paying taxi driver when he doesn't know where he's going

I often take a cab from Union Station in LA to an address on W 5th Street. It’s a huge building and it is well-known generally. I know the address and the cross street, but I don’t actually know the “best” way to get there. I rely on my cab driver to know how to get there. I do have a map app on my phone and could give driving directions if asked, but in my experience cabs have their ideas about how to get everywhere. This ride generally costs between $7 and $8. Today my cab driver didn’t tell me he didn’t know how to get there, but he turned around several times, took longer, ran up a higher fare, and ended up leaving me a block away. Finally I made him stop so I could get out and walk. I didn’t want to pay him the $11.55 that was on his meter - I wanted to pay him the $9.00 I usually pay. (Sometimes more depending on how quick they get me there and if they don’t leave me a block away.) He acted indignant that I would only want to pay him how much it is supposed to take plus a small tip if you drive there directly rather than getting lost. Am I wrong to want to pay only the $9 and not the $11.55 on the meter?

I’m not sure if it’s legal to not pay what’s on the fare box. But there were plenty of times when I’ve told a cab driver what I usually paid for a trip, and they told me to just pay that.

I was in NYC (the Village) for the evening but was staying in NJ at a hotel that is right off the first exit after the tunnel(can’t remember if it Holland or Lincoln) any a short easy trip that is not cheap. This idiot cab driver went the wrong way so many times, against my repeated instructions( literally “turn left” and he would turn right) and his GPS, that finally he dropped me off on the hill above my hotel, fare was $44 or so and I handed him a $20 and said I don’t have to pay for you being lost, he threatened to call the cops and I told him to send them to my hotel. Never saw the cops

I was in Central Bangkok and asked a taxi to take me to the Morchit bus station. The driver, speeding on the for-pay elevated expressway, spaced out listening to radio or something, and missed the exit. I might have been worried if something like this happened in a place like L.A., but driver and I had only a calm discussion and he took me to a bus stop about 9 miles beyond the intended exit.

He wanted no money at all for this mistaken trip, but I gave him the $8 or so showing on the meter. While I was handling my bag, he made inquiries and invited me back into his cab so he could drive me another 40 yards to the the precise spot where my bus would stop.

Drivers like that are rare, but they suck ass. I once had one insist that he’d delivered me to the right place, but he was at least a mile off. And the fare was more than double what it normally was.

I think if you did not negotiate and agree on the fare before the meter started, you are obligated to pay what’s on the meter.

In most cases I would agree, but I gave him the address, he put it into his GPS, I also told him where it was, he said he knew( hence his ignoring both me and the GPS) and he blamed me for the whole thing and he was rude and a little aggro about the whole thing BTW NYC cabbies(told me) that they were not supposed to use GPS so they ride with them in their laps, weird

IANAL, but I’m sure there are exceptions in the common law for misfeasance, non-performance, etc. Also, the amounts are so small, the courts would not be very eager to take up such cases. Hell, it costs more than the amount of the loss just to file papers to sue in small claims court! (Which, of course, does not provide open license to commit trivial offenses…)

I hired a kid to weed my garden. He did so good a job…he hoed up the vegetables, too. He must have thought onions were weeds… I didn’t get mad (just a local dumb kid) but I also didn’t pay him. He didn’t like that, at first, but when I explained matters to him calmly and clearly – yes I promised you $15.00, but you just wiped out more than $15.00 in garden produce – he admitted that I was in the right.

(Still friends, too!)

And the driver is obligated to take me where I want to go as quick as legally possible. If he doesn’t meet his end of the deal, I don’t see why I should uphold mine.

In the absence of fraud or non-delivery, yes.

Fraud would occur if he driver deliberately took a route twice as far.

Non-delivery in this case is delivery of the service. The service is not “arrive at the destination”, it is “arrive efficiently at the destination”. That’s the implied contract in these situations.

Local jurisdictions may have specific laws which support or contradict this, but it’s a perfectly reasonable starting place.

