School Bus Safety Tips

School Bus Safety

It’s that time of year again. The kids are back to school, and school buses are out twice a day. School bus safety is important and pertains to the children riding on them, the parents with kids on the bus, and drivers on the road. School buses have safety features to keep kids safe while they ride, but it’s very important drivers are aware of the precautions they need to take and the rules they need to follow.

School buses are a safe form of transportation. Safety features on buses vary depending on the model of bus. Buses are almost always equipped with emergency exits. There is often a hatch in the roof. There is also a rear door for emergency exits. Usually, there are two exit windows in the bus. These are to protect children in case of accidents. 

Kids riding the bus should follow a few simple rules to make sure they get to school and home safely and quickly.

  • Always face forward. Getting up, turning around, sitting backwards in the seat can cause injury to children if the bus ends up in an accident.
  • Keep your backpacks or any other bags on your lap or under your seat. Keeping the aisles clear means kids can get on and off quickly without tripping.
  • Throwing objects is not permitted. Bus drivers need to focus on the road. Airborne objects can cause injury to children and could even be the cause of an accident if it hinders the driver.
  • When getting off the bus to cross the street, it is important to look.

Parents also have some rules to follow when picking up or dropping off their children at the designated spot.

  • Park in a safe place at a distance away from the spot. This allows the bus to arrive and depart safely.
  • Arrive five minutes early. Sometimes buses run quickly, and you don’t want your child waiting without you.
  • Allow the bus driver to give directions about getting on and off the bus as well as crossing the street. It is their job.
  • Do not approach the bus while it is moving. This is for your safety.

There are several laws of the road when driving near school buses to protect the children and you. It is important to follow these rules. Ignoring them is dangerous and accompanied by hefty fines.

  • School buses must stop and open the door to look both ways when crossing train tracks. 
  •  Always give them a wide berth. They have blind spots and take turns very wide.
  • Always stop thirty feet behind or in front of a bus when they stop letting children on and off. A stop sign will pop out on the side of the bus. Both sides of the street must stop. The only time oncoming traffic does not stop is if the road is a highway larger than four lanes or the street is four lanes and divided by a median.
  • Before and after school hours, keep your eyes open for children waiting by the side of the road for buses.

Miami: Getting Around With Taxis

miami taxi

Miami is one of the best cities for just about everything. Whether you’re after food, beach, fun, night life, history, culture, or a little bit of everything, Miami has something to offer. If you find yourself in Miami, you have transportation options, but taxis are still thriving in this bustling city.

Miami is home to six taxi companies. It is important to make sure you’re catching a ride with a licensed taxi because being an unlicensed taxi is illegal within Miami’s city limits. To make sure you are using a legal taxi, the word Taxi or Cab will be written on the vehicle as well as a telephone number associated with the company of the car. Taxis must also have the license number of the taxi, the driver’s license number, and a rate card displayed for passengers to see.

You can get in touch with the taxi companies directly to order a taxi or flag one down. Most taxis come equipped with credit card readers. If you don’t have cash, you’ll want to double check just in case. Rates for taxis in Miami are standardized. The starting fare is $2.50. After the first ⅙ of a mile, it is $.40 for each ⅙ mile after. Additionally, there is a $.40 per minute charge for waiting. If you go through tolls, you will be responsible for paying for those tolls. It is also customary to tip taxi drivers in Miami, and the expected rate is 15% to 20%. If you want an estimate for the cost of your trip try using our Miami Fare Calculator.

The Miami International Airport comes equipped with a taxi stand on the lower level. If you locate baggage claim, the stand is just outside the door. Airport employees will help you locate a taxi. The cost to take a taxi from the airport can range dramatically depending on the location you’re headed towards. Trips to downtown Miami are usually around $22, but if you have a far trip, you could pay upwards of $70. Fares start at $4.50. Every ⅙ mile is an additional $.40 with a wait time costing $.40 per minute, as well. Miami is an ocean city, and water is a big part of its identity. You can take water taxis to get around or see the sites if you want to familiarize yourself with the city. Water taxis have set schedules leaving from set locations, but the fare is between $15 and $20 per person. You can find water taxis at Bayside Marketplace in Downtown, Miami Beach Marina, Virginia Key, or Hyatt Miami. This is a fun and unique way to get around. 

Taking Taxis in Dubai

dubai taxi

Dubai is one of the hottest places to visit, and we’re not just talking temperature. It is a tourist destination, and one of the safest cities to visit in the Middle East. People flock to this hyper luxurious and ultra modern city for a multitude of reasons ranging from business to fun. Everyone has to get around, and the transportation of choice is taxis.

