The Boston Cab Driver’s Quick Starter Guide

Congratulations!  Your decision to pursue a career as an officially licensed cab driver in the City of Boston will provide you with an exciting and lucrative opportunity filled with mystery, intrigue and fascinating strangers.

As Boston is a world-class city steeped in history and tradition it’s important for you to recognize the vital role that hackney drivers play as community ambassadors.  Oftentimes you will provide visitors with their first and last impression of Boston, so please make it a positive one!

To that end, following are 5 simple guidelines that will assist you in providing exemplary service to the assorted tourists, business people and drunken college students that fill our streets looking for a ride.

1) Vehicle Upkeep

By law, you are required to keep the “check engine” light lit at all times.  Your patrons will appreciate the uncertainty that accompanies riding in a potentially dangerous vehicle.  And remember, the light says “check engine” not “check engine NOW.”  You can address any alleged mechanical problems whenever you feel like getting around to it.

For the health of passengers smoking is not permitted in any vehicle unless YOU want to smoke – then roll down both front windows and enjoy that sweet, sweet nicotine.  Don’t worry – you can cover up the smell by hanging multiple stinky trees from your rear-view mirror.  We recommend the vanilla.

2) Passenger Safety

In order to keep abreast of any potential emergencies, it is recommended that you wear a Bluetooth headset and stay on the phone with your girlfriend at all times.  Please feel free to argue with her.  If the fare tries to interrupt your conversation by providing directions or instructions, point at your ear and make it clear that you’re on the phone and they are bothering you.  Some people are so rude!

3) Collecting Fares

First off, never tell the passenger about any additional charges for tolls.  It’s important not to disclose what the bonus charges are actually for or riders might begin to realize that they frequently get charged for bridges and tunnels that they never actually used!

Also, thanks to that meddling Mayor Menino, all cabs in the City of Boston are now required to accept credit cards for payment.  But that doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it!  If a passenger attempts to pay by credit card:

First, say “credit card?” in a sad and questioning manner.

Then say “you don’t have enough cash?”

If they still want to pay with a card, you can always pull out the timeless classic: “machine is broken.”

If the passenger keeps insists on paying by credit card (jerk!) then at least try to get the tip money in cash or drive away before they can get their luggage out of the trunk.  That’ll learn ‘em.

4) Providing Receipts

If the passenger asks for a receipt when paying, always ask them “how many do you need?” with a wink.  If they accept your offer for multiple receipts then you know that you have a passenger with questionable ethics.  Now is the perfect time to offer them a great deal on meth or tranny prostitutes.  Remember – it’s not a receipt, it’s a test!

5) Choose Your Own Adventure

Let’s be clear here: you’re a taxi, not a bus.  Why should you have to drive to parts of the city that you don’t like or pick up passengers that look sketchy?

May we recommend a proven technique that we call ‘profiling’?

(Please note that ‘profiling’ is a catch-all term and doesn’t necessarily apply to refusing rides based on a person’s race.  You may also wish to avoid: ugly people, BU students, old ladies going to Shaw’s, Bruins fans, etc.)

One Final Note

You know that the South End and Southie are two different places.  We know that the South End and Southie are two different places.  But they don’t know.  A simple rule of thumb is that the South End is where you take fares looking for the “shortcut” to the airport and Southie is where you take people looking for those overpriced fancy restaurants.

We hope that you found this Quick Start Guide helpful.  Best of luck in your new endeavor!


If you like Boston-centric humor, you might enjoy these hilarious essays as well:

In Defense of Jaywalking in Boston

How to Drive Like You’re From Boston

Riding the Rails, Boston-style

The Boston Sports Fan’s Guide to Choosing a Jersey

Fight Club Discovered North of Boston


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