From hailing a taxi to tipping the driver, taxi travel has a protocol all it own. Whether you are host, junior executive, or guest, creating favorable impressions when traveling in a taxi include knowing where to be seated, how to enter the vehicle, and how to make your exit. How you conduct yourself in these situations is just one piece of that positive image you need to project to the world.
When you are traveling with a group of business associate, the rank and hierarchy of your fellow passengers determines seating precedence. Clients are the most important members of the group, ranking above senior company executives. Junior executives should seat themselves after the others, in the least desirable seats, or ask the leader of the group where you should sit. (In taxicabs, the middle seat in the back is the most uncomfortable and the passenger seat in front is the most dangerous.) The junior executive, not a guest, should sit in the front seat if there is too little room in the back seat. Women follow this business seating etiquette of rank and status rather than the social etiquette of gender, and seat themselves accordingly.
When two people are traveling in a taxi, the junior person asks the senior executive where to sit, and then enters the cab curb side first, sliding over if necessary.
A taxicab driver may or may not open the doors for passengers. If a man and woman are traveling together on business, good manners still require that he hold the door for her and let her enter first. The woman sits on the rear passenger side; the man walks behind the taxi and takes the seat behind the driver. Upon arrival at their destination, if both passengers are sharing the fare, the woman gives the man her share while they are still in the taxi. The man gets out first, leaves the door open for her, and then pays the driver from the outside.
It is customary to pay a taxi fare in cash; however, if you prefer to pay with a credit card or check, clear it with the driver before entering the cab. Tips depend on the length of the ride, and whether or not the driver has given extra service. The customary tip is 15 to 20 percent of the fare, or more if the driver has assisted with luggage or made extra stops.
When you travel on business, you are representing your company, and everything you do reflects on you and on your company’s reputation. Upgrading your taxi etiquette will assure you that the impressions you make on others say the right things about who you are.