StarMetro Toronto - - Canada/world - UR­BAN ETI­QUETTE

Dear Ellen,

My boyfriend al­ways lets me get into the back of a cab first, but then I have to scoot across the seat so he can get in, which is fine when I’m wear­ing jeans, but a prob­lem when I’m in a dress. I know he wants to act like a gen­tle­man, but can I ask him to let me get in sec­ond?

Rum­pled girl­friend

Dear Rum­pled,

Not only should you ask your boyfriend to get in first, you can as­sure him it’s proper eti­quette to do so. A gen­tle­man in trousers es­cort­ing a lady in drap­ery should al­ways board first, for the rea­sons you’ve stated — so that the beskirted part­ner does not have to strug­gle in­el­e­gantly across the back­seat.

This rule also goes for young’uns trav­el­ling with older friends or rel­a­tives, and for ju­nior em­ploy­ees trav­el­ling with se­nior em­ploy­ees or bosses, if you work for a com­pany that takes hi­er­ar­chi­cal power po­si­tions se­ri­ously.

Al­ter­na­tively, the po­lite per­son, re­gard­less of gen­der, can let the other pas­sen­ger(s) get in, then gently close the car door and run around to the other side of the car to get in. Note: this ma­noeu­vre only ap­plies when traf­fic per­mits. No amount of proper eti­quette is worth get­ting run over on a busy street.

Now that’s set­tled, let’s re­view the rules of taxi­cab eti­quette that take your driver into ac­count.

First, don’t jump into the front seat with­out ask­ing per­mis­sion. If there are sev­eral of you, the driver will prob­a­bly say yes, but oth­er­wise, con­sider the front of the car as their sa­cred do­main.

Sec­ond, don’t do any­thing to be­foul the in­te­rior of the car: no smok­ing, eat­ing, or in­dulging in any kind of bod­ily func­tions — be they ro­man­tic, di­ges­tive, in­di­ges­tive, or re­gur­gi­ta­tive.

Third, don’t be­foul the at­mos­phere: no singing, swear­ing, shout­ing, or back­seat driv­ing. If the driver is chatty and you need to read or work or make phone calls, it’s OK to ex­change a few pleas­antries, then tell them you have to con­cen­trate on what­ever else you’re do­ing.

Fi­nally, don’t feel obliged to tip if the driver is rude, reck­less, or re­fuses to help you with lug­gage. But if you do tip, don’t be stingy. Al­ways round up and re­mem­ber: that ex­tra 50 cents (or $5 ex­tra to the air­port) prob­a­bly won’t make a dif­fer­ence to you at the end of the day. But it could make a big dif­fer­ence to the hard­work­ing per­son who’s chauf­feur­ing you around.

Now, let’s re­view the rules of taxi­cab eti­quette that take your driver into ac­count.

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