Arriving at a strange place after a long flight can be an unsettling experience for a traveler, even a seasoned one. And if the time should be late at night when the city is asleep, the discomfort and apprehensions about safety increase. Most major cities have unscrupulous “pirate” taxis which may seem to be the same as legitimate taxis but which are not from a registered taxi company and are not governed by any operational guidelines or standards. At best you could get ripped off on the amount you pay for your journey and at worst, well...
There some things you can do when you take a taxi from the airport to make your trip a safer one. The first one is to take a taxi from a taxi stand. Taxi drivers are very competitive and normally will not allow a pirate taxi to park in a regular taxi stand. As far as possible try and avoid taking a taxi that is cruising around looking for fares when there is a stand nearby. Next, look around to see if anyone is standing very close to you when you telling the taxi driver where you want to go. If someone is trying to eavesdrop on you, there must be a reason for it and it probably will not be a good one.
There are two things you need to ensure before you get into a taxi. First of all look to see if the driver’s license is properly displayed and that the driver’s photo matches the license. When you are tired after a long trip and are hassled with various pieces of baggage it’s easy to forget about one and leave it behind. Check all the luggage as it is put into the trunk and ensure that everything is accounted for. If you have a vast amount of luggage, make sure the taxi driver or the porter does not stuff everything into the trunk with no thought of the damage that could be done. Hard luggage could get scratched or cracked and in the case of soft luggage, there could be tears or the contents of the suitcase could be damaged. There’s nothing worse than reaching your destination to find that a shampoo bottle has broken and all your clothes are covered with a soapy liquid. Also try and keep your laptops, briefcase, handbag, backpack etc. on the seat next to you.
When you get in the cab, check to see if the door handles are in place and the windows roll down so you cannot be trapped in the taxi. Next check to see if there is a meter. Any reliable taxi will have a meter to display the fare and give you receipt at the end of your journey.
Beware of the pleasant looking stranger who ‘just happens’ to overhear you telling the taxi driver your destination and says that he is going in the same direction and offers to share your cab. He may be totally innocent, but is it worthwhile taking a risk just to save a few dollars?
If you find yourself driving through dark deserted streets, make it a point to pull out your cell phone and make a call to a friend telling him or her where you are and mentioning the driver’s name and the taxi number. Even if you don’t want to disturb a friend, you can pretend to make the call. Just make sure that the driver knows that you are doing it.
And finally, pay the fare while you are in the taxi and put your wallet safely back in place before exiting. And check that all your belongings and luggage are with you before the taxi drives off.