English In The Real World

Useful phrases to take a taxi in English

When you are overseas in an English-speaking country, chances are you won’t have your own car with you. Getting around on public transport is great but there are times when it’s more convenient just to take a taxi. Use these useful phrases to take a taxi in English right from ordering it to getting to your destination.

Calling for a taxi

The most common way of booking a taxi is on the phone. When you call up the taxi company,  you can ask to book a taxi at a certain time  by saying “May I book a taxi at (time)?” or if you would like one right away, you can say “When is the soonest I could book a taxi for?” Next, you need to tell the taxi operator where you are by saying “I’m at (address)” or “Could you send the taxi to (address)?” and say where you want to go to “I’d like to go to (address)”. Make sure to ask “How much will that cost?” so you don’t get a surprise when you get to the destination.

In a hotel

You are staying at a hotel and would like to ask a hotel employee to organize a taxi for you. You ask the receptionist “Could you organize a taxi for me for this evening please? I need to be picked up at (time) to go to (place).” You could also ask the doorman “Excuse me, could you hail a taxi for me please?” and arrange the price and destination with the driver yourself.

Hailing a taxi

When you stop a taxi on the street and get in, it’s called ‘hailing’ a taxi. Before you get in the cab, ask the driver “Could you take me to (place)?” and either “How much will that cost?” or “Do you use a meter?” if you are somewhere where drivers charge by the mile.

In the cab

Cab drivers are often famous for being talkative. To practise your English in the cab, you could make conversation with the driver by asking about his day or whether he is from this city. If you want to get to your destination quickly, you could say “I’m really in a hurry, so can you take the quickest route please?” If you have more time free and want to do some sightseeing, you could say “Can we drive past (famous place) on the way?”

When you get there

When you get to your destination, if you haven’t agreed a price in advance, you can ask “How much is the fare please?” or “How much do I owe you?” to find out how much you need to pay. If you feel the service was good and you want to give the taxi driver a tip you can say “Keep the change” or “Here’s a tip”.

Remember, taxi drivers deal with customers from all over the world so even if your English isn’t perfect they will probably understand you. The most important thing is to stay safe,  be clear about where you want to go and the cost, then sit back and enjoy the ride.

Wil is a writer, teacher, learning technologist and keen language learner. He’s taught English in classrooms and online for nearly 10 years, trained teachers in using classroom and web technology, and written e-learning materials for several major websites. He speaks four languages and is currently looking for another one to start learning.

Wil

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