Several years ago when leaving Las Vegas my wife got a cabbie who decided to take her on the “scenic” route to the airport. (From what I understand this is a pretty common scam in Vegas.) The fare was close to double what it should have been, and she refused to pay him any more than what she paid for her cab ride in.

Oh yes Vegas is notorious for this, also you might notice, when flying in that the Strip is adjacent to the Airport, but you still have to take a cab

I would have just paid what the fare should have been. He ignored both the OP and the GPS, the OP doesn’t have to pay for the cabbie screwing up.

Thanks for responses – I told him during the ride “I usually only pay X for this ride” – because it was looking like it was going to be longer. I think he may not have heard or understood me because he seemed unhappy when I wanted to pay him less. He actually agreed that I pay him less ultimately, but he wasn’t happy about it.

Thing is, you can’t always tell if they’re really lost or if they’re just good at acting like it to bump up their fare. I had one cabbie take the south entrance onto LSD rather than the north, and it’s not like just turning left or right, it’s taking a left or right on-ramp from one side of the intersection or the other - not that easy a mistake to make. I wasn’t paying that close attention to what he was doing because I had already given the instructions and was catching up on emails. When I saw he had taken the wrong ramp, there was no turning back and we were stuck going south to the next exit to turn around. I told him to turn off the meter immediately because I wasn’t about to pay for the detour. He complied, and turned the meter back on once we were back at the right spot going north.

I had another cabbie try to pull the “I’m lost” thing with a group of drunks after the bars closed. I wasn’t quite as drunk as the rest of them, and noticed we were on a side street that wasn’t on the route to where we were going. I got mad at him because, well, if you’re a cabbie you should have some sense of where the heck you are, but if you don’t, you have to ask your passenger for directions - not wander around hoping someone doesn’t notice you’re a mile off-course.

But that’s the thing - was that what actually happened? Or did the cabbie just figure he had a car full of drunk tourists with fat wallets and, hey, if he gets them where they’re going eventually, maybe they won’t notice he’s going the wrong way for a while? He didn’t seem happy about getting called out by a townie.

I’m suspicious about a cabbie who thinks he’s got a tourist on his hands and gets “lost.” I’m sure he was plenty grumpy when the OP revealed he was not a first-time rider of that route and knew what the fare should be.

95% of cab rides have been just fine over my years of using them, but that 5% really jaded me and makes me refuse to give the benefit of the doubt.

Was it a newspaper taxi?

If you ever come to Stockholm, be very careful to look up the price that is displayed before you jump into the car. The taxi fleet consists of a number of decent companies that charge you reasonably, but there is also a bunch of cowboy drivers, not connected to any dispatcher, that wait at airports and ferry harbours for unsuspecting foreigners and have no qualms whatsoever about charging 10.000 SEK for a trip that would cost 4-500 SEK with an honest company and as long as the price is posted it’s legal.

I rarely ride in cabs, but I was pretty surprised in New York when I had to give the cab driver explicit instructions on how to get where we were going. He eagerly took my printout and followed the directions precisely. We all got confused at one point and had to go around the block but I can’t imagine that added more than a few cents onto the fare. We were going to Queens, though, which is a pretty confusing place from what I understand. (It’s all confusing to me, naturally.)

Actually you are incorrect. You do have to pay and you are fortunate he didn’t just drive you to a police station.

It is a flat fee from NY to NJ. It’s negotiable but $44 plus toll to what I presume is Weehawken or Jersey City is standard.

Also, these are NYC Yellow Cabs. The reason the trip to NJ is so expensive (compared to $20 or so to go the same distance to Brooklyn) is that they are legally forbidden to pick up passengers outside of the Five Boroughs. So you are basically paying for the cost of a round trip.

They also sometimes don’t know NJ all that well.
The correct action when a cab driver is lost is to tell him to turn off the meter until he either figures out where he’s going or to just stop it at roughly the amount you know the trip to cost.