Tipping the Taxi Driver: Thanks For Not Killing Me!

I've seen the back of a lot of cabbie heads from Philadelphia to Toronto in the last few weeks and from where I'm sitting, they all need an immediate refresher at a drivers' school! Sure, we acknowledge that safety behind the wheel is as important as safety on the factory floor (or at least most of us do; clearly not the idiot on the freeway beside me this a.m.!)

But just how many of us will ask a taxi driver to slow down, or use the turn signal, or not drive while he/she's reading the map?

And how many times have you arrived at your destination and prayed you'll never see the inside of that taxi again... then turned around and handed the cabbie a healthy tip?!

What's the tip for - Thanks for not killing me? Or, here's a little something to help with your hospital bills in the near future? Most taxi drivers have not received any more training since they passed their road test, and that could be decades ago. Older drivers are a hazard too; I think that drivers over 60 should have to take a refresher driver course each year. I've been one of those quiet passengers putting his life at risk because an ancient driver didn't exactly have 20/20 vision!

I could go on at length about lazy, irresponsible and just plain disrespectful drivers (check out this video about speed-addicted drivers who jeopardize the life of road crews!) but I'll try to stick to picking on taxi drivers for now.

OK, sure it's not cheap to attract and keep the very best taxi drivers and running a taxi fleet is already an expensive and cut-throat business in terms of competition. But better trained cabbies will contribute to the profit of the company by reducing the number of accidents and thereby the costs of insurance premiums.

But of course, this idyllic vision of safe taxi rides isn't going to happen unless we, the paying customers, start speaking up, i.e. ordering our cabbie to shape up or we're shipping out! (Wait 'til the taxi comes to a complete stop.)

Until we get starting getting angry about wildly careening, bumper-riding cab rides from hell, we'll just have to grip and grin in the back seat... (but at least count your blessings that you haven't had a ride with this Mats Sundin-hating taxi driver!! )

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