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How Much to Tip Taxi Drivers (The Ultimate Guide 2023)

Does working out how much to tip Uber, Lyft, and taxi drivers make you nervous? While the rules for the correct tip amount are fairly clear in restaurants, it can be more complicated elsewhere. The tipping culture is not set in stone, and many people have different opinions on how much to give.

At the end of a cab ride, it may feel polite or even expected to give your driver a little extra. However, getting the amount wrong could be a bit embarrassing for both of you. So, let’s find out how much to tip taxi drivers and why the amount makes a difference.

The Typical Cost of Cab Rides

The Typical Cost of Cab Rides

The amount you will be charged for taking a cab ride tends to vary in different parts of the United States. This is because cab fares are calculated in different ways in various cities, towns, and states. However, there is a flat fee, which varies from $1 and $4.

There is an additional fee for the distance covered on top of the flat fee. This can be calculated per every quarter, full, or half mile covered. The distance fee is typically between $1 and $3 per mile. Therefore, on a ride of twenty miles, you are likely to be charged a total of between $21 and $44.

However, some cab companies base the additional cost on the minutes the journey takes rather than the miles covered. This is common practice in large cities such as NYC, where traffic congestion can be high. The rate can vary from 50 cents per minute up to $3 per minute. This helps to ensure that cabbies get a fair rate if they are stuck in traffic for a long time.

Extra Costs

There are several different factors that can affect the cost of your cab ride. It is not as simple as simply working out how far you traveled. Here are some of the reasons your cab fare can soar.

Cab pickups

If you order a cab to pick you up from your hotel or home, you will usually be charged an extra fee. Depending on the location, this is likely to be between $5 and $15 on top of the fare. You can avoid this by hailing a cab on the street.

Waiting time

Waiting time

Making your cabbie wait for you is a surefire way to jack up the fare. Depending on the cab company you use, the waiting fee can be from $15 to $40 per hour. It is best to make sure you are ready to go before calling a cab.

The time of day

Some cab companies add a premium surcharge during peak hours. This is often done to make cabbies more willing to work during rush hour when the roads are congested. There may also be a surcharge for taking a cab late at night and on certain public holidays. Depending on where you live and the cab company, this can be up to 40% of the regular fare.

Fuel surcharges

You may encounter a fuel surcharge from time to time when you take a cab. This is typically between $2 and $5 on top of the usual cab fare.

The Importance of Tipping

If your cab fare is already high, you may be tempted to skip the gratuity. After all, you will never see the driver again, right? Let’s take a closer look at some of the main reasons you should give your taxi driver a tip.

Low wages

Low wages

Most cab drivers make a very low wage, even compared to other people in the service industry. The hourly rate usually ranges from $15 to $22, while the average is $18 per hour. Most cabbies are underpaid, and a large part of their income comes from tips.

Factors that can determine the hourly rate include:

  • Certifications
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Languages spoken
  • Additional skills

Showing your appreciation

Sharing a confined space with someone who is unfriendly or even aggressive can be a real nightmare. On the flip side, journeys can be very pleasant if your cabbie provides a first-rate service. Tipping is the perfect way to thank your cabbie for excellent service.

The service industry standard

Many people would never leave a restaurant without leaving a gratuity for their waiter. It is generally understood that people who work in the service industry rely on tips to make ends meet. Refusing to give your cabbie a gratuity can have a serious impact on their quality of life.

Examples of Tip—Worthy Service

It is understandable to want to skip the gratuity if you receive bad service. On the other hand, you should consider giving a little extra when the service you receive is particularly good. Here are some examples of times when you should show your appreciation by giving a higher gratuity.

Local knowledge

A driver who knows exactly where they are going is worth their weight in gold. If you are exploring a new area, the driver may offer information on what to see and do. They may be able to tell you about hidden gems that you probably wouldn’t find on your own. 

Quick service

Some drivers pride themselves on taking the fastest route to the destination. This will save you a lot of time and is worth paying a little extra for. Drivers who know how to avoid traffic jams and have a good understanding of the area need to be treasured.

Customer service skills

Customer service skills

If your cabbie is polite and friendly, it can help make the experience much more enjoyable. Going the extra mile to make sure you feel respected is sure to be worth a few extra dollars. Even if you are having a bad day, experiencing great customer service is sure to make you smile. 

Helping with luggage

Taxi drivers are usually ready to help you if you have a lot of luggage. This can be a very valuable service, especially if you are traveling alone.

The journey distance

Cabbies typically make more money by completing a series of short journeys rather than one long one. If you need to go a long way, consider giving a little extra to sweeten the deal.

How Much to Tip a Taxi Driver

The very minimum you should give a taxi driver as a tip is 10% of the fare. This could be acceptable for a short journey that can be completed very quickly. Giving anything less than 10% is likely to be seen as an insult. Unless you are handing over a very large banknote, asking for change is also quite rude.