Like many cities around the world, there are legal and illegal taxis in Dubai. Cream colored taxis are licensed and legally operated by Dubai Taxi Corporation. Privately run taxis have different colored roofs, these are also legal, safe, and available to hail. If someone approaches you offering a taxi ride, don’t take them up on it because they are operating an illegal one. Taxis can be hailed on the street like you would do in New York City, from a taxi stand, by calling the taxi company directly, or by using Dubai’s free Smart Taxi App. Taxis in Dubai are safe for everyone. They are even safe for women riding alone at any time of day; it is always best to sit in the back seat of a taxi to avoid any miscommunication or misinterpretation.

Taxis in Dubai are the most comfortable, fastest, and cheapest way to get around the city. For people used to American and European taxi prices, Dubai has shockingly low taxi fares, which makes it an even more attractive mode of transportation. Fares depend on the time of day. Between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm, the fare begins at Dhs8. Between 10:00pm and 6:00am, fares begin at Dhs9. Every kilometer after is an additional Dhs1.82. Minimum fares are Dhs12, which is only $3.27.

Most taxi drivers speak some English. Most drivers are familiar with Dubai, but they are not as versed as New York City’s taxi drivers, and not all use a navigational system. When giving the driver a destination, people give a landmark like a hotel, monument, or other major destination. If they don’t use a navigational system and you have access to one, you can offer to let them use yours to help make the trip a little easier. 

All taxis accept credit cards, but if you do pay in cash, use small bills because the drivers may not be able to break large bills. Tipping is not mandatory, but Dhs5 or Dhs10 is a polite amount to tip your driver if you choose to do so.

Dubai is a great city for work or play. Taxis are an affordable and convenient way to navigate the city whether you’re there to stay or popping in for a visit.

What is the FREE NOW (MyTaxi) App?

 what is free now app

FREE NOW is one of the most trustworthy ride-hailing apps in Europe. It used to be known as MyTaxi, but the company and app changed their name to FREE NOW on July 2, 2019. The app is a one stop taxi hailing experience for customers to book, pay, and ride.

The app works with yellow taxis, black cabs, and other fully licensed services as a comprehensive ride-hailing platform. FREE NOW operates throughout cities in nine European countries. The app is available and taxi services can be used in certain cities in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Poland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. 

The app began as MyTaxi upon its foundation in June 2009. In July 2016, the company merged with Hailo. It was a growing opportunity for the service because Hailo was a major taxi app within Ireland and the United Kingdom. The merger made MyTaxi the largest and most successful taxi hailing app in Europe. FREE NOW is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany with BMW and Daimler having large shareholdings. The app continues to prosper and supports over seven hundred employees.

FREE NOW is a preferred taxi hailing app because of its intuition and seamlessness. Hailing a taxi is as simple as entering your destination and paying with a credit card on file. Users can track their taxis arrival, save their home and work addresses for easy booking, and share their ride with friends and family for safety. The app also allows riders to book a taxi up to four days ahead of schedule, so you never have to worry about getting to your destination. FREE NOW also offers to have receipts emailed for business expense purposes; the app also offers business accounts.

One of the best features FREE NOW offers is the ability to order the specific taxi to fit needs. Taxi XL allows more than four riders in a vehicle. Match helps riders share a taxi and the expense with other passengers in select cities. Exec is available in Cork and Dublin providing luxury vehicles to business passengers. Taxi wheelchair helps those with accessibility concerns. Taxi Eco is an environmentally friendly option with hybrid and electric vehicle options. Europeans and tourists love FREE NOW because it is a user friendly, affordable way of getting around town. With ever growing options and destinations, the app is projected to continue growing in success and popularity.

FREE Audio/Video Recording Warning Stickers for Drivers

Our sister site, RideGuru, just released new Dash Cam Warning stickers for Uber, Lyft, and Taxi drivers! Take a look below at their announcement post to order your free sticker today.

While driving for Uber or Lyft has its perks it can also lead to troublesome situations. Many drivers, to avoid being wrongly accused or to secure evidence of wrongdoings, have decided to install dash cam video and audio recorders in their cars. On the help section of Uber’s website, they state that drivers may “install and use video cameras to record riders for purposes of safety.” However, Uber also encourages drivers to check local regulations on using and disclosing their recording equipment. Many areas have laws in effect that require drivers to make their passengers aware of any video or audio recording that may be in progress during the ride.

Of course, you could simply tape a piece of paper up in your car with the warning but why not take it up a notch and display a nice crisp small warning sticker in the back of your vehicle? Some city regulations even allow for drivers to place the warning on the outside of their vehicle which may be more attractive to you. Our free warning stickers can be placed either inside or outside your vehicle and at only 2″x6″ they are not too imposing.

You can order you free dash cam warning sticker here. Make sure to also check out our fun free tip stickers while your there!

Would you ride in a self-driving taxi?

