Shared cab etiquette


Living in a big city like Chicago, you quickly become familiar with the best ways to catch a cab, which vehicle types to avoid, and so on. Another basic rule: whether you flag a cab or schedule one in advance, it’s assumed that it will be your own private cab. In other words, that cab won’t be stopping to pick up other passengers on the way to your destination.

However, this rule doesn’t seem to apply outside major metro areas. For example, I arranged for several cab rides during a small town trip earlier this year. Each time, the cab was either filled with other people before I got in, or it stopped to pick more up along the way. And each time, nothing was said to me about sharing that ride with others.

Obviously, I understand that this sort of shared ride arrangement may be the only way to make cab services viable in smaller metro areas. However, that doesn’t excuse the cab companies from having the common courtesy to tell you that you’ll be sharing your trip with other people. By disclosing this information upfront — at the time you make an advance reservation or flag a cab down in person — customers won’t be caught off guard when the taxi fills up with a carload of other passengers.