Israeli Taxis: What to Say (and Not to Say) for a Smooth Ride

3 min read
Zoë Biehl
Zoë Biehl

Traveling to a new country means embracing its unique quirks and customs, and Israel is no exception. When it comes to taxis, it’s a whole new ball game. While Uber may be missing in action here, fear not! Israel has its own commuting apps to help you get around. But when it comes to interacting with Israeli taxi drivers, it’s good to know the ropes to avoid any misunderstandings or awkward situations. So, buckle up and let’s dive into the dos and don’ts of conversing with taxi drivers in Israel.

What Not to Say:

  1. I wish הלוואי (hah-leh-vahy) we had Uber in Israel!”
    Hold your horses, my friend! Uber may be on the blacklist in Israel, and mentioning it can trigger some serious eye rolls from taxi drivers. They’re not big fans of the competition and prefer to keep their monopoly intact. So, let’s save the Uber talk for another time.2. “Are you trying to rip me off לעבוד עליי (lah-ah-vohd ah-lahy)?”
    Accusing a taxi driver of scamming you won’t get you far—except maybe a grumpy driver and an unpleasant ride. Instead, let’s take a different approach. Make sure the meter is running (we’ll get there in a minute) and ask for an estimate upfront to ensure a fair price. It’s all about keeping the vibes positive!3. “Wow, you don’t look anything like your Gett Taxi picture תמונה (tmoo-nah)!”
    We’ve all been there, stepping into a cab and realizing the driver’s profile picture must be from the prehistoric era. It’s tempting to comment, but hey, let’s keep it friendly and stick to a simple “hello” instead. No need to rock the boat, right?4. So, what do you think of the prime minister ראש הממשלה (rohsh hah-mehm-shahlah)?”
    Don’t get into politics with taxi drivers, or they will drone on forever and ever, and the debate could wind up getting heated. Even if you disagree with what he’s saying, don’t start an argument, or you may just get kicked out of the car!5. “Does the price include a tip טיפ?”
    Here’s a fun fact both for you and your wallet: in Israel, you don’t need to worry about tipping your cab driver! The price displayed on the meter is the final amount you owe. So, relax, enjoy the ride, and save those extra shekels for something else.

What to Say Instead:

  1. “Please turn on the meter מונה (moh-neh).”
    Make sure your journey starts on the right track by kindly asking the driver to turn on the meter. This way, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re being charged the correct fare.2. “How much will this ride נסיעה (neh-see-ah) cost?”
    Avoid any post-ride surprises by simply asking for an estimate upfront. It’s like having a heads-up before the journey begins, giving you a chance to budget accordingly and avoid any financial shocks.3. “Can we adjust the AC מזגן (mahz-gahn)?”
    No one likes being too hot or too cold during a ride. Don’t be shy—simply ask the driver to tweak the air conditioning to your liking. After all, comfort is key!4. “I found this route מסלול (mahs-lool) on my phone. Can we take it?”
    If you prefer a specific route or want to ensure the most efficient path, show the driver the way using your trusty smartphone. By being clear about your desired route, you’ll avoid any unnecessary detours that could cost you time and money.5. “Where’s the best הכי טוב (hah-chh tohv) falafel joint around here?
    Who knows the city better than a local taxi driver? Take advantage of their insider knowledge and ask for recommendations. You might discover a hidden gem and have the most mouthwatering falafel experience ever. Your taste buds will thank you!

    Israeli taxi adventures can be a blast, especially when you know how to chat with the drivers. Skip the Uber talk, steer clear of accusations, and refrain from commenting on outdated profile pictures. Instead, focus on open communication, asking for fare estimates, seeking local recommendations, and making small requests to enhance your comfort. With these tips in your back pocket, you’re ready for an enjoyable and hassle-free taxi experience in Israel. Happy travels!


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