The most important taxi etiquette rules. How to behave in a taxi. Avoid any embarrassments. Be a pleasant passenger.


What taxi etiquette is

Taxi etiquette is the set of rules to properly ride on a taxi. It includes hailing, tipping, and the appropriate behaviors.

If you are a customer, follow taxi etiquette to respect your driver and avoid any embarrassment.

If you are a driver, know the etiquette rules to properly manage your customer’s expectations.

General taxi etiquette principles

Taxi etiquette is based on two major underlying principles. 

  • Facilitate traffic.
  • Avoid behavior that can disrespect the driver or the passengers.

Most etiquette rules apply to any trip. However, circumstances may vary. Apply extra kindness on trips that can cause additional stress. 

  • Rush hour or traffic peak days, such as holidays.
  • Challenging weather.
Taxi etiquette.How to get in, seat, and get off a taxi. Etiquette principles to interact with taxi drivers.

Taxi etiquette rules

1) Etiquette to get in a taxi 

Call or hail a taxi.

If you call, be punctual. Get ready a few minutes before.

If you hail a taxi, first get to an appropriate place. The taxi driver must be able to stop without blocking traffic. Avoid hailing a taxi immediately near a traffic light or a crossroad. Instead, look for a spot where the driver can see you in advance and pull over the car. To hail, raise your hand with an open palm. 

Greet the driver. Before boarding, confirm that the driver can bring you to your destination. If you have luggage, wait for the driver to open the trunk and put your luggage in. 

Once seated, put your safety belts on. It is not polite to wait for the driver to ask.

2) How to manage your belongings in a taxi

In general, bulky items should go in the trunk. Wait for the taxi driver to put them in. 

Bring in the taxi only small bags, backpacks, or purses.

You can ask for exceptions, but it is up to the taxi driver to accept.

3) Taxi seating etiquette

Usually, the passengers should take the back seats. 

If you prefer to sit in the front seat, you can ask the driver. If you are in a party of 3 or 4, it is ok for one of you to sit in the front.

Keep your legs under control. Your legs should not occupy a space wider than your seat. Do not spread them. 

Never put your feet on the seat. 

4) How to dress in a taxi 

Get in a taxi dressed normally. Avoid borderline situations that may annoy the driver. Such as getting in a taxi in a swimsuit after the beach, or covered in mud after a hike. 

Do not take your shoes off in the taxi.

5) Respect others & their personal space

Do not occupy another passenger’s personal space. Keep your arms, legs, and belongings in the space delimited by your seat. 

If you would like to open the window, ask the driver first. Similarly, ask the driver to turn the air conditioning or heating up or down.

Avoid bringing food or drinks on board. In any case, no alcoholic drinks. If you spill food or a drink, clean after yourself.

Limit noise. Listen to music or watch videos strictly with your headphones on. Be mindful of the content you watch. Do not watch videos that may disturb or offend the driver.

Speak with your taxi driver if you wish so. If you prefer to avoid conversation, give short but polite answers and look out of the window. The driver usually takes the cue.

Smoking or vaping is forbidden. 

6) Taxi etiquette for pets

Ask the taxi driver if you can bring your pets with you. Confirm the conditions before getting in.

Do not get upset if the driver refuses.

7) Etiquette to get off a taxi

When the taxi is approaching your stop, start gathering your things. Do not leave any item or trash behind.

Pay the fare before getting off the taxi. 

8) Taxi tipping etiquette 

Tipping etiquette largely varies by country. In the United States, a tip between 10% and 20% is customary. In Europe, it is often ok to tip a couple of Euros.

taxi etiquette mistakes

Taxi etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst taxi etiquette mistakes. 

  • 8/10. Putting your feet on the seat.
  • 7/10. Making your driver wait.
  • 7/10. Not fastening the seat belt.
  • 6/10. Eating or drinking in a taxi.