Ride-hailing app FREE NOW has surveyed its drivers to reveal the behaviours that rub cabbies up the wrong way, and how to stay on their good side – with two thirds (66%) saying passenger behaviour really impacts their day.

According to drivers surveyed, being messy (85%), drunk (77%), eating and drinking in the car (65%), and having backseat road rage (65%) are the worst passenger traits. Other bad behaviours that taxi drivers dislike the most include pongy passengers (59%), bargain hunters who try to barter down the cost of a fare (50%) and wannabe warblers who sing loudly in the backseat or out the windows (41%).

FREE NOW’s research also reveals what behaviours drivers appreciate in a passenger – and good manners cost nothing, as three quarters (75%) value a simple ‘thank you’ more than a tip (40%). Other good behaviours are making polite conversation (52%), not bringing food or drink into the vehicle (51%), being on time (38%) and not being a backseat driver (34%).

And if you’ve ever wondered whether to engage in conversation or plug in your headphones, almost three quarters (71%) of drivers nationwide prefer a chatty passenger, compared to a third (29%) who favour a silent rider.

FREE NOW drivers also reported the behaviours that have seen them give one-star ratings to passengers. Unsurprisingly, passengers being sick (74%)  and passengers being argumentative (74%) both came top. Followed by riders who left a mess in their taxi by spilling food and drink (55%).  Another passenger behaviour that irritates taxi drivers is a passenger being so drunk they forget where they live (50%).

The survey also asked FREE NOW drivers to call out the smaller, more unexpected behaviours that can really impact your rating. Drivers said that their top five lesser known peeves were:


People who insist on getting from A to B in an unrealistic time frame (73%)

People who don’t say ‘thank you’ at the end of the journey (55%)

Unnecessarily slamming the door (40%)

Being more than a few minutes late (25%)

Asking to change the driver’s music selection (22%)


In response to the findings, FREE NOW has partnered with British etiquette expert Jo Bryant to discuss the psychology behind some of the more unexpected behaviours to prevent taxi turmoil.

Jo Bryant, British etiquette expert, comments: “When we are focussed on getting from A to B, it can be easy to forget how much our actions can impact others. The survey clearly shows us that drivers are directly affected by the way passengers behave so, when it comes to taxis, it’s especially important to be considerate and self-aware. The best approach is to relax, chat to your driver and enjoy the ride – and be sure to end your journey with a generous tip and an even bigger thank you.”

Mariusz Zabrocki, UK General Manager at FREE NOW, comments: At FREE NOW, we care just as much about the happiness and safety of our drivers, as we do our passengers. Whether you’re working with us or riding with us, no one wants a nightmare journey. 

“Many passengers might not realise just how much their behaviour can affect drivers. Yet this research highlights not only the expected behaviours that drivers dislike, such as being messy and drunk, but also more unexpected ones like asking to change the music. Hopefully these personal insights will give our users a well-rounded perspective when it comes to making their journeys as smooth and seamless as possible.”


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