Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Chatty cabbies likely to earn £5 more than silent drivers, new survey on taxi tipping finds

The average UK taxi driver earns £3.22 in tips per trip – but there are some who earn more than others

The ‘silent ride’ option was hailed as a game-changer when it was introduced on taxi apps – but new research suggests Brits actually prefer having a chatty driver in the front seat after all.

According to a survey of 2,000 people commissioned by vehicle supply firm The Taxi Centre, 66% of taxi users said they’re more likely to tip sociable cabbies, and a quarter of these passengers said they’d tip more if they enjoyed the chat.

Data showed a number of factors can influence a passenger’s decision to part with extra money during taxi journeys.

For example, almost two thirds (65%) of survey respondents said they’d be more likely to tip a taxi driver for a longer journey (20 minutes or more) and/or late at night.

On average, Brits tend to tip their taxi drivers £3.22. Nearly a fifth (18%) said they would tip up to a fiver, while 19% said they would be happy to pay £5 or more.

Despite the shift towards bank payments in recent years, tipping still largely occurs in the form of cash – with 73% of taxi tippers saying they gave notes and change to the driver, with just 21% leaving money via an app. 

Conversely, nearly half (46%) said they would tip drivers more often if it was easier to do so via contactless payments, suggesting taxi tipping may be in need of a digital re-brand along with the service.

Rank Reason %
#1 Cash 73 per cent
#2 Online or app 21 per cent
#3 Neither of these 4 per cent

The Taxi Centre survey also showed that the amount of passengers who do not leave tips is very small. Just 5% said they never tip taxi drivers, and an even smaller number (2%) said they are less likely to tip a sociable driver.

The most common justifications for not tipping were taxis being ‘too expensive’ (41%), a belief that ‘it’s the driver’s job’ (32%), and ‘journeys don’t take long enough’ to constitute a tip (24%).

39% passengers said they agreed with taxis charging premium rates for late-night journeys or at peak times, whilst 31% disagreed.

Rank Reason %
#1 Taxis are too expensive anyway  43 per cent
#2 It’s their job 32 per cent
#3 I don’t take long enough to constitute a tip 24 per cent
#4 I never tip service workers 17 per cent
#5 I have never had a good enough taxi experience 11 per cent

Aside from being sociable, friendly and good conversationalists, taxi drivers may be able to generate bigger tips by offering passengers a hand with luggage, the survey has suggested.

Almost half of all respondents (48%) said they’d be happy to leave a tip for drivers who provided assistance with bags.

Others said they would fork out extra cash for taxi drivers that drove conscientiously (36%), picked up other passengers en route (33%), kept the car fresh-smelling (29%), or diverted the journey to visit a drive-thru (18%).

Rank Reason %
#1 Helping with luggage  48 per cent
#2 Conscientious driving 36 per cent
#3 Offer to pick up a friend on the way 33 per cent
#4 Fresh smelling vehicle 29 per cent
#5 Divert to a drive-thru 18 per cent

A Taxi Centre spokesperson commented: “It is wonderful to hear that the art of conversation isn’t dead after all!

“People still love to have a natter to their cabbies to pass the time, and this is exactly what our survey has proven. Being affable earns better tips, and that’s something we can definitely get behind here at The Taxi Centre.

“After a quiet year or so on the roads, we hope to see (and hear!) plenty of happy passengers getting back to enjoying their taxi journeys as we enter the next taxi season!”  

For further insights from The Taxi Centre, visit The Taxi Centre newsroom.

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