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Responding to Transportation Inquiries: Taxis and Uber


GTJ
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There are many posts within this discussion board of the form, “I am going to arrive at [name of airport, train station, cruise port, etc.], and I want to go to [name of destination]. What transportation is available?” Invariably among the responses are “taxi” and “Uber.”

 

Virtually every transportation terminal and community of any size reasonable size supports taxi and/or Uber service. I don’t think that there are many participants within this discussion board who are so unsophisticated to not already know that general taxi and Uber availability, and that such services are almost always the “easiest” choice to utilize (given that one sets foot into a taxi and driver takes care of the rest in providing transportation to the desired destination). Information about taxi peculiarities in a particular area can be helpful (e.g., distinct classes of taxi services, geographic areas without taxi service, fare anomalies, location of taxi stands) But generalized responses that “You can use a taxi,” or that “Taxi is easy,” provide virtually no information not already generally known by everyone.

 

Most inquiries for transportation information reasonably implicate a desire to know about available transportation services beyond taxi and Uber service. Perhaps shuttle service arranged by the cruise line or the port authority, buses and other forms of public transportation, accessibility by foot, ferries, or any other transportation that is distinct to the particular place that is the subject of inquiry. In some cases it may be that a good response would be that there is no transportation available meeting the identified need other than taxi and Uber. But otherwise, a response saying that one can travel by taxi or Uber provides scant information.

 

We might opine that taxi or Uber service is the best choice, and provide our reasoning therefor. Given that we’re not all the same, and we each have our own distinct preferences and values, we should avoid concluding that other persons “must” travel by a particular means of transportation. In some cases individuals have disabilities or limitations that preclude their use of certain means of transportation, or may require particular arrangements made in advance. For example, not everyone is licensed to drive, or can do so safely, so advising on the use of rental cars might be an option but not a panacea available to all. Not everyone can or will travel by air (indeed, some people travel by cruise vessel for that very reason), so advising on the use of air travel, instead of bus or rail travel, might also not be practicable. Let’s provide the options, not purposefully excluding options because of our own values (at least in the absence of stating that “one choice is . . . ,” explain the pros and cons, and our reasoning for recommendations or our choices. .But let’s avoid the temptation to decide for other persons.

 

Many people making inquiry within this discussion board will ultimately choose to forgo other transportation, and simply settle into a taxi or Uber, leaving it to driver to get them where they’re going. That’s their choice. But to simply tell a person making inquiry, “Take a taxi,” generally adds no substantive information to the discussion.

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On 10/31/2022 at 4:41 PM, GTJ said:

.But let’s avoid the temptation to decide for other persons.

 

Many people making inquiry within this discussion board will ultimately choose to forgo other transportation, and simply settle into a taxi or Uber, leaving it to driver to get them where they’re going. That’s their choice. But to simply tell a person making inquiry, “Take a taxi,” generally adds no substantive information to the discussion.

People cruise to enjoy themselves. Someone coming in to a strange city does, of course, have the option of finding out about city bus routes, subways, etc. - and, yes, those nuggets of local knowledge can save a traveler a few dollars. But it is almost invariably going to eat up a fair amount of time, involve hauling luggage on and off busses and or subways, and spending time waiting for connections.

 

For most cruise passengers suggesting that they take a taxi or an Uber is, in fact, the most helpful advice.  Right - it does not inform them about local mass transit - but unless someone wants to know about local mass transit, telling him what you genuinely believe to be the BEST way to get around is what someone should do - regardless of how well he/she knows bus routes, etc.  So, if someone believes (often with very good reason) that the BEST  way to get between two points in an unknown city is by taxi or Uber, then he owes it to the asker to so inform him.

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7 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

For most cruise passengers suggesting that they take a taxi or an Uber is, in fact, the most helpful advice.  Right - it does not inform them about local mass transit - but unless someone wants to know about local mass transit, telling him what you genuinely believe to be the BEST way to get around is what someone should do - regardless of how well he/she knows bus routes, etc.  So, if someone believes (often with very good reason) that the BEST  way to get between two points in an unknown city is by taxi or Uber, then he owes it to the asker to so inform him.

It may well be true that many--quite possibly most--cruise line passengers will choose to travel by taxi or Uber. But honestly, how many people need to be told that they can use a taxi or Uber service? Are there people who do not know that these services exist? If someone knows that they cannot handle their baggage themselves, and requires the use of a taxi or Uber service, it seems to me that the choice should be obvious. Maybe there would be a logistical question (e.g., where is the taxi stand located at the airport?).

 

When questions are asked about options, then the various options should be laid out, along with their general pros and cons. (And if someone does not know all the options, then it is fine to say, "When we traveled, we did so by [using whatever], and it worked out [great, terrible].) It may be that in some city that the other options are so limited, in which case the limitation should be noted with a generalized conclusion (e.g., taxi service will be the only practicable transportation because [whatever the reason]). But generally I dislike concluding a response with a "best" choice (even if the original post requests the "best" choice) because doing so requires a value judgment, and possibly other unknown factors or limitations, about which I cannot in good faith assume (at least in the absence of further information). I might prefer a bus because I readily get sick in cars; someone else might prefer a taxi because they dislike sharing rides with strangers. Who really cares what I think is best? In short, what is "best" is not universal.

 

But I do stand by my basic premise: Simply telling people that taxi or Uber service is available does not provide much useful information not already likely known.

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My small town does not have ride share (well, there is one part time driver) and taxis must be called by phone but first you need to know  that is an option.  There are a couple dependable taxi services (more like car services) that once you call, it will be a wait.  I was excited to see a "real" Uber with windshield light and all  at the Post Office but they had just dropped off someone from the Detroit airport in town and was headed back.  

So if I told you here, you can take a taxi, you can but that you need to schedule it.  If the Uber/Lyft guy is working, the odds are he won't be for your return but the app will just spin and spin.

 

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