Taxi Driving: 5 Tips for Dealing With Difficult Passengers

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Written by Michael Foote , founder of Quote Goat, with over 13 years experience working in the finance, insurance and currency sectors.

As a taxi driver, the vast majority of your jobs will be hassle-free and without incident. However, unfortunately, every so often you may encounter a passenger who’s being uncooperative.

Whether your customer is refusing to pay the correct fare, or you’ve picked up someone who’s being aggressive after one too many drinks, knowing how to handle these potentially volatile situations is extremely important for any cabbie and is something that experienced taxi drivers will have had to unfortunately deal with on occasion throughout their career. If you are new to driving taxis then we hope these tips can help you.

Failure to defuse the situation could see it escalate quickly and before long things could turn ugly, with damage to your vehicle and physical altercations a very real possibility.

If you happen to find yourself in a less than ideal situation, there are some things you need to remember that’ll make handling the situation much easier. To help keep you safe when you’re out on the road, here are our top tips for dealing with difficult passengers. You may also want to check out our guide on how to stay safe as a taxi driver.

Try to make a connection with the passenger

Now, some prefer not to partake in idle chit-chat, so this might not be for everyone. But if you don’t mind engaging with your passengers, try to make some small talk and build up some rapport. This can be a great way of stopping punters becoming difficult before they’ve even started, as they’ll be much less likely to be confrontational if you’ve been getting along well.

Stay calm

If things do start to get heated, try to be assertive but remember that de-escalation is always the end goal. If you’ve been unlucky enough to pick up an aggressive customer, chances are becoming aggressive yourself will simply add fuel to the fire. Shouting and becoming angry – whether you feel you have a right to or not – is never the best way of controlling a situation, so try to remain calm and reason with the passenger.

Be clear over price

Although there are no excuses for passengers being unreasonably difficult, some may have had bad experiences in the past meaning they’re more likely to kick off if they think the same thing is happening again. One such situation may be over the fare, where the customer feels they’re being charged more than they should.

To prevent any customers feeling like they’re being ripped off, be open and honest about the fare from the off. Tell them what the trip is likely to cost and inform them if there are any unexpected changes along the way such as a diversion or delay, so they’re always up to speed.

Ask for a precise destination

Every so often you might pick up a passenger who thinks they’re entitled to a free ride. When the passenger enters the vehicle, try to ascertain a precise location. If the passenger seems sketchy about the destination, take payment up front. If someone is thinking of absconding once you arrive at the destination, asking for payment before you set off will usually resolve the problem one way or another.

Call for help

If things start to turn really sour, don’t be afraid to call for some back-up. Whether this is from your office or the local authorities, be prepared to call someone who can help you out if the situation starts to get out of hand.

Thankfully, the vast majority of your jobs as a taxi driver will run without a hitch. For the ones that don’t be sure to follow our tips for dealing with difficult passengers and you should be able to resolve the situation quickly and effectively.

If you’re looking to compare taxi insurance, head over to our comparison page for some of the best deals currently on the market.

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