One of the most strange and somewhat disturbing events in Chicago are the taxi cabs, most necessary but a little bit frustrating to one who does not know their way about Chicago. First of all, they will run you down as well as transport you to where you need to go. Take extreme caution while crossing the street, I have seen 5 taxi cabs run a red light on a left turn because they did not want to wait for the light to turn green. There are no red traffic light cameras here!
Also if you use "Map Quest" you can print out directions and ask the cabbie to abide by it....(yeah, right.) Well it is helpful to sound as "if" you knew where you are going. Cabbies can be very cranky so make sure when you hail a cab you are facing the direction you want to go in so you can enter the cab curbside. Oops, I found out that one on this trip. The cab driver also took a round about way to get to our destinations.
I highly recommend AGAINST taking a cab to and from the airport, it way too expensive but it will provide you a white knuckle ride in the meantime. Ha!
First of all,Chicago cab drivers are mostly from all over the world, if you or some other tourists just hop in the cab which is driven by a "none-experienced" cabbie, then you'd better have your google map handy or you could just remind the driver to get the right direction from dispatch radio which is intalled in every single cab in Chicago.
Secondly, I'm pretty sure neither the passengers nor drivers are willing spend more time in the congested road, and this happens almost all seasons in Chicago, therefore, as a passenger, you could kindly discuss about the efficient route with your driver to advoid the traffic which is saving more time and money. Cabbies are happy to serve all the good customers in their back seats!
The third, also as the most important aspect is the "ATTITUDE"! No one is stupid,even though we're all from different places in this planet, but at least we need to respect each other, before you get in the cab, why don't you just smile and let your driver feel little better, he/she might be sitting the wheel long time and gets physically and mentally exhausted, can't take any more screaming or yelling, treat him/her nicer, you'll get better service!
So please don't just blame on the cabbies, we're all equal!
Although I'm a seasoned traveller with several visits to Chicago under my belt I was scammed when I emerged from O'Hare after a flight from London at the end of July '11. Smart travellers know all about unlicensed cab drivers and the need to use the rank if you don't want to get ripped off but as I was heading for the rank with my wife and daughter my attention was distracted by a smart looking kid in his mid twenties who asked me if I needed a taxi and pointing to a yellow taxicab complete with signage and a light on top.
He looked completely straight and we loaded the luggage into the trunk. The driver offered me a choice of routes into the city and I asked him to use his best judgement given that it was 6pm on a Friday night and the road into town was at a near stand still (nothing new there).
The taxicab was a bit of a wreck (also nothing new) but the driver started the meter and we headed down town. He was a talkative guy from Lithuania who claimed to be driving the taxi via an agency. With hindsight he seemed keen to keep me distracted and the slow journey to the hotel took nearly an hour.
The fare on the meter when arrived was $85. It should have cost me around $45.
With hindsight the taxi was odd in that there was no security screen between the driver and the rear seats and I don't recall seeing any official City of Chicago tarrif notices or licence number plate.
The drop off was unusual too because the driver did not pull up immediately outside the Hilton Appartments on East Delaware, rather he stooped just around the corner.
We was done! beware licenced taxicabs that look the real thing... But aren't.
Watch out for taxis that take the long route to your destination within the city. Some taxis can spot tourists and or out of towners so they will take the most congested routes thereby charging you more. Even if youre not familiar with the area, try to either have an address ready or a specific name of the place (and say it with conviction).
Use some caution when taking a taxi. It is a good idea to have a general idea where you are going. I have had more than one taxi driver that either had no idea where he was going, or thought I was stupid. They went the wrong way to my destination, & either had no clue, or they thought I would not say anything & just pay the fare.
Just a little heads up before you assume all cab drivers are cheats.... Every Chicago cab driver pretty much hates traffic in Chicago as the fare is $20 an hour for just sitting in traffic (time only)... If I was driving that customer without traffic (or picking up another) I could make much more than that.... Hey, its easy to dump on the cabbies... By the way we have not had a fare increase going on 7 years (yea, crazy I know)... No vacation, sick days, health insurance, holidays, just assholes in the back seat that blame the traffic on us while they watch the route on their cell phone... you get much more than you deserve loser.... Read the fare sheet so you don't look like an idiot, its called education...
These comments don't represent the truth.It doesn't make sense to turn around with the same customer. By doing that how much a cab driver could increase the fare (let's say it's three dollar). But if i drop my customer off and take the new one the meter opens at $2.25 plus $1 fuel surcharge plus tip. We are talking about $3+ dollar here. When more than 2 people hire it becomes $5 dollars to just start. Add this numbers a tip.
So if a cab driver takes a longer route to cheat he/she must be stupid.
This is basic math.