Tips about getting a taxi in San Francisco at night

Forgot I shot this video ages ago about trying to flag down a taxi in the mission district of San Francisco.

The other night I spent 45mins plus trying to flag down a taxi on mission street. There were tons of taxis and lots had there lights on to say their for hire, but would they stop for me? Hell no!

So in the end I walked back to the hotel at 2am. Now although 10 blocks doesn’t sound a lot. Bear in mind its 2am, I don’t know San Francisco at all and I had only flew in that day. Its like someone saying you should walk from Chancery Lane to Aldgate. It maybe not be far but it can be scary at least, specially if you don’t know the area.

In the video it takes me 5mins to flag down a taxi while the night in question, it was 45mins…

Anyway someone called arctother kindly left me some helpful tips for next time I’m in San Francisco.

  • In SF, just because the for hire light is on doesn’t mean the cab is available. That only turns off when the meter is running. If you had called a cab from the house on South Park, that one would also have shown up with the light on.
  • Try walking over one block to Third, a busier street with more traffic heading into downtown. Or at least stand on the northbound side of Second, so the cabs heading downtown, which are more likely to be empty, don’t have to turn around to get you. Also, standing on the southbound side sends the message that you are heading south, when you want them to know you are going north.

Thanks…! Can’t believe it was only 2007 when I went to California and came back with those bloody iphones.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.