Is Cell Chatter Killing the Cab Ride?

Constant gab has drivers, riders at odds
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Apr 13, 2008 6:18 PM CDT
New York City "Yellow Cabs" at a Manhattan intersection.    (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – Where cabbies and riders once chatted, they now gab on cellphones—and it's getting under people's skin. "Sometimes passengers, they don't even stop talking to tell me where to go," one cabbie said. But one rider blames the drivers, who often speak in other tongues: "I always assume they're talking about me," she said. How much love has really been lost? Quite a bit, the Washington Post reports.

"It used to be that when people came to a new town they would use the cabdriver to learn what was what," a Rutgers professor said. "It's been part of our cultural tradition." One Washington cabbie agrees: He had some bad talks with riders, true, "but I do miss it sometimes." And chatting once inspired better tips. "If you talk a lot, they tip a lot," one driver said. "It's about the conversation."