8 Easy Tips to Save on Taxi Fares
1. Ask for Flat Rates
If you are going longer distances, it's always a good idea to call your cab company and ask if they can offer you a fixed flat rate. Tell them that you are willing to pay the flat fare up front. Most cab companies actually love the idea of flat fares because they can charge you in advance and not have to worry about collecting the fare later. Flat fares can easily save you money. However, cab companies might not be too keen to offer you a discounted flat fare if your trip is short and the fare is low. So, use a taxi fare calculator to estimate how much your ride would cost and then call the taxi company. In most cases, you can expect at least a 10% discount.
2. Offer to Pay in Cash
Taxi drivers hate being paid with a credit card. Why?
- Most card companies charge anywhere between 2.5 - 3.75% per swipe. Your driver loses money.
- Disputes on card charges. Remember that night you were wasted and couldn't remember why you paid 50 bucks to a taxi company?
- Manual card charges. If your driver cannot swipe the card, he has to manually enter your card number and that costs him more than the regular swipe fees.
Let your driver know that you can pay in cash. Most drivers will readily agree to give you at least 2-3% off the fare.
3. Avoid the After Hours Surcharge
Most cab companies charge an after hours surcharge. This surcharge usually applies to travel between 9 p.m. through 6 a.m. If possible, start your ride before 9 p.m, to save on the surcharge.
4. Cabs Can Be Cheaper than an Uber
Surprisingly yes. For example, if you are traveling a distance of up to 1.39 miles in Richmond VA, a cab is actually cheaper than an Uber. In most cities, for short distances, a cab is indeed cheaper. So, the next time you want to ride 2-3 blocks, call a cab instead. For example, in Richmond VA, the minimum fare for an UberX is $5.85. While the minimum fare in a cab is $2.50. So, if you wanted to travel 1 mile, a cab would cost $5 while an Uber would cost $5.85. If you travel daily, even $0.85 savings per day is substantial.
5. Try Avoiding Rush Hours
If you can, try to schedule your ride during non peak traffic hours. Traveling between 7.30 a.m. through 9 a.m. and in the evenings from 4.30 p.m till 6 p.m can get costly. Your meter keeps running while you're stuck in traffic. Avoid traveling during these hours if possible.
6. Ask for Weekly/Monthly Rates
Some situations might need you to ride a cab daily. For example, if your car was in the auto body shop, or if you unfortunately got a DUI license suspension. Now, you don't have a car and need to commute to work daily. That's 5 days a week - a total of 10 rides to and from work, each week. Roughly 44 rides a month! Tell your cab company that you plan to ride with them 44 times a month and would like a weekly or monthly flat rate. Most cab companies will definitely offer you a flat rate that can save you a substantial amount.
7. Ask to Take the Shortest Route
When your ride starts, most cab drivers use navigation apps or systems to get to your destination. Interestingly, most navigation apps have 2 options - 1. Take the "shortest" route or 2. Take the "fastest" route. Now, in most scenarios, the apps' fastest route is going to take you screaming through the interstates with very little time spent on local roads. Fastest routes are also longer routes. The only reason the route is fast is because you are using the interstate speed limits. Remember, your taxi meter bills you for miles. Every extra mile costs you money. For a change, it can be a great idea to tell your driver to take the shortest route instead of the fastest route. It's simple!
8. Give Directions
If you know the best and shortest way to get to your destination, tell your driver right away that you will guide him with directions. Honestly, if you know the roads to your home better than your driver, why let him use a navigation app that might make a 5 mile trip turn into a 7 mile trip?