These days it seems as though every major tech company that is even remotely tied to the transportation industry is working tirelessly to develop self-driving or autonomous vehicles. Will these vehicles fizzle out like Segways or will we soon be entering into this new territory?

In a recent survey published on RideGuru, respondents were asked if they would feel comfortable riding in an autonomous car. Not so surprisingly, 64% answered no. Take a look at the below infographic to see the complete breakdown.

The future of autonomous cars

Why are major tech companies working so hard to develop driverless technology when a large majority of consumers want nothing to do with a “robot taxi”? They must believe the public opinion will shift but they are going to have to do some serious campaigning around the safety aspects of a self driving taxi!

What category do you fall into in regards to autonomous vehicles? Are you ready to jump in a self driving car tomorrow or do you side with the 64% that would not feel safe?

Do I have to tip my taxi driver in 2019?

How much should i tip a taxi driver?

Five years ago not tipping your taxi driver was considered incredibly rude and almost unheard of. Of course you would tip your taxi driver just the same as a waitress or bellhop. Then everything changed when ridesharing popped onto the scene. Uber and Lyft promoted a “no tipping culture” for their first few years. In fact, it was so heavily enforced that driver’s even faced deactivation if they asked for or hinted at a tip from the rider.

Eventually Uber and Lyft did change their tune after years of backlash from their drivers and both companies now allow tipping, though will still state that it is not mandatory. Through all the confusion, many riders are now unsure if you are supposed to tip or not across all for-hire vehicles.

We are here to say, yes, you should 100% still tip your taxi driver (and while your at it tip your rideshare drivers as well!). Many drivers depend on tips to earn their living and if a driver provides excellent service then it is only appropriate to compensate them accordingly.

What is the appropriate tip amount? The tip percentage can vary from location to location but here are some good rules of thumb to keep in mind when tipping your driver.

In the United States, the standard rate in big cities like Boston, New York to Los Angeles is between 10-20%. To help you decide which end of this bracket you should tip on take a look at the service that was provided to you. Did the driver have impressive local knowledge? Was the speed of service appropriate? How was the driver’s overall demeanor? And did the driver go out of his or her way to help with your luggage or make an extra stop?

In Europe, tipping is not as common as it is in the United States and generally riders will simply tip 1~2 Euros instead of a percentage.

When you start traveling overseas, customs transform and in some cases a simple gesture of gratitude could actually be insulting. For example, the Japanese are uncomfortable accepting tips and are more likely to be confused or offended. Australia, South Korea, Argentina, and Brazil are other countries that do not consider tipping a common practice. Turkish cab drivers do not expect to be tipped, but the cab fare will usually be rounded up. In India, tipping is traditionally not an obligation but it is becoming a more widespread practice. Economic factors in New Zealand, such as the high income tax, highly discourage society from offering gratuity for such services.

If you are interested in comparing all our your rideshare and taxi options and estimated prices before you ride check out our RideGuru Comparison Calculator.

How to Take a Taxi in China

taxi china

China is a huge country with a large tourism industry. Traveling around the cities and the country can be daunting if you don’t speak Chinese, but you shouldn’t let that stop you. Chinese taxis are easy to use and almost always the fastest way to get around.

Taxis are easily distinguished from other cars in China because they are a bright yellow, red, or green with a, usually, white cloth interior displaying an LED flag in the front windshield. If the flag is lit up, that means it is open and available to be used. If the flag is dark, that means the taxi is in use. Taxis use meters, and pricing is dependent on time and distance. If a driver tries to haggle a price and doesn’t want to use the meter, get out because that is illegal. Taxi rates are set by local authorities and can have a starting price between 5 and 13 RMB. Like in most places, cash is the easiest way to pay for taxis. Most do accept credit cards, but this isn’t an option available to tourists. Make sure to carry smaller bills because most drivers do not accept or break bills over 100 RMB.

Chinese people get in the front seat with the driver, so tourists can do that too. The drivers’ side doors will usually be locked because drivers expect passengers to enter on the passenger side of the car. Conversation is not expected, but ni hao or “nee-how” makes a great impression. Tipping is not the custom in China, and it may even confuse drivers. After paying, wait for a receipt.

Chinese is a difficult language to learn, but you don’t need to speak it to use taxis in China. Drivers are used to tourists and are familiar with the city they work in. Hotel lobbies have cards with the hotel name and address printed in Chinese; make sure to pick one up before you leave. Hotel employees are happy to help you write down the address of the location you are heading to, so you can show that to the driver, who will get you to where you are going. When entering a taxi, hand the driver the card with the name and or address written in Chinese characters. Getting around is as simple as that.

