1. Taxi meters measure both distance and time. A sensor on the vehicle’s transmission keeps track of distance traveled, while a timer in the actual meter monitors passing time. Most cabs calculate fares based on a combination of these two metrics, ensuring a fair baseline for both riders and drivers.
2. Be mindful of add-ons. Though it varies by city, taxi meters may charge extra fees. These add-ons can include: riding with more than one passenger, traveling during rush hour, crossing state or city lines, or asking the driver to help you with more than just one bag of cement.
3. You don’t have to succumb to the flat-rate bias. Studies have shown that many people will choose a flat rate over a metered fee, even if the flat rate is more expensive—a phenomenon dubbed the flat-rate bias. It seems that the stress involved in not knowing how much a ride will cost is something people would pay money to avoid, but metered rides are often the smarter choice.
4. The receipt printer has a dark side. In standard cab meters, the receipt printer emits a fast-paced clicking as it publishes. This strange, mechanical noise served as inspiration for the producers of the TV show Lost, who incorporated it into the sound design for the island’s dreaded smoke monster.