What can Passengers do to make getting a taxi, and make the drivers job easier?

Passengers can improve their chances of getting a taxi and help other passengers improve theirs with a few small actions. A better prepared passenger means fewer delays and more bookings for you.

• Passengers should book in advance. We appreciate that APPS and Contact Centres can be busy, but if they can book in advance they should. Booking in advance means that while there may still be the possibility of a delay at busy times, their booking is in the system and should be honoured. Operators give priority to bookings made in advance, those booked more than 24 hours in advance receive the highest priority.

• Tell your passenger to be flexible. If they are trying to book from a very busy area and are finding that the taxi companies are booked out, moving to a quieter area may allow them to book. Many taxi companies split their working areas into zones and while one busy zone may be booked out, a neighbouring quieter zone may have availability.

• Cancel their taxi if they don’t need it. Cancelling their taxi means it is freed up for another passenger. It also means that the driver does not have a wasted journey using up their fuel and time coming to the passenger if you don’t need them. If you don’t cancel and “No show” your taxi, this can affect your “score” on many taxi dispatch systems making it potentially more difficult for you to get a taxi in future. At peak times, taxi systems give priority to customers who are more likely to complete their journey.

• Don’t book with more than one taxi company for the same journey. Some Passengers think they are increasing their chances of getting a taxi by booking multiple taxis from different companies and taking the first one that arrives. All this does is tie up taxis that could be going to other passengers, increase no shows and potentially reduces their chances of getting a taxi from these companies in the future.

• Don’t book from inaccessible or difficult to access locations if you can avoid it. For example, one way streets or pedestrianised areas

• Be at the pickup point at the collection time. This might sound obvious, but while drivers will normally wait for five minutes past the booked time and will call the passenger to make sure they are coming, they will not wait if the passenger is going to be longer or if there is a suggestion they are not coming at all. “I’ve just ordered another pint” is not a valid reason for a driver to wait.

• Check their notifications. Most taxi operators use dispatch systems which send the passenger notifications via text message or WhatsApp to update them on the status on their booking. Drivers will also call passengers if they cannot find them. Tell your passenger If their driver is on their way please be there to meet them as it may not be possible to stop or wait at your chosen pick up location.

• Bartering with the passenger / working off the meter. Some drivers think that if the passenger has offered them a set amount which is agreed in advance that it is OK to work off the meter. Taxi regulations state that a meter should be in operation at all times and that the fare should not exceed the metered amount. Where there is no meter (Class C) the regulations state that the final fare must not exceed the prebooked estimate. Passengers may think they are doing a good thing by offering higher than metered rates, but they are leaving the driver open to prosecution. As such, bartering should not be encouraged and drivers should work on a metered fare.

• Be patient. Even if things go as planned there can still be delays, especially at peak times when everyone is trying to get home. We ask passengers to be patient, conscious of others and not to take any frustrations out on either contact centre staff or drivers who are doing their best to help you. Many taxi companies will ban unruly customers for severe or repeated bad behaviour, something which no one wants. Most times passengers will accept short delays provided they know their taxi is definitely coming and they have been kept informed.