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London Taxis, the Best in the World once Again

A new survey published this week by Hotels.com says London is the best city in the world to hail a taxi.

Survey participants from 29 countries weighed in on on seven categories – Cleanliness, Value, Quality of Driving, Knowledge of the Area, Friendliness, Safety and Availability. New York City, Tokyo, Shanghai and Bangkok rounded out the top five best cities to hail a cab.

The world’s best taxis:

Rank

City

% of Votes

1

London

11

2

New York

6.4

3

Tokyo

5.6

4

Shanghai

4.8

5

Bangkok

4.3

London, whose black cab drivers must pass a rigorous training known locally as “the knowledge” won in seven categories including: Cleanliness, Knowledge of the Area, Quality of Driving, Friendliness and Safety. Bangkok taxis nabbed Best Value while New York taxis were hailed for having the Best Availability.

Tips for hailing a taxi in the top 5 cities

As part of their cab survey, Hotels.com commissioned Dean Foster, president of Dean Foster Associates, a global consultancy specializing in cross-cultural information, training and research, to offer tips and cultural advice for how to hail a taxi in each of the top five cities.

His tips include:

London – Big and roomy personal cabin in the back, with jump seats for the kids, doors that lock and unlock every time the driver accelerates or brakes, and a personal privacy switch you can use to speak – or not – with the driver, whenever you like. Bags will be stashed with travelers in the big personal cabin behind the driver, not in the “boot”.
New York – Probably the sole place in the world where, no matter the corner or time, travelers can simply walk to the curb, stick out an arm, and hail a cab. Avoid “shift time”, usually around 4-6 p.m., when taxis passing by are “off-duty”. New York recently overhauled its taxi fleet, so most cabs are smaller, yet roomier, and very high-tech, allowing credit card payment, and providing TV entertainment. If paying with a credit card, be sure to ask the driver when entering the taxi if it is working. Sometimes the system is down forcing travelers to pay with cash.
Tokyo – Most drivers don’t go by house numbers so the destination’s address, unless it is an iconic landmark, probably won’t mean much to the driver. Before leaving the hotel, have the concierge write down, in Japanese, the intersection, any identifying nearby landmarks, and, if possible, a small map, to be presented to the driver.
Shanghai – Drivers don’t speak much English, so before leaving the hotel, have the concierge write down in Chinese the destination name and address on a card, then present it to the driver with two hands. This shows respect, and will please the driver which is desirable, given a local habit of taking passengers to their destination the long and more expensive way. Also, take a hotel address card along to present to the driver that provides an easy return taxi trip to the hotel.
Bangkok – Bangkok usually sets the standard for the worst traffic in the world. Take a tuk-tuk, a kind of motorcycle with a small one or two passenger compartment attached to the back. The advantage of the tuk-tuk is that it can scoot in between traffic thus actually getting travelers to their destination in a timely manner.

TravelMole US’s  favorite arcane piece of advice:  In NY, passengers are entitled by law to an “incense-free ride.”

Source: Hotels.com,

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