The Art Of Tipping Your Cab Driver

Posted on: 28 April 2015

People use taxi services for a wide variety of reasons. As such, it can be difficult to know just how much to tip your driver given your specific circumstances. A planned ride to the airport is probably worth a different amount than a midnight rescue from the local drinking establishment. It doesn't help that there aren't any widely-known social norms about this, either.

The best way to go about calculating your trip is a lot like paying your bill at a restaurant. However, you also need to take the type of service you required into account.

Scheduled Rides

A lot of people will schedule a taxi for service to an airport or train station. Often, these trips are longer than the average city trip, and luggage is usually a concern. Because of these factors, your tip should reflect the investment of time and effort that the driver undertakes to get you to your destination.

15% of the total bill is a good starting point in this scenario. You should probably add a dollar or two if you have any luggage that they assist with. When in doubt, tip high. It's easier for the driver to deal with a poor tip on a 15 minute ride--getting shorted on a two-hour assignment can ruin a day.

Street Hailing

Sometimes you'll find yourself in the city and decide that you don't want to walk to your destination. Taxis hailed for short trips down the street are much different affairs than a scheduled ride. In these situations, drivers are looking to run as many folks as possible during their shift.

Because you won't need a great deal of specialized service or knowledge, 10% is reasonable--but don't go under one dollar. Also, if your driver displays advanced knowledge of the city and gets you to your destination rapidly, consider tossing another dollar into the mix.

Late-Night Rescue

If you've had too much to drink, calling for a cab is the responsible thing to do. However, some poor driver is going to have to drive out to your location and deal with you and your inebriated friends. They're preserving your safety, but at the cost of their sanity and sleep.

Consider going to 20% for this one. While you might feel like a night out with you and your drunken group is a gift anyone should be thankful for, your driver is doing you a serious favor. Be sure to reward them in kind.

If you find yourself in a situation where you're not sure about the tip, trust your intuition. When you feel like a tip is insufficient, it probably is. Often, adding one additional dollar is enough to ensure that your driver is properly compensated for their work.

Talk to a taxi service like A New Day Radio Dispatch, Inc. to learn more about the nuances of tipping your taxi driver.