As a business traveler (sigh) I am constantly in cabs, largely to/from the following four places: My house, the office, the client, the airport. You tend to notice many things about cabs and their conductors after a while.

  • For example, the cabs in Boston have much less footspace than the NY ones do. I think they put the big divider thing into normal cars instead of semi-modified ones as you see elsewhere.
  • In DC, there are no dividers, and the drivers are almost entirely of African origin, especially Ethiopia. The fares are also entirely calculated by the number of zones you travel through, not the time or distance traveled according to the odometer. The idea here is to disincentivize out of the way trips to pad the fare but a flat fee just for picking someone up (as in NY) encourages them to turn fares as fast as possible already.
  • Additionally, DC cabs will think nothing of picking up other riders if they seem to be going in the same direction as you (“seem” being key here). This is wholly unacceptable in New York and will earn you a serious yelling/fistshaking by your existing passenger.
  • When you throw your luggage into the trunk of a cab, you’ll notice two things: 1) It’s way bigger than it needs to be. I mean you could really make the cabin larger if you decided not to have a swimming pool sized slot in the caboose. 2) Junk. Lots of it. Most cabbies have some crap of theirs left in the trunk which they clearly don’t care if people make off with. I’ve seen boxes, jackets, backpacks, DVDs, bungee cords, fuel cans, and babies. Okay, no babies.
  • Also in DC, for no apparent reason, the (mostly African) cabbies drive around with the passenger and driver windows down. IN THE WINTER. You have to ask for them to put them up and even then they often leave a crack open. I have no idea what this is accomplishing
  • One cab in DC I got into this past week had tons of little plastic animals in it (see photo) on the back platform thing behind the back seat under the rear window and all over the dash and ceiling. The contents were largely bobble-head turtles which were surprisingly freaky.