Five Things Every Cab Driver In Vancouver Needs

Last modified on December 1st, 2008

For the past few months, I really haven’t been sleeping that well. Typically that means I sleep in a little later than normal, and am always pushing it getting to work on time. On a lot of days that usually means I end up taking a cab to work. So over the last few months, I’ve gotten to understand a lot of what makes a good cab driver in Vancouver. Here’s a brief list of five must-have things that most Vancouver cab drivers have:

  • First, you have to have a vehicle that failed some inspection at some point in the last year. Probably not a big enough failure to warrant pulling it off the road, but pretty close. Shoddy shocks work quite well, or some kind of large rattling noise that only happens when you turn corners. Squeaky brakes qualify as well, as do turn signals that work intermittently.
  • Advertise that everyone can pay with interact or Visa, but only really accept cash when you get to the final destination. If you absolutely have to accept Visa, make sure you let out a big sigh when they suggest it, or ask if they can pay cash instead at least three times during the trip.
  • A cellular phone with an unlimited talk plan. Gone are the days when cabbies talked to their patrons. Nowadays it’s customary to constantly be on the phone while driving a cab. Sure, you may annoy your passenger, but they aren’t really paying that much. And honestly, what are they going to say to you anyways? Since you’ll be on your phone the entire time, make sure you have a decent airtime plan.
  • Nowadays, you’ll also need a bluetooth headset for the phone. While most cabbies don’t actually use the bluetooth headset, it’s become the “in” accessory for cab drivers everywhere. Simply put it in your ear and talk on your phone as you normally would. If you’d like to actually use your bluetooth headset to talk, that’s fine too, but discouraged by most of the industry.
  • Have some attitude. Seriously, please and thank-yous are passe now. If your passenger isn’t at least slightly pissed off at you, you’re doing something wrong. Drop them off at the wrong corner, or take them to where they asked and then scowl at them when you get there. When they give you directions, don’t answer them, but instead glare at them in the rear view mirror. Always keep your passenger on edge — a scared passenger typically won’t ask for change.

8 responses to “Five Things Every Cab Driver In Vancouver Needs”

  1. PEM says:

    Great list! 1 thing to add –

    You need a buddy that drives for the competition. When picking up a patron that has called a different company (30 minutes prior to your arrival) and holds a taxi chit only applicable to that company, it is imperative that you are able to provide a ride for that chit. To ensure you are paid for your services, set up a friendly business relationship with a competitor and sell any chits off to each other at the end of your shift.

  2. Jen says:

    Great post – a couple more for the list:

    1. You should really never drive your own cab, but share the duties around amongst your brothers and cousins. Bonus points if they don’t actually know the city particularly well.

    2. When a patron mentions they’re in a hurry, break as many traffic rules as possible to increase your chances of getting a violation and making your fare even later!

  3. Keira-Anne says:

    Brilliance…sheer brilliance.

  4. Ryan Evans says:

    Sounds right to me….and that rattling noise around corners might be a very badly worn wheel baring.

  5. Lyndsey says:


    Sounds like my cab experience almost every time!!
    Can’t forget this one either:

    Make sure you get a taxi driver who doesn’t know where the hell he is going and asks you every two minutes for the address and then yells at you when you can’t give him directions to your destination. Though you offer a rough idea of where to go, he insists on taking you on a wild goose chase, down all the busiest streets, making sure to hit every red light, despite you telling him an alternate route. Then when you finally go to pay for the shitty service, lack of knowledge and over priced fare, he refuses to put his hand out to except your money.

    I literally asked him to please take it,and when he didn’t turn around I threw it on his console and got out. I mean, what did he want me to do??

    Despite me wanting to pull my hair out, I still said thank you and to have a good night, with no response back.
    A++ service Mr. Cabdriver.

  6. Jason says:

    I think you’ve nailed the Vancouver taxi driver experience almost perfectly. The only thing I would add is the seemingly amazing approach that the drivers have of picking the slowest and longest route imaginable between any two points.

  7. Danny Dang says:

    One to add is: Be non-existent when people actually need you for a ride home.

  8. […] wrote a cheeky piece about cab drivers in Vancouver and I liked […]

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