Do You Still Tip Your Cab Driver When He Gets Lost?

If your waiter accidentally brings you someone else’s food, you’re probably still going to tip him, provided that he takes it back and eventually gives you the correct dish. But when your cabbie gets lost, that meter can keep running while he tries to correct his course. So does he get a tip?

This was the question presented to us by reader Kelly, a grad student in Boston who also has a job. She says she usually relies on public transportation to ferry her back and forth between her academic and professional worlds, but on certain occasions she’ll pony up for a $5 cab ride.

She says it’s a short ride and she’s never had a driver get lost en route. Being sympathetic to drivers who depend on tips, Kelly tells Consumerist she often just hands over a $10 bill and tells the driver to keep the change.

But today she got into a cab and gave the driver the address on Temple Street, only to realize a few minutes later that they are not headed in the correct direction.

“When I asked the driver why he took this route he said, ‘Do you want Temple Street or Temple Place?’ I didn’t even know there was a Temple Place, but apparently I was heading for it,” writes Kelly, who says the driver then became indignant because she had somehow not told him not to go to a street she didn’t know existed.

“He turned around and headed in the right direction but because of one-way streets and traffic my $5 ride turned into much more,” she says.

When she saw the meter had reached $12, Kelly asked the driver to turn it off. This did not go over well.

“He got very upset with me,” she tells Consumerist. “He finally turned it off at just under $15.”

When it was all over, she gave the driver $15, but no tip, which resulted in the driver making a comment about how Kelly had stiffed him.

This all reminds me of the time a cabbie tried to run me over at JFK Airport… but that’s a different story for another time.

In the meantime, Kelly wanted to know what y’all would have done in her situation: