Hotels.com just completed a survey of taxis across the U.S. and internationally. The results are not a giant surprise, but the comments from those who participated can be insightful.
Las Vegas taxis have been again voted the best taxis in the United States, according to the annual taxi report compiled by hotels.com®, the leading provider of lodging worldwide. Almost 5,000* travelers from 23 countries around the world provided their views on various aspects of traveling by taxi. The cabs were judged on seven categories – cleanliness, value, quality of driving, knowledge of the area, friendliness, safety, and availability.
Sin City ranked number one as the best taxi destination in the U.S. to hail a taxi beating other top U.S. destinations including Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. Las Vegas taxis were top rated in four of the seven categories surveyed including the cleanest taxis and the best quality of driving along with best value and friendliest drivers, each of which received 16 percent of the vote.
Home of the famous yellow taxi and The Discovery Channel’s “The Cash Cab,” New York cabbies were rated as the most knowledgeable (30 percent) and most available (37 percent) drivers in the nation. However, survey results highlighted that travelers voted those cabs as some of the worst in the nation in the other categories surveyed. Travelers found that New York taxi drivers lacked friendliness, quality driving, and the city’s cabs provided the least value and lacked cleanliness. New York taxis were overwhelmingly rated the least friendly with 42 percent of the votes and the worst drivers with 44 percent of the votes.
London’s iconic black cabs were rated the best (and most expensive) in the world for the fourth year running. London was placed top in five out of the seven categories including safety, friendliness, cleanliness, quality of driving and knowledge of the area. London’s taxis beat competition from other top international destinations including New York (favorite among nine percent of travelers) and Hong Kong (third with seven percent of the vote). Tokyo and Singapore completed the global top five receiving 7% and 6% of the vote respectively, displacing the German city of Berlin and capital of Thailand, Bangkok from last year’s top five.
Other survey findings include:
From the airport
Taxis are the second most popular mode of transportation, behind the bus, when traveling from the airport or station to a hotel.
Research found that more U.S. travelers (46 percent) use a taxi while on a domestic vacation. When Americans travel abroad only 34 percent of travelers hire a taxi.
Safety is the biggest concern for travelers followed in order of importance by value for money, knowledge of area, quality of driving, availability, cleanliness and friendliness. Survey participants didn’t overwhelmingly rank a U.S. city as having the safest taxis.
Most Americans tip their taxi drivers. Of those who do tip, 37 percent tip a tenth of the fare, 17 percent tip a fifth of the fare and six percent of travelers never tip their driver.
An overwhelming 45 percent of travelers are peeved when a driver smokes while driving, while travelers ranked drivers that were too distracted or too smelly as highly annoying.
The majority of travelers (55 percent) would share a taxi (and the cost) with a stranger, while 45 percent would rather ride alone.
Top Five Tips on hailing a cab from hotels.com travelers:
“Have your hotel doorman flag down a taxi for you. I have found that they will not flag a non-authorized taxi. Know how to get to your destination and be prepared to take action if they are not taking you directly there.”
“In most cities it is illegal to deny a person a ride. Don’t ask if they will take you someplace. Get in the cab, sit down and tell them your destination. Also write down their license number and cab number just in case you need to file a complaint.”
“Ask for an estimated fare first.”
“If you are in a foreign country learn how to say ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘receipt’ in their language.”
“Find out the rules of the country, not all (taxis) require tips, some you have to barter with.”
* 4,821 respondents across 23 countries; SINGAPORE, UK, BRAZIL, ARGENTINA, JAPAN, SWEDEN, GERMANY, AUSTRALIA SWITZERLAND IRELAND INDIA SPAIN, CHINA, FRANCE, ITALY, DENMARK, NORWAY, THE NETHERLANDS, HONG KONG, KOREA, MEXICO FINLAND, USA from approximately July 31 – August 20, 2011.