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Taking a Taxi

Taking a Taxi


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Hello! In this lesson, we will learn the English associated with taking a taxi. There are several ways of getting a taxi. One way is to "hail" a taxi. Another way is to wait for a taxi at a "taxi stand". Another way is to telephone for a taxi. The easiest way is to have someone else telephone for a taxi for you, for example, a restaurant employee or a hotel employee.

No matter how you get a taxi, it would ease your mind to ask a local person about how much you should expect to pay for your trip before you get into a taxi. For example, if you are in a restaurant, and you will be taking a taxi to your hotel, you should ask your waiter or a clerk at the restaurant "Could you tell me about how much it should cost to take a taxi from here to the _______Hotel?". Prices for taxis vary wildly from place to place, so it is smart to have an idea of the local price before you travel by taxi.

No matter how you get a taxi, you should ask the taxi driver about how much it will cost to make the trip before you start to travel. You could ask "Could you estimate the price to travel from here to the ____ Hotel?" or "About how much will it cost me to go from here to the _______ Hotel?".

You should always look inside the taxi to be sure there is a meter which calculates the price. The price should be posted inside the taxi.

Before traveling in a taxi, you should get the name of the taxi company, and the number of the cab or the license number – you might leave something in the taxi or you might want to make a comment about the taxi later, either positive or negative – or you might want to use the same company again in the future, or avoid that taxi company on future trips.

These are the same kinds of rules that we would use in any country for any kind of service, but they are easy to forget when we take a taxi. We always need to know whom we are dealing with and what they are charging us for their service.

How to get a taxi
To hail a taxi, you step out into a street or to a place where a taxi might drive by. When you see a taxi, you put your arm out and call "Taxi!". If the taxi is not in service, it will not stop for you. If the taxi is already busy with another call, it will not stop.

At airports, busy restaurant, hotels, and other places where many people gather, there is often a "taxi stand". At the "taxi stand", taxi drivers wait in line for customers. Generally, the taxis at taxi stands are trustworthy and licensed taxis who are accepted by other taxi drivers. At a taxi stand, you can wait until a taxi drives up.

In most cities, you can look in the Yellow Pages of the phone book and find a taxi company under the heading "Taxi" or "Cab". You can call the company and request that a cab come to your location. For example David might say "I need a taxi at 115 Walnut Street. I'll be going to 457 Sycamore Street at 7:30.". It is important to give as much information as possible – the entire address, not just the street or a general description of the area, and the time you want to go.

The other possibility is asking someone else to call a taxi for you. For example, at a hotel, David might ask the clerk early in the day "Could you call a taxi for me? I need to go to the Swan Restaurant at 7:00 tonight.".

In the following scenario, David and Jennifer Have asked the hotel clerk to call a taxi for them. They are getting a taxi from their hotel to the airport.

(Taxi arrives)

David: Hi, Thanks for coming.

Driver: No problem. You two are going out to the airport?

Jennifer: Yes, and is there a set price for the trip?

Driver: Yes, there's a fixed rate for the trip for one or two persons from this hotel to the airport. It's $35.

Jennifer: Per person or per trip?

Driver: It's thirty-five for one person or thirty-five for two people; it would just be thirty-five for the two of you.

David: That's good. (nodding)

Driver: You folks can get in and I'll get your bags. Just the two bags?

Jennifer: Yes, just the two. (Jennifer and David get in the back seat – Driver puts bags in trunk.)
Time elapses. (outside of taxi)

Driver: I'll get your bags. That'll be $35.

Jennifer: (paying, tipping)

Driver: Oh, thank you, ma'am. That's very nice of you. Taking money, putting bags on curb) Enjoy your plane trip.

David and Jennifer: Thank you. Thanks.

When the taxi arrives, David thanks the driver for coming by saying "Thank you for coming.". The driver answers "No problem.". Many people now answer a thanks by saying "No problem.". Not all people agree that it is the best way to respond. "You're welcome" is always a good response to "Thank you.". The driver asks "You two are going out to the airport?". He could also have said "Are the two of you going to the airport?" or "Are you two headed for the airport?" or "I understand you are going to the airport.".

Jennifer asks "Is there a set price for the trip?". She could have asked "Is there a fixed rate for the trip to the airport?" or "How much is the ride to the airport?".

There are often fixed rates for common routes. However, the rates can change according to time of day and number of passengers, so it is important to be sure you understand what the charge actually is.

When the driver says "Yes, there's a fixed rate for the trip for one or two persons from this hotel to the airport. It's $35.", Jennifer does not know whether he means the trip will cost $35 per person or $35 for the two of them. Jennifer asks "Per person or per trip?". She could have asked "Is the price per person or per trip?" or "Does that mean we will pay $70 for the two of us or $35 for the two of us?". She is very specific in her question because she wants to be sure she understands what the price will be.

The driver answers Jennifer very specifically by saying "It's thirty-five for one person or thirty-five for two people; it would just be thirty-five for the two of you.". He could have said "The total cost to you will be thirty-five dollars." or "It will be thirty-five dollars for the two of you together.".

After David agrees to the price, the driver says "You folks can get in, and I'll get your bags.". David and Jennifer sit in the back seat, which is customary. If there had been four people, perhaps the taxi driver would invite the fourth person to sit in the front seat, but generally customers sit in the back seat. The driver refers to Jennifer and David as "folks". This is a kindly way to refer to a mixed group of men and women or a woman and a man. The driver could have said "You two can get into the car, and I'll take care of the bags." or "The two of you can get in the taxi, and I'll manage the suitcases.". He asks "Just the two bags?". He could have asked "Do you have just these two bags?" or "Do you only have two bags?".

Jennifer answers "Yes, just the two.". She could have said "Yes, only two bags." or "Right, just two suitcases.".

After they arrive at the airport, the driver says "I'll get your bags. That'll be $35.". He might have said "Let me get your bags. You owe me thirty-five dollars." or "I'll take your bags out of the trunk. That will be $35.".

In this case, Jennifer and David have luggage in the trunk of the taxi, and the taxi driver gets out of the car to get the luggage out of the trunk. So Jennifer and David can pay the driver outside the taxi when the driver gets out their bags. If they were taking a taxi across town and did not have luggage in the trunk, the driver would expect to be paid inside the taxi, before Jennifer and David got out. Some taxi drivers might get out of the taxi to open the car door for them, but some might not.

When Jennifer pays the driver and gives him a tip, he says "Oh, thank you ma'am. That's very nice of you.", he means that he appreciates the tip. He could have said, "Thank you. I appreciate it.". He puts the bags on the curb and closes the conversation by saying "Enjoy your plane trip.".

David and Jennifer thank him and he leaves.

Wonderful! You have learned the English associated with taking a taxi. "Enjoy your taxi ride!".