Chillax Cab Drivers- Its Just A Credit Card : Amazing Travel Concierge
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Chillax Cab Drivers- Its Just A Credit Card

by david daly on 11/16/11

My husband and I took 4 cab rides during our 2-night trip to Boston, and all four cab drivers refused to let us pay by credit card.  Each time we asked to use plastic, we were faced with a litany of excuses including claims that the machine was broken, would not print a receipt, or that it would cost extra.  It was infuriating to go through the same resistance over and over again, especially since this was a work trip for Ben and he had to use his corporate card for all expenses.

New York introduced credit card payment in taxis in 2007, about two years before it was widely available in Boston.  At first, there was some resistance among cab drivers who resented the 3-5% processing fees for credit cards.  However, the resentment soon evaporated and it seemed both drivers and passengers accepted the new normality of cashless payments quite quickly. 

In 2011 it is absurd for anyone to expect passengers to always have a wad of cash available for taxi fares.  Our cab ride from the airport to Waltham was $53 and the driver threw a fit when we asked him to enable the credit card payment screen.  I cannnot remember the last time I carried $53 in cash on me!  I understand that the small processing fee credit card companies charge erodes a portion of their profit, but I often have to pay $3 ATM fees to access cash when traveling, so I do not depart with my cash unless its absolutely necessary!  If cab drivers are not making any money, then why are there so many cabs?  And hasnt the expanded payment options increased ridership while also alleviating the need for carrying abundant change for passengers?

When I was living in Washington, DC for college in the late 90s, the taxis did not yet have meters.  The same exact ride from the Georgetown front gates to the US Airways Shuttle terminal at DCA could cost anywhere from $16-$27.  The price was determined by a Ouija board that the driver whipped out at the end of the ride to summon the taxi fare spirits in a front seat seance.  It was ludicrous.  Eventually all elements of society have to adapt with the times and credit card payments for taxi fares is here to stay, and I urge you to push back the next time a taxi driver tries to prevent you from using your plastic!

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