London, New York and Tokyo take top three spotsDALLAS, Oct. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- London reigns as the best city to hail a taxi, according to the annual global taxi survey compiled by Hotels.com®, the leading provider of lodging worldwide. Survey participants from 29 countries critiqued taxis on seven categories – Cleanliness, Value, Quality of Driving, Knowledge of the Area, Friendliness, Safety and Availability. New York City, Tokyo, Shanghai and Bangkok rounded out the top five best cities to hail a cab.
The world's best taxis:
% of Votes
In five of the seven categories London nabbed top honors in the categories of Cleanliness, Knowledge of the Area, Quality of Driving, Friendliness and Safety. Bangkok taxis were voted first for Best Value while New York taxis were noted for having the Best Availability.
It's all about the money
Globally, approximately 46 percent of people surveyed are willing to tip a taxi driver. Sixty-three percent will pay an additional 10 percent tip on top of their fare. Thirty-nine percent of people will tip by rounding-up to the next whole dollar. Only 15 percent of those surveyed revealed they never tip taxi drivers.
Safety vs. cleanliness
Most people rated safety as their number one concern while taking a taxi ride; followed by knowledge of the area and value. Amazingly, respondents ranked cleanliness and friendliness as the least of their concerns when grabbing a taxi ride.
Taxi wish list
When questioned about what equipment or services riders wish came in a taxi, 46 percent of those surveyed wish taxis came outfitted with a tour guide service; while 37 percent wanted a GPS feature and 31 percent want smart card payment system for credit, debit and ATM cards equipped with "chip" technology. Other items riders would like to accompany them in taxis include televisions on the back of seats, music, newspapers or magazines, refreshments and beverages, radio and reclining seats.
Common taxi activities
When asked about typical activities you'd do in a taxi, an overwhelming 76 percent of participants responded that they talk, text or email on their phone. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they slept while in transit. Thirty-five percent shared a cab with a stranger and 34 percent revealed they eat while in a taxi. Other popular activities in taxis were kissing, feeling ill or sick, doing make-up or hair and working on a laptop.
You left what?!?
Americans were asked to identify the strangest items left behind in a taxi. Objects listed included a single shoe, placemats and airlines tickets. The strangest items left in a taxi included a bra, a blow-up doll and a girlfriend (intentional or not? You be the judge).
Tips for hailing a taxi in the top 5 cities
Hotels.com partnered with Dean Foster, president of Dean Foster Associates, a global consultancy specializing in cross-cultural information, training and research, to provide expert tips and cultural advice for how to hail a taxi in each of the top five cities.
- London – Big and roomy personal cabin in the back, with jump seats for the kids, doors that lock and unlock every time the driver accelerates or brakes, and a personal privacy switch you can use to speak – or not – with the driver, whenever you like. Bags will be stashed with travelers in the big personal cabin behind the driver, not in the "boot".
- New York – Probably the sole place in the world where, no matter the corner or time, travelers can simply walk to the curb, stick out an arm, and hail a cab. Avoid "shift time", usually around 4-6 p.m., when taxis passing by are "off-duty". New York recently overhauled its taxi fleet, so most cabs are smaller, yet roomier, and very high-tech, allowing credit card payment, and providing TV entertainment. If paying with a credit card, be sure to ask the driver when entering the taxi if it is working. Sometimes the system is down forcing travelers to pay with cash.
- Tokyo – Most drivers don't go by house numbers so the destination's address, unless it is an iconic landmark, probably won't mean much to the driver. Before leaving the hotel, have the concierge write down, in Japanese, the intersection, any identifying nearby landmarks, and, if possible, a small map, to be presented to the driver.
- Shanghai – Drivers don't speak much English, so before leaving the hotel, have the concierge write down in Chinese the destination name and address on a card, then present it to the driver with two hands. This shows respect, and will please the driver which is desirable, given a local habit of taking passengers to their destination the long and more expensive way. Also, take a hotel address card along to present to the driver that provides an easy return taxi trip to the hotel.
- Bangkok – Bangkok usually sets the standard for the worst traffic in the world. Take a tuk-tuk, a kind of motorcycle with a small one or two passenger compartment attached to the back. The advantage of the tuk-tuk is that it can scoot in between traffic thus actually getting travelers to their destination in a timely manner.
Finn Partners for Hotels.com
Phone: (212) 593-5815
Taylor L. Cole, APR
Hotels.com North America
Phone: (469) 335-8442
About DFA Intercultural Global Solutions
DFA is a global consultancy specializing in cross-cultural information, training and research. Led by Dean Foster for more than twenty years, the DFA team and worldwide network provides intercultural global solutions for Fortune 500 companies and individuals. DFA's up-to-date and practical cultural information is also available to international leisure travelers as well as individual business travelers through books, webinars, and culture guides.
About Hotels.com ®
Hotels.com is a leading online accommodation booking brand. Through its global network of websites, Hotels.com, LP connects travelers with almost 155,000 properties around the world, ranging from international chains and all-inclusive resorts to local favorites and bed & breakfasts, together with all the information needed to book the perfect stay. Hotels.com, LP benefits from one of the largest hotel contracting teams in the industry, obtaining the best rates for its customers, and offers frequent sales, special deals and promotions. There are more than 7 million Guest Reviews on the websites from users who have actually stayed in the hotels to ensure customers can make an informed choice when booking. Through Hotels.com, LP's industry-leading loyalty program Welcome Rewards ®, customers can earn a free night for every 10 nights stayed at more than 85,000 hotels. Under its Price Match Guarantee, if a customer can find the same deal for less on a prepaid hotel, Hotels.com, LP will refund the difference. Travelers can book online or by contacting one of the multilingual call centers. Special apps for mobile phones and tablets can also be downloaded at www.hotels.com/deals/mobile_app/ enabling customers to book on the go with access to 20,000 last minute deals. Hotels.com publishes an award-winning twice-yearly review of international hotel room price trends called the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index™, which is now produced in 31 individual country editions, with North American data available at www.hotel-price-index.com. Follow Hotels.com on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hotelsdotcom, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/hotelsdotcom and on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/hotelsdotcom. Hotels.com is part of Expedia, Inc., the largest online travel company in the world with an extensive portfolio that includes some of the world's best-known brands.
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NOTE TO EDITORS: Hotels.com invited travelers to vote on the world's best taxi services across seven categories - "Cleanliness", "Knowledge of the area", "Quality of the driving", "Friendliness", "Safety and Availability" and "Value". The survey was conducted in July 2012, using a weighted average based on a sample size of more than 1,600 respondents across 28 countries/cities: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, USA.