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A First-Time Visitor to The Big City's Guide to Choosing a Good Taxi

Updated on June 10, 2014

This is what you expect


In a big city taxi cab

a friendly, accommodating driver who is contentious about his appearance, friendly, and helpful.

Sorry, "Mr. and Mrs. Rural Vacationer," to the big city, but times have changed. And I do not blame you for going into cardiac-shock when you opened the door of the first taxi who stopped to pick you up at JFK International Airport, Jamaica, New York.

You thought for a moment you were having a flashback of your wayward son, " Jacob's" room when he tasted his first marijuana, which he grew himself.

You saw empty food containers, empty beer cans, bottles, shoes, used condoms, a lot of cigarette butts and plenty of dead rats. Awful, isn't it. And the "cabbie," "Jerr-Mon L.," did not apologize to you for his cab's disarray for he cannot speak English.

Before I go further, let me say that I am not knocking Rural America by using the title: "Mr.and Mrs. Rural America," for "I" live in rural America. It's mostly us rural folks who get future shocks when we first visit a big city like New York City.

I wish I could explain to you, rural vacationers, in this story about why most cabs in New York are so filthy, but I cannot. I have never been to New York, and I think now that I won't.

At your service--but be cautious


Uh, oh! These "cabbies" in India are on strike.


This is not a racial thing

but a matter of respect-for-your-customers thing. And even with the cab companies whose cabs are comparable to a pig sty, I cannot swear if the non-caring driver were to be courteous, friendly and helpful that the problem would be gone . . .poof! Up on smoke.

It, to me, is a make-the-long green-thing. Money, money, money. Sure. We are a capitalist nation. Why not drive a nasty cab for the money? Maybe it's a driver union thing. Maybe keeping a cab clean is not the non-caring cab driver's responsibility.

But what I do know is that there are people with keen common sense. People, city dwellers and rural people alike, who can spot a cab not fit to use to get to your destination. And yes, I am not leaving you other people, the non-caring, apathetic people who had rather ride in a "rolling dumpster," pay the fare and get home without offering one word of complaint to anyone who might solve the problem. To "these" people I ask, "Are you afraid that someone will 'knock you off,' for just offering a civil-complaint against a dirty cab in order to get it cleaned?"

Someone made "one" cab-driver angry and his buddies do this


Legendary actor, Robert De Niro starred in "Taxi Driver"--if a cab driver favors him, do not take it


It's a rare thing to do this in a big city cab--relax and love your companion


So, with your permission, allow me to direct this story to you, "Mr. and Mrs. Rural American," (me included), if you are considering a vacation to New York City, a place you have never been, this piece entitled . . .

"A First-Time Visitor to The Big City's Guide to Choosing a Good Taxi"

10 Things to Look Out For in a Taxi Cab:

  1. If you see no cab driver's license and photo sticking to the front seat . . .walk away.
  2. If you smell rotting flesh . . .run away.
  3. If the cab driver is barely-conscious, choose a taxi cab with a sober driver.
  4. If the cab driver is holding a pistol in his hand, do not be an idiot. Go on your way.
  5. If four dogs are raised up on the windows in the back all barking at you, wave the cab off.
  6. When you open the back door and see uneaten sardines, tuna, and other food staples, grin and say, "Sorry, changed our minds."
  7. If the only thing you see in the back seat are springs, you will be stupid if you choose this cab.
  8. If the cab driver is only 13 years old, walk and don't use a taxi. Walking is good for you.
  9. If the cops "blue light" the cab before you ride away, get out of there.
  10. If you cannot see the driver or inside of the cab due to smoke from marijuana, sit down and rest. Maybe God will answer your prayers for a decent cab to come along.


This man is a good taxi driver


"10 Things to Look For in a Taxi Cab":

  1. A friendly, courteous cab driver.
  2. A cab driver who is willing to answer your questions about the city you are visiting.
  3. A clean, nice-smelling backseat.
  4. No narcotics, shape, form or fashion in plain-sight.
  5. A sober cab driver.
  6. A cab driver who does not roll his eyes or snap at you for taking his cab to keep him awake.
  7. A cab driver who is a good driver and not a driver who could win any demolition derby.
  8. A cab driver who does not succumb to "road rage."
  9. A cab driver who is helpful to open the trunk and help with your luggage when you choose his cab, and to help you with your luggage when you arrive at your destination.
  10. A cab driver who realizes the importance of repeat customers.



I dare say . . .

(Photo of female cab driver above is from 1966, and the female photo of female cab driver to the right is from the late 1950's).

That to me, and yes, ladies and gentlemen who are following me, in this case I am very biased about what I am about to say . . ."If I were a first-time visitor to New York City, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia or Los Angeles, and the cab drivers were like these two ladies, I would jump, not casually-sit down in the back of their cabs."

And now to defend my statement. Females care about their work. I know this from experience as I have been employed at several places since 1972, and every place of employment I worked (who employed females), their work was immaculate, neat, and something to be proud of. Sadly, I, along with the men employees' work was at best . . .decent.

You see, I have used some valuable experience from when I was fresh out of high school. Go with the service personnel are women. Not to be a "cool Joe," or to flirt with them, but to get good service, as in this case, a cab driver who keeps a clean cab as well as the clothes she is wearing.

"And if there be any female cab drivers who are reading this, seriously, I salute you for the great job you are doing. And I say this without apology."


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Thank you so much for your support.

      I hope that we will ALL be safe, but I have been told by serious sources, that New York cabs are down-right risky and dangerous.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      Using taxi's is a risk in some places these days. Your advice will keep us safe and aware of what to look for in a good trip.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, sheilamyers,

      No, thank you for such a timely-comment. In my entire life, I was driven home in the seventh-grade by a greedy, local taxi driver/owner. I told him that in my piggy bank was $2.00, and he never offered me one break. Just snatched the loot and I got out of his "taxi."

      It pays a person to inspect before buying.

      Thanks for visiting me. Have a pleasant evening.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Thanks for the great tips. I've never used a taxi, but now I know what to look for. I know you can't always judge a book by it's cover, but if I started to get into a cab and it was dirty, I'd think the driver didn't care about anything including getting me to my destination in one piece.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Gina,

      Thank you so much. I sincerely appreciate your words--they make me feel like writing even more hubs.

      And you can stop by anytime you like.

      Have a peaceful day.


    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I found your article to be useful, entertaining, and very funny! Kept my interest. So true, and thanks for tips Kenneth!


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