During my sophomore year of college I was given the opportunity to study a semester abroad and of course wanting to get as far away as possible I chose to go to Melbourne, Australia for six months! I loved my time spent with the Aussies and of course learned many new tidbits both inside and outside of the classroom. One tidbit that truly stuck with me, probably because I found it quite odd, was that if you were to hail a taxi cab you were expected to ride in the front seat. If you had multiple members in your party you would fill in the front seat first and then continue onto the back seats. This was the exact opposite of the taxi etiquette that I learned in NYC, so I decided to do a bit of research to find out why this rule differs in varying countries.
It turns out that in certain countries especially Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, and Scotland it is very impolite to sit in the back seat first as the driver views it as an indication of non-egalitarianism. In other words the driver will think you are stuck up if you sit in the back. Even more fascinating is that due to this fact some drivers will take you “the longer route” to your destination if you sit in the back than in the front. One of my friends from the Netherlands even said that “If you are a lone person, especially a male, it is the proper etiquette that you sit in the front seat so that you can talk about sports and life with the driver”. Seeing how my only real taxi experience before Melbourne was NYC, I was quite amazed that a driver would actually want a passenger to sit up front! From my experiences in NYC many drivers have their front seats filled with newspapers and their lunches and tend to be hesitant to move their stuff for a passenger to fill the front seat, let alone chat you up the entire ride! To be fair however, many drivers also prefer passengers to sit in the back for safety reasons in many areas.
It is interesting how countries and even cities around the world can have such differing views on simple topics such as sitting in the front or back seat of a taxi cab. Has anyone else ever run into a similar situation as mine? Does anyone prefer the front or the back? Please share your stories as we are always eager to hear them!
For more information on Taxis and Rideshare companies around the world especially to compare fare prices check out RideGuru
Lilly is an Intern at TaxiFareFinder