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Why Do We Trust Taxi Drivers?
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Why Do We Trust Taxi Drivers?

I want to explain something that has been on my mind as of late....something that occurred to me as a weird phenomenon.

Why should we trust taxi drivers?

There I was sitting in a taxi cab driving from the Cancun, Mexico, heading to my hotel. If you have never been in a cab in Mexico, you should know a few things. They don’t like to follow the speed limit, they like to talk on the phone while they are driving, and they don’t particularily care for the rules of the road.

I remember thinking, wow, this taxi driver is a little off his rocker. We were going 140 km/hr in an 80km zone in a cab car that felt like it was going to rattle apart. The driver was driving like a bit of a maniac...weaving in and out through traffic. This situation has not been entirely unique over the years as I have had several experiences like this.

It lead me to the question...

Why do we trust taxi drivers?

To be honest, I don’ know.

I was not even wearing my seat belt. I always wear my seat belt when I am driving or when I am riding in a vehicle operated by friends and family. Why am I letting an out of control stranger drive me around in a metal missile. This is someone that I wouldn’t trust in any other situation, but why am I trusting them with my life. Also, why am I paying this person $10 every 5 minutes!

I thought about this for a minute and wondered if I could apply this phenomenon to other circumstances in life. Why am I so trusting in this man?

Here are some of the things that I came up with...

(1) Trust is instilled in us when we are young. We are naturally trusting in people, in particular people that are being paid to do a specific job. If you call a plumber to fix your toilet, you are trusting that they will do a good job and fix the problem. We initially make a positive assumption with a professional.

(2) He has a taxi certification credential posted on the glove box. This is like having a Dr. beside your name, but in the transportation world. The level of trust goes up when someone proves to you that they are certified to do that job, regardless of their record, history, or background.

(3) He is in a company vehicle. If a taxi driver picked you up in a same run down Ford Taurus without company branding or the lighted taxi sign on the roof, do you think I will jump in. Hell no. The taxi driver is leveraging a larger “brand” to increase their trustworthiness.

(4) I have never been in an accident while driving in a cab. I think a component of my trust has been developed over the years.

You could put a magnifying glass on many different professions and come up with the same sort of analysis.

The fact that we trust people is not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes our trust can override our judgement or logic, and in certain situations even put us in jeopardy.

What makes someone trust an online company? How long does it take to gain that trust?

There are many questions and discussions that we can have about this particular topic. I would love to hear your thoughts on the following questions:

Why do we trust taxi drivers? Do you have any online “trust” experiences you would like to share?


Street Talk

Hey Kyle! Great article. As an ex cabbie it made me laugh. And yes I have heard about those Noo Yawka cab drivers as well as the Mexican ones. I have sometimes been compared to them. :-)) But trust is a two way street, however it can be a pretty safe bet judging by the way your fare is dressed and how they present themselves. I would never drive a cab on the night shift. I have had a few narrow escapes during daytime however.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I agree, we see the "taxi" sign on top of the vehicle and think it's safe to get in. There's a certain degree of trusting ourselves to someone telling us who they are and what they do. Regarding online: I tend to trust a site or product more if I can find a few unconnected reviews, good and bad. If they get good reviews I will trust them more, especially if it's also a brand that I know. Not sure how I learned to trust that brand in the first place but knowing a brand is better than not knowing, or never having heard of, a brand.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

You're right - those are both good questions and likely reasons. In Detroit for doctor appointments I hired a car service. The owner picked me up and did a good job so on my return I called for him. Okay so far. But on return to airport he sent a "friend" in the friend's SUV to pick me up to take me to his (the owner's) HOUSE to take me to the airport. The guy freaked that this bothered me. Didn't leave the doctor's that way! For sure. And yes, in other countries, going alone in a taxi may not be wise. But in other countries, Mexico included, renting a car and driving could put you in jail for something you might not even recognize as an infraction of the law. Traveling, I prefer the hotel's own vehicle - or having relatives of a friend meet me or business associates. For example, in Mumbai India I had to transfer from International airport to Domestic airport. That in itself is enough but I was scheduled for middle of the night. Calling for a taxi alone seems a bit out of line in some cases. Though it makes travel more involved and costly (gifts or cash) safety matters.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

Sounds like you are quite an experienced traveller Cynthia. I have been put in numerous situations that were unnerving over the years of travel...from riding in a tuk tuk in Thailand, to cab experiences in Mexico, to trying to communicate with rude taxi drivers in Paris that refused to budge on any English. They are all good experiences to have and often times humbling when I look back on them.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Yes, indeed. Traveling is often more of an adventure than we anticipate, isn't it? Surprising what we learn from each travel. I was in Italy for a couple weeks when the train folks were on strike from speaking English. Took lots of pointing and smiling to get around. Yes, traveling in Thailand is quite a challenge. I think Bangkok's traffic is the worst I've seen.

  
  about 1 decade ago

I really enjoyed reading this article , in fact I started laughing! Well if he drives in Mexico or other countries like this then you should trust him just because he is able to see things on the road like a thousand times faster than you, who come from another more "focused on the rules" country, can. I have personal experience in that. It is just a matter of survival... As for the online trust... that is another story! One must certainly built trust nowadays and should really try and BE honest. That is why you have so many people trusting you. You have proven who you are with your work over all those who claim to be something they are not. Just keep up and be sure that people will always find something good to say about your company and bring more followers :-)

