This is a question we get constantly and it's one I that I did not know myself 1st time I took the wheel of a cab here in southern California. It seems like a easy question to ask and get answered but once you've logged enough miles and emptied a few hundred tanks of gas you'll find yourself unsure how to answer someones question because it depends on the preconceived understanding of taxi'ing.
Ready or not here we go!
Generally you find us on google/bing/yelp etc or see us passing on the street and you write down the number or name for later use. No Brainer!
Depending on how large your town is or if you have a airports, convention centers, casinos etc in your town depends on the level of tech you'll find the moment the phone rings. Generally speaking most will have a live operator or a automated round robin style "next driver up" style system or a one man show will just be the owner/driver/dispatcher one man band style operation (don't hate).
First thing the dispatcher/driver wants to know is where you are, seems blatantly obvious but you'd be amazed. With the use of smartphones and map apps finding this out is demonstrously simple and often time pin drops can be used to locate you in areas that you yourself are unfamiliar with. If all else fails, ask for a veteran driver, any seasoned veteran driver can pinpoint you without any tech just by describing what you see around you or even the address's on the homes or the street name prefixes. Or even by describing how you got to where you are, even if your slurring :)
Next, you probably going to want to know "how much" which often gets asked out of the gate even before a initial address is ever exchanged (duh), we understand this behavior on this side of the call but its exhausting. It's a question that gets answered during the course of the call naturally. But it's an understandable nicety that folks do not want to waste a perfect strangers time if they cannot afford the fare, but its best to let the professional on the other end of the phone control the corse of the conversation for smoothness and flow of the call, after all the person your speaking with generally has done this a few thousand times... this year lol.
Where to? Once you've skipped the impulse to ask how much a cab ride is from an unknown pickup to an unknown drop off, the next course of the conversation is "where to" simple enough right? Simply tell the driver/dispatcher where your headed. The drop off does not need to be precise nor is it written in stone, drivers just need to account for time so for the next patron he/she will have an accurate ETA to make a educated decision weather or not to take the ETA alotted to their call. Sort of a "pay it forward" type thing!
This step is very important because I've seen it skipped many times and its has a ability to upend you entire "waiting'ness" that you've invested thus far into getting a taxi... Give your name! Silly for me to bother to add this in an entire step all unto its own but thats just how important it is. Imagine going out to eat on Friday night and refusing to take the red buzzing thing to know when its your turn and expect the host to just "sort it out". Yeah the first person to wave down a taxi at the venue you called from is assumed to be the drivers "pickup" unless he/she has a name or destination there is no way for a driver to distinguish who made the call. GIVE YOUR NAME! lol.
After you've given your name and told the person trying to steal your cab to kick rocks, greet the driver and confirm your destination
Don't be afraid to talk to the driver, oftentimes people think cab drivers do not want to talk to you... NOT true
Paying a cab driver is super duper easy, they still take cash!
GET OUT! We're busy! just kidding
How Taxi's Work!