Sin City sees over 30 million visitors per year and can proudly declare that Las Vegas taxi cabs have been voted the best overall in the U.S. according to the annual taxi survey compiled by Hotels.com®. Over 1,900 travelers from over 50 major U.S. cities responded to a Hotels.com survey and judged cabs on seven categories – cleanliness, value, quality of driving, knowledge of the area, friendliness, safety, and availability.
With roughly 2,000 cabs on the street at any given time and having logged over 2.1 million cab rides in July alone*, Las Vegas’ cab drivers ranked in the top three of all seven categories. Sin city beat out Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Orlando with 11.7%, voting it the place with the friendliest drivers. “In Las Vegas, Nevada, the driver took shortcuts to get us to our destination fast. He was courteous and was telling jokes to us. The real shocker was that he actually drove safely,” said one survey taker.
“I was [in] Las Vegas and my taxi driver installed a karaoke machine in his car. While we were getting home late in the evening, we were belting out Britney Spears in the back!” said another voter.
With over 13,000 yellow cabs roaming the streets of New York City, it comes as no surprise that 42 percent of voters nominated the city with the best cab availability. It also came out on top as the city with the most knowledgeable drivers with 30 percent of the votes. Unfortunately, 39 percent voted the city that never sleeps the worst in driving, with 38 percent nominating New York cabbies as the least friendly of all cities surveyed.
Taxi services come in all shapes and sizes and Hotels.com survey takers have plenty to share when it comes to the most unusual experiences in foreign countries. “The ‘matatu’, [a small, minibus taxi that is an icon of Kenyan travel] common to Kenya, is unbelievable. I held someone’s chicken [since the bus was crowded],” said one traveler.
Thailand’s famous tuk tuk taxis left this Hotels.com traveler with an unforgettable memory, “Thailand’s tuk tuk, basically a motor scooter with a trailer welded to the back end, had ‘bench’ seating and a plastic roof. We fit eight people in space possibly made for about five, going 35+ mph on city streets. We almost lost a passenger on one of the turns, but the driver just laughed and said ‘hang on!’”
Out of those who took the survey 10 percent of travelers have used taxi cabs in Mexico. The United Kingdom (6 percent), France (3 percent), Canada (3 percent), and Jamaica (2 percent) rounded out the top five countries that Americans frequently hail cabs in.
Hotels.com Top Ten Tips on hailing a cab from Hotels.com travelers:
“Take hand sanitizer. Greet every cab driver.”
“When travelling in the Caribbean, hire a taxi for inexpensive and unique island tours. The drivers are local, friendly, and happy to show you around.”
“Look at the locals, if there is a particular cab service they are using, follow suit.”
“In foreign countries, always negotiate rate (or use of meter) before getting in.”
“Have a general knowledge of the city map, main landmarks, and directions before taking a cab.”
“Be polite, patient, and explain yourself well so the driver understands what you want. Especially important when there are different languages involved.”
“If you are staying in a city for a few days and get a good taxi driver, get his contact number and use him often.”
“Always take a card from the hotel you are staying at in case you need to call if there is a problem.”
“Look up customs; in Japan for example, it can be offensive to try to tip your driver.”
“Try to always have local currency (including small bills/coins) on hand. Don’t assume credit cards or US dollars will be accepted.”