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

Yeah, that is the approach. Trust is something that needs to be "built" these days and it is hard work to gain trust and respect, but very easy to lose. Loyalty is a lost very easily as we are seeing with Facebook these days. Regarding the taxi drivers, I agree...they know the landscape and the "rules of the road" much better so we just have to assume they are going to get us there!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
GIL3  

You should be thankful that you do not abducted.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Hi Kyle, I saw you posted this on your Facebook wall. I'd have to agree that younger people are much more trusting in there online data, simply due to not having enough knowledge about the outside world. Even most adults don't realize different things that experienced hackers can do. There are definitely many crazy drivers out there, which indirectly points out the large amount of crazy people on the internet. It's important to trust taxi drivers and companies that really can be trusted, like Wealthy Affiliate. But of course this is only possible if, as you say, "a component of my trust has been developed over the years." and others follow suit. If I can thank anybody for helping me build that trust, it's you Kyle. Thanks a lot buddy.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

Thanks Seth, that means a lot. I do agree that the younger generation is much more trusting online, but they are also far more knowledgeable and it is their "second nature" medium. These days, trust should be earned, not granted unfortunately. There are a good deal of people that take advantage of trust and will continue to do so, we as a collective society just need to be a bit more careful and follow instinct.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

i don't know if I trust those NYC taxi drivers,....they are crazy. I think as far as online trust, kids these days trust everything....way too much. They don't spend a second thinking of who is looking at their pictures as they pose half naked at 15 years old.... I love this article and how you ask questions...very cool idea.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

I agree Wally, kids are far too trusting in the protection of their online data. Until something happens, you have that trust, unfortunately in the online world the effects can lead to bullying or other very negative activities. I don't know if I would completely trust the NYC drivers, but they are probably better at driving in that crazy traffic than even the most seasoned driver!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Trust is overrated nowadays. As a matter of fact, we are so quick to trust others that we don't even trust ourselves - we need the approval of others to feel special. I don't trust anyone that I haven't been able to get know quite deeply. That may sound terrible, but actually it is very freeing. I do not assume people are telling me the truth. If I find someone that, based on my own logic and common sense, seems like a person that can be trusted - they will be welcomed with open arms full of love into my personal connections. However, I trust myself first to make that very thoughtful decision. Without the qualities of a trustworthy person, I don't feel like I can benefit - since nothing that they say means anything. People who lie and manipulate others on the regular have one agenda - to build their own egos. I refuse to help their agenda. I work for the humanity on a collective level which requires filtering the truths out of the lies. So, accordingly, it never hurts to be careful when trusting others - before trusting yourself.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

I agree trust is critical and my trust in people I don't definitely days vary depending on where I am in the world. When I travel outside of Canada, my trust is far less. If I take a taxi in a 3rd world country I have a lot less trust than taking one in my own city, culture and language barriers definitely do have an impact in trust. I think it is healthy in a way not to be too trustworthy...being naive can lead to you taking advantage of and I have seen it way too many times with people around me that are too trusting. Respect people until you trust them, but you don't need to trust people to respect them. Does that make sense?

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Not only does it make sense - I forgot to mention that respect is mandatory - though trust is not. They are two very different things and, unfortunately, I am not so sure that we get them straight all the time. Thanks for making my point tighter.

  
  about 1 decade ago
CurtisJ75  

Great article because it brings questions from a couple angles such as trusting a taxi driver in your home area and trusting one while on vacation, or in a foreign location. I say this because I don't trust them when they know I'm not from around their area, but I'm all for it at home. I know I can get out at any time and if they try longer routes for more money, well I've got the knowledge to correct them. This translates to trusting WA because I'm in a new environment and haven't been taken advantage of. Another reason is I found WA by typing in a different online marketing plan to Google to see if it was legit and I chose a website that had a list of the top five decent online businesses, a list of scams, and a list of "under scrutiny" ones. My point is WA wasn't beating my door down with spam-type emails, I found you guys. And this is big because I've been online for around ten hours a day since 2009 for college and job hunting. I can also tell you two genuinely want to help people succeed, just like I do with starting an online business. It's the biggest reason and I'll support WA as long as you stay integral, so thanks for all your honest efforts for helping people reach their dreams!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

Thanks for your feedback Curtis. I think we are moving more and more to a society where trust has to be "earned", it is not granted...in particular within the online world. I also agree with you on not trusting foreign taxi drivers as you do locally, they are in a position when you are travelling to take advantage of the "territory newbie"...and it has happened. I have been in cabs over the years that have taken a ridiculously long route to earn more fares. Anyways, I can assure you that our integrity at WA will continue and we will continue to over-deliver WITHOUT having to spam people. ;)

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Very interesting topic Kyle! I never thought about it. My opinion is that we trust taxi drivers actually from our assumption that this man is someone who is a pro at what he does and that he has a license to do that. We subconsciously probably think that someone competent gives him license to do this job. For us that is enough to have trust in his driving skills.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

Typically they are not pros and they do get into accidents like everyone else. What makes a pro though? Someone that drives all day every day I would suggest is someone that understands the roads better than a normal day to day driver.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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