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June File

How to Hail a Taxi

June 01, 2008

Think it's easy to get a cab? That depends on where you are--every city has its own protocol. Here's a primer for hitching a ride in some of the world's favorite destinations.

[ new york ]

Cabs abound, but if you're unassertive during rush hour, you'll be left surrounded by fumes. Step off the curb and raise your arm toward the street--like you mean it.

[ mexico city ]

Drivers of pirate taxis have been known to rob or kidnap passengers, so find an official cab at established stands and hotels. The cars are yellow, orange or green with white plastic roof signs.[ london ]

The ubiquitous black cabs are for hire anywhere when the sign is lighted; grab one by putting up that hand. Don't give directions--London cabbies take exams about their city and are offended by such advice.

[ sydney ]

Cabs are easy to spot and can be flagged down with a wave. But if you're alone, mate, don't hop in back--sitting shotgun with the driver is considered the polite thing to do.

[ beijing ]

Head out with your destination written in Chinese characters to hand to your driver. Flag a cab with an arm wave. Listen as the cabby tries out his English, newly learned for the Olympics.

[ moscow ]

Look for an official taxi, usually yellow, with a checkered emblem on the door. Hold out your arm at a downward angle, palm toward the ground. Ask the cost first, then start haggling.

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