Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Taxing Etiquette

A bit of nervousness always accompanies a Moscow cab ride: Will a necessary part of the Zhiguli fall off in mid-lane? How narrowly will the driver miss the babushka scuttling across the road?


Still, Moscow cab riders are rarely treated to the streams of invective, abuse and the running commentary on politics, traffic and Howard Stern with which New York City's cabbies regularly entertain their passengers.


So, mindful of New York's cabbies' brusque manners, the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission has asked cabbies to learn 50 phrases that they might wish to employ to make the ride more pleasant for the passengers, the Associated Press said.


The commission says that many of the city cabbies are not intentionally discourteous; many are simply new immigrants who are unfamiliar with the niceties of English. The commission, therefore, distributed the courtesy phrases two weeks ago to the city's latest crop of prospective cabbies:


"I'm sorry if you think I am driving too fast, madam. I will slow down immediately."


"Please forgive me for not having change for $20. Please let me run to the store right here and get you the correct change."


"I am sorry, I may not make a U-turn, sir, as it is illegal. But I will be sure to get you to your destination as quickly as possible."


"Please excuse the bumpy ride. I'll do my best to avoid the potholes."


Cabbies, however, don't seem to have taken the lesson to heart: When a reporter ventured out to a taxi stand to inquire about their opinions, three said they didn't understand the question, one refused to roll down his window and another said he hated reporters.


Perhaps, some cabbies said, the old system of mutual rudeness by drivers and passengers is best. As cabbie Michael Higgins told The New York Times, "If I was overly polite to a passenger, he would think he was dealing with a psychotic."