Excellent service

In the service industry, giving a gratuity is a great way to reward excellent service. If your cabbie goes above and beyond the call of duty, it is only reasonable to give them a little extra. A tip of 20% or even a little more is a good way to show your appreciation.

How Much to Tip Taxi Drivers When You Travel

While tipping is common practice in the United States, this does not always apply to other countries. In some countries, such as Japan, service providers make relatively high wages, and some Japanese people may consider that receiving a gratuity is a bit of an insult. 

Mexico 

The cost of a cab ride is quite high compared to traveling the same distance in the United States. Tourists are advised to avoid over-tipping because this tends to drive rates up even higher. For a short ride, it is best to give ten or twenty pesos if you get a good deal. If you are unable to find a fair price, consider booking a ride through Uber.

Canada

The tipping culture in Canada is very similar to that in the United States. Therefore, it is best to give between 10% and 20% of the total fare as a gratuity. 

France

Like in most of Europe, tipping a taxi driver in France isn’t common practice. Most French people reserve gratuities for times when they receive excellent service. If your cabbie goes above and beyond the call of duty, consider giving them an extra 5% to 10%.

South Korea

South Korea

Like Japan, South Korea does not have a tipping culture. People in South Korea pride themselves on providing good customer service without the need for an incentive. However, it is standard practice to give taxi drivers a few small coins after paying the fare. 

China

You are likely to find that your taxi driver refuses to take the cash if you try to give them a tip. This is because it is actually illegal for drivers in most parts of the country to accept gratuities. Trying to force extra money onto your driver can be embarrassing for both of you. 

Thailand 

Tipping culture is starting to catch on in the Land of Smiles, especially in tourist areas. If you hail a modern taxi, it will come with a meter that displays the fare in red numbers. It is common practice to add 20 baht to the fare at the end of your journey. It is best to avoid giving the cab driver a large banknote, as they may not be able to give you change.

In some parts of the country, modern air-conditioned taxis are few and far between. If taking a tuk-tuk or a motorcycle taxi, you need to agree on the fare before hopping on. Failing to do this can result in a nasty surprise at the end of your journey. If you reach your destination with minimal hassle, feel free to give the driver an extra 20 baht or so.

Costa Rica

While your driver may not expect a tip, it is customary to give a little extra at the end of the journey. The best way to do this is to round up the fare to the nearest dollar and let them keep the change. It is best to try and carry a few coins and small banknotes when traveling by cab. 

India

The word for a gratuity in India is baksheesh, and it is common practice throughout the country. If you are visiting India, failing to give a taxi driver or waiter a little baksheesh is seen as an insult. It is best to keep a few 20 rupee notes to tip taxi drivers and other service providers.

Egypt

Like India, the concept of baksheesh is alive and well in Egypt. You will be expected to hand over one or two Egyptian pounds at the end of a standard cab ride. If you spend the whole day being driven by the same person, 50 Egyptian pounds is a fair tip.

New Zealand

There is no pressure to leave a gratuity for services in New Zealand. However, if your taxi driver provides excellent service, you may want to give them a little extra. The easiest way to do this is by telling them to keep the change when you pay the fare.

Thinking of Driving for a Living?

Well, let’s start by learning a bit more about which company will suit you best by checking out our in-depth Uber Mission And Vision Statement Analysis and our Lyft Mission And Vision Statement Analysis for a comparison.

Next, go through your options with our comprehensive guide to the Uber Application, the Uber Eats Application, or the Doordash Application. However, if you have a criminal record, find out Can A Felon Drive For Lyft or Can A Felon Drive For Uber in 2023.

And, before you apply, find out How Much Do Uber Eats Drivers Make, as well as taking a look at our comparison of Lyft vs Uber Income. Or, to get a bit more insight, our Delivery Driver Job Description and our Pizza Delivery Driver Job Description may well be worth a read.

How Much to Tip Taxi Drivers – Final Thoughts

If you live in the United States, tipping service providers is an important part of the culture. Any time you take a cab, the driver will expect to receive a gratuity. It is generally best to give between 10% and 20% extra as a tip, depending on the service you receive.

In many other parts of the world, tipping cabbies is not expected. In fact, taxi drivers in some countries can see tipping as a personal insult. Therefore, it is important to learn about the local culture and customs before traveling to a different part of the world.

Happy traveling and tipping!

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About Robert A. Casey

Robert works with his girlfriend at a busy LA actors agency, where he secures roles for a number of B-list and a few A-list celebrities. His knowledge and connections within the film and TV industry are very impressive, and he loves sharing his experiences with all our readers on the site.

He lives in Studio City with his girlfriend Rachael, and his cat, Gerald.  

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