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​The Knowledge: Why you should chat to your cab driver

March 10, 2020

Passengers seem to fall into one of two categories: Those that say nothing to their taxi or ride-sharing driver and those who are unfazed by reading out a text message from their love interest to a complete stranger. After all, who can resist a confession box on wheels?

For many business travelers, a cab ride is a coveted solitary moment between busy meetings and should be experienced in funereal silence. But the benefits of chatting to a driver are plenty.

"Maintaining healthy habits while traveling is nearing the top of the priority list for travelers around the world,” says Niklas Andréen, CWT’s Chief Traveler Experience Officer.

Research points to a boost in feelings of happiness that arise from seemingly trivial encounters with minor characters in our day-to-day lives. Here are three reasons to spark up a conversation with your taxi driver.

  1. They know everything
    If you’re in a new city and you want to know about the political climate or local opinion on an issue, you could read the same news and listings that everyone else sees or you could be an audience of one to the musings of a local expert. Your driver will have seen that political protest first-hand. And she’ll know the precise location of the hottest new bar.
  2. It’s an opportunity for a digital detox
    According to research by Rescuetime, we spend an average of three hours and 15 minutes on our phones. There’s no better excuse to put your device down.
  3. Inspiration is everywhere
    Because ride-sharing work is flexible, many drivers build their careers around fascinating lives and entrepreneurial endeavors. One driver I had in London last week, was building an app to connect international medical doctors to prospective patients in Nigeria. If you’re looking for field research or innovative ideas to bring to the boardroom, the best place to look may well be the front seat, not the boardroom.

However, if you’re a card-carrying introvert and prefer to stick your headphones in, tune in to Business Travel On The Fly.

In each episode, drivers from London to Singapore weigh in on the latest issues. Find us on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

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