Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Choosing a Taxi from the Airport - What to Know?

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.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

How to Choose a Taxi Service for Your Next Trip

Taxis are an essential component of the public transportation system. Whether you are calling a taxi to your home or office on a regular basis, or are traveling and in a strange city and need a cab to move around, they are often the most convenient way to travel. And while the cost of a taxi trip may be more expensive than other forms of public transport like a bus or subway, the savings in time and the convenience they offer makes the cost justified. This is especially true if you need to be at a place at a specific time or are traveling with a large number of belongings – struggling on to a bus or train with your arms full of bags and parcels is no fun.

But not all taxis are the same. They may all look similar on the surface, but there are a range of factors that are not easily apparent that can affect the nature of your trip, the amount you pay and most of all your safety. That is why knowing how to choose a taxi is very important. Among the issues you should keep in mind are:

• Is the taxi company licensed? Only a licensed taxi service will meet the legal and operational requirements that will offer you a safe journey. There are a huge number of private or ‘pirate’ taxis on the roads that are unlicensed and do not have the permits etc. that are required to operate. That means that they do not meet the standards that are laid down to ensure passenger safety and comfort. Always use a licensed taxi service.
• What is the reputation of the taxi company? Just because a taxi service is licensed and holds the necessary permits does not mean that it is reliable and focused on providing customer satisfaction. Calling for a taxi at a fixed time and not having it arrive can cause a huge amount of problems. So that can finding that the driver does not know his way around the city and the place you want to go to is unfamiliar to him. A large amount of time can be wasted in finding your destination and the extra cost that the search will involve arriving late is always an embarrassment. Checking out the taxi company’s reputation on line or through referrals is always a good idea.
• Is the taxi mechanically sound? You are only as safe as the taxi you are riding in. A taxi that is mechanically unsound puts you in danger. The same applies to the driver. If the driver is not properly trained and put through regular refresher courses, his driving skills are suspect and that increases the chances of meeting with an accident.
• When you are going to an unfamiliar destination or are travelling in a new city, it is easy for the taxi driver to take you via the longest possible route to make more money. Here too the taxi company’s reputation is critical in ensuring that you are not ripped off on the taxi fare.
• When traveling alone, late at night or in a strange locality, your safety depends on the reliability of the taxi driver and the company he works for. This is one area that should never be compromised on. Use a reputed taxi company.
• A dirty cab is not a safety issue, but it can make the journey unpleasant. Using a well-known taxi company with a reputation for caring for the traveling comfort of passengers will make your trip a happier one.

Taxis are a safe and comfortable way to travel. But not all taxis are the same and to be sure that you have a safe and comfortable trip, and travel in safety, checking out the taxi company you are using makes a lot of sense.