Around the World in 15 Taxis
Whatever country you’re in, if you’re lost, stranded, need to get somewhere quickly or just want to talk to someone who knows the local area like the back of their hand, keep your eyes peeled for a taxi.
However, as from The Taxi Centre shows, the vehicles you’ll need to look out for might come as shock. If you think that the taxis we have in Britain – either black cabs or your standard low cost estates – are found around the world, think again.
Looking towards the developing world, you sometimes might be faced with an unusual choice of ride when looking to get somewhere cheaply and quickly. Take for example Cuba, where the tourist’s taxi of choice is the Cocotaxi. The Cocotaxi is not only cheap to ride, but cheap to run, typically being composed of a low cost moped surrounded by a coconut shaped outer shell. A common sight in tourist regions of Havana, it’s not just the shape of this taxi that’s odd. Often, these vehicles are driverless, with the taxi “passenger” being expected to drive themselves to their destination.
Another country with odd seeming taxi etiquette is Russia. Amongst the luxury Maybach and Mercedes fleets reserved for the upper classes, you’ll find the gypsy cabs. Unregulated, unmarked, and often shoddy looking, it’s not surprising that tourists are warned away from gypsy cabs. However, if you’re looking for a ride from someone who knows the streets well, gypsy cabs are your best bet. Not officially a taxi, a gypsy cab is any car that stops and picks up a passenger when flagged down. Whilst this may be called hitchhiking in many countries, for Russian passengers it’s a cheap way to get around, and an easy way to make a few roubles for the driver.
Elsewhere, we see taxis that are even further removed from the British and American staples. In, the Philippines, decommissioned U.S Army vehicles are a common sight on the roads, known colloquially by locals as “Jeepneys”. These are a form of “share taxi”, something common in rural and developing parts of the world. Rather than your taxi simply picking up a passenger and heading straight for a destination, a Jeepney driver will pick up additional passengers until the vehicle is full, making these perhaps not the best choice for those in a hurry.
To take a look at the cars (or animals) used as transport, and the accompanying etiquette expectations, take a look at the infographic.