep kids under control
Taxis are often used by groups or families off out for the day, so it’s understandable that many passengers are young and excited. However, it should be up to the adults accompanying them to keep order in the back.
Not only is rowdy behaviour from small passengers annoying for the driver, it’s potentially a dangerous distraction too.
Create a mess
Kebab wrappers. Worse – half-eaten kebabs. Even worse – regurgitated kebabs. As a taxi driver, you’re likely to have had all the above, and much more, deposited on the floor and passenger seats of your vehicle.
Mess can be merely an inconvenience, or it can create unpleasant smells that you need to tolerate throughout your shift – or it can even cost you the price of valeting and lost business. Whatever the consequences, it’s definitely one of the major downsides of taxi driving.
Damage your vehicle
This is less common than mess, but definitely not unknown. Some passengers have absolutely no respect for the fact that your taxi is your livelihood.
Would they kick the seats and tear the upholstery in their own car? Yank the door handles too hard? Smash their luggage into the doors and windows? Unlikely – so nor should they in yours.
Of course, you have to expect a certain amount of wear and tear to your vehicle – you’ll be using it a lot. But there are occasional passengers who cause damage through their carelessness, which can be pretty upsetting for drivers. Make sure you have taxi insurance that covers such eventualities.
Ask you to break the law
Your passengers want you to do a u-turn? Speed up, although the limit’s 30? Jump a red light? Ignore them as best you can. Not only do you risk a fine and points on your driving licence if you break driving laws, you could lose your taxi licence and therefore your livelihood too.
And road laws are there for a reason: to keep drivers, passengers, other road users and pedestrians safe. Nobody’s above them, and certainly not a passenger who really should just have booked an earlier ride.
Fail to tip
If you’re taxiing elderly people to hospital, you may understand that they need to keep costs down. But if you’re driving a car full of revellers home from a drunken night out, it’s hard to believe that they really can’t club together to find the cash for a tip.
Many people don’t realise that taxi driving is an expensive business. And if you’ve provided a smooth service or gone out of your way to help them, perhaps by loading heavy luggage, then some might seem it only fair to expect something extra for your hard work.
Bring too much luggage
Your taxi is not a tardis. Ask at the time of booking how much baggage they’re bringing, and make your vehicle’s limits clear. Remember that wheelchairs take priority, as you’re both morally and legally obliged to carry them.
Expect change for a fifty
As a taxi driver, you’re only too aware of the risks of carrying large sums of money around with you. But that doesn’t stop some passengers from wanting to pay a very small fare with a very big note, and being surprised when you don’t have £45 in change.
Fortunately, these days there are lots of ways you can accept electronic payments and keep the atmosphere cordial between you and your passengers.
They refuse to greet you when they enter your cab, and give you curt orders. They think they know a better route. They’re loud, rowdy or argumentative.
All taxi drivers are used to putting up with impolite or unpleasant passengers from time to time. You can probably just ignore most of their rudeness.
But if they make racist or any other hateful remarks to you, that’s not just annoying, but downright unacceptable and potentially illegal. And if they make threats, then call for help straight away