The biggest challenge to using taxis in China isn’t the language, it’s finding an available taxi because they are in such high demand. Rush hour is the worst time to try and hail a taxi. Hotels will be happy to help you hail a taxi. If you’re standing on the street, it can take some patience to hail a taxi, but you will get one.            

Foreign tourists may find the Chinese taxi system daunting, but you shouldn’t. It’s a fast, easy, and affordable way to see the sights and familiarize yourself with the city.

Taking a Taxi in Cancun

cancun taxi

Cancun is a tourist destination for people looking to get away and relax, but it is also a place with locals getting to and from jobs, errands, and daily activities. Taxis are an important part of the transportation system in Cancun, but it can be a little daunting if you’re a tourist, especially, if you don’t speak Spanish.

Taxis are all over Cancun and can easily be hailed. They are harder to track down during rush hour times in the morning and evening, though.

Taxi prices are dependent on zones, which are set by the local taxi union. Prices vary drastically between zones. The Hotel Zone is the most expensive because it is where the tourists are centered. Locals, on average, pay half of what tourists pay. Tourists in expensive hotels will pay more than tourists staying in budget hotels. Even with tourist pricing, taxis are cheaper in Cancun than in the United States. In the Hotel Zone, taxis cost between 60 and 90 pesos, which is between three and four dollars. A taxi ride from the airport to almost any destination is about 280 pesos or just under $15. Taxis can be rented by the hour or by the day if you want to tour the city or surrounding area. The rate is 250 pesos an hour or 3,500 pesos for a day. Rates are posted outside of hotels, and all taxi drivers are required to carry rate cards with them, which are usually in Spanish. Many drivers will accept payment in US dollars, but the exchange rate will be to their benefit not yours. It is always best to carry pesos if you want to get the best deal on your taxi ride.

Most drivers only speak Spanish, so if you know some or have a chance to brush up, it can be very helpful. Before getting in a taxi, always ask for a price to your destination. ““¿Cuánto cuesta?” is a helpful phrase. Settle on a price with the driver before leaving because you could be gauged if you look like a tourist and don’t ask first. If you want to avoid the hassle, you can use an app, like QuieroTaxi or MyTaxi. They may cost a little more, but that might be worth the convenience if Spanish isn’t your forte.

Taxis aren’t the same in Cancun as elsewhere, although don’t be surprised if some taxi drivers pull over and let other people ride along. You’ll still pay the same as before and so will the other people riding along. Over all the taxis are safe, but they are old. Make sure you’re comfortable with the driver and the look of the car before hopping in. Taxi robbings are not common but not uncommon. If it happens to you, comply. Cancun is safer than other places, but thefts are often accompanied by weapons, so it is best to err on the side of caution. Don’t sit in the front seat. And always make note of the taxi number. Cancun is a great place to vacation. Knowing how to maneuver the taxi system is a great way to feel comfortable getting around the city.

How to Open Car Doors using the Dutch Reach

dutch reach

This article first appeared on RideGuru. It is a great message to spread and may help save lives!

Cycling, or riding a bicycle, is a great way to get around, commute, be outside, and get some exercise. It has been a very popular way of getting for over a century. Europe is known for their cyclists. Amsterdam has more bicycles than citizens. There are so many upsides to bicycling around, but there are downsides too. Cyclists are a vulnerable demographic, and bicycle fatalities are on the rise and higher than they have been in over twenty years.

A bicycle crashing into a car door being opened by an oblivious driver has been used as comic relief or distraction in many movies and TV shows, but it is no laughing matter. This occurrence causes many accidents every year. These accidents cause injuries ranging from bruises to paralysis to even death. It is serious and almost completely avoidable.

 The Dutch Reach is a simple technique that can save time, money, injuries, and lives. Most people open their car door with the hand nearest the door. This is easy, but allows people to be the oblivious driver from the movies. The Dutch Reach requires people to use the arm opposite the door, causing the body to swivel and look at the mirror to see if there are any bikes coming towards the car.

There are so many ways to prevent bicycle related fatalities, but the Dutch Reach is a new life saving concept. The concept is new to Americans but very familiar to Dutch. It originated in the Netherlands and has been a part of the driving curriculum since the 1970’s. The Netherlands is a country with an enthusiasm for cycling, so it’s no wonder they began preventing fatalities over forty years ago. Today, children watch and learn from their parents. The technique is taught in drivers’ education, and students do not pass the class and earn their licenses without demonstrating properly. The term was coined by Michael Charney in 2016 for an American audience, and he is advocating for cyclists lives by asking for change and that the Dutch Reach be instituted into everyday lives.            

The technique doesn’t take any more time than the old way of opening a door, but the technique can have a huge impact on people’s lives and overall health. As cities continue to grow and people use bicycles as transportation more and more, the Dutch Reach could prove to be incredibly important.