In a poll compiled by Hotels.com, London taxis were considered the best (and most expensive) in the world- for the fifth year running. New York and Parisian taxi drivers were considered the rudest (surprise)
The survey was conducted with 1600 travellers from 28 countries.
The best taxis I have encountered are in Singapore. Sparkling clean and staffed by friendly drivers, I have never ever had a hassle with them. When you ring for a taxi, they give you the taxi registration number so you know immediately that you have the right cab. They also have a Common Taxi Number (6-DIAL-CAB): “One ring to call them all” which will link you to the first company with empty cabs! You can even book a Singapore taxi by SMS!! The taxis have clever lighted signs on top of them that clearly say they are “occupied” or “free“. Unlike many countries which have lights on top of the taxi. In some cities a lit up sign means the cab is free. In others it means it is occupied!
One very late night, I landed in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA, to find no cabs at the taxi rank. To get one, you had to go to a mysterious little room in the middle of the airport and ask them to call a taxi. I did this and went out and waited. Oh joy, a taxi glided into the airport to drop a passenger off. I approached the taxi. The driver looked at me and drove off. I went back to the mysterious little room to complain and was told that only one taxi company is allowed to pick up at Manchester airport! No other taxi company is allowed to pick passengers up -they can only drop them off. I hate these exclusive agreements which seem uncompetitive to me but in this case it was ridiculous. For when my taxi finally arrived after a 1 hour 49 minute wait in the cold, I found out the company only had one taxi on duty that night. How is this customer friendly?
The passengers in the Hotels.com survey sought seven qualities for their taxi rides:
- Safety (London cabs, German, French and Swiss cabs reassure me)
- Ensure drivers know where they are going (London, England does this)
- Ensure cabs are good value (NYC)
- Focus on good quality driving (Singapore)
- Ensure there is good availability (New York City)
- Ensure clean cars (Singapore and Switzerland)
- Expect drivers to be friendly (Singapore, Brisbane, Hobart and Perth, Australia, this is always the case)
To these seven I would add:
- Keep the customer informed (eg If the taxi is delayed or how long the wait will be)
- Ensure taxi drivers are paid adequately (cut taxes for taxis?!)
- Allow quick, easy payment by Cash and Credit Card with no outrageous fees (New York City)
Any transport regulator that can achieve this, gets my vote.