Front seat passengers

grab bag, misc

For some strange reason, I was just mulling over the fact that many of the taxi drivers outside the U.S. expect you to sit up front with them and indeed are a bit puzzled and/or miffed if you don’t.

Why do you think this is?

4 comments… add one
  • Harald Aug 20, 2002

    Here’s my theory;
    People who sit in the back consider themselves more important than the driver. They always wanted to have a chauffeur and now they can have one. The back is a place where you can work (only important people work in taxis) and not be disturbed.
    People who sit up front, on the other hand, consider themselves equal to the driver. It’s a more social position, it’s easier to talk to each other. People who sit here are relaxed, they like to enjoy the view.

  • verymodern Aug 20, 2002

    I have no idea. I live in a nearly taxi-less state!:-P

  • Matt Hendrickson Aug 20, 2002

    I’m from a land where taxi use is quite rare (okay, it’s South Dakota!) I think the reason so many people sit in back of taxis is because some companies REQUIRE passengers to sit in the back.

    Why? Simple; to keep the drivers safe from being robbed or shot. Why else do you see plexiglas or bulletproof glass separating the front and the back? Other countries may not have this problem, but in the United States, its been so ingrained in our minds, that most of us automatically take the back seat, rather than the front.

    Of course that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

  • Adam Aug 21, 2002

    VeryModern… you aren’t missing out on much! 🙂

    Matt and Harald, you raise really thoughtful points.  On the crime/fear idea… I wonder if it’s more an issue of perception than actual threat.  For instance, I know there’s crime in San Jose, Costa Rica, but perhaps the taxi drivers are just less *fearful*.

    In other words, I think the distinction may be more related to trust than actual safety. 

    Maybe next time I’m in a taxi outside the States, I’ll chat with the driver about the issue and see what comes up.

What do you think?