General Question

Mariah's avatar

Help me with a question of taxi cab etiquette?

Asked by Mariah (24429points) September 9th, 2011

The pharmacy in my college town is just a bit farther than I’d want to walk, so if I need a prescription, I’ll probably have to take a cab.

I’m guessing I will have to call a cab, have him drop me off at the pharmacy, do my thing, and then call another cab to come to the pharmacy and take me home. However, if there’s any way I can avoid having to do that, I’d like to, because it’ll cost me more. There’s a $3 flat charge at the beginning, then it’s $0.25 more per quarter mile (I think). So of course if I do what I said above, I’ll be paying that $3 charge twice.

I’m guessing it’d be really poor etiquette to leave the cab driver sitting waiting while I run into the pharmacy and get what I need, and then take the same cab back home, right? He’s not paid per unit time, he’s paid per unit distance, so he wouldn’t earn anything while waiting for me. But I would call ahead to the pharmacy so they would have the prescription ready for me so that I could just run inside very quickly.

What do you think?

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18 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

Even if he isn’t paid per unit time (some cabs do charge this way!), the two minutes you’re in the pharmacy is way less time than it would take him to find another fare. It’s worth his while to just hang out and wait for you.

To be on the safe side, though, you could confirm that’s ok with the operator when you book the cab. I’m sure you’ll be fine. Just leave a good tip.

HungryGuy's avatar

Can’t the pharmacy mail the prescription to your dorm? A lot of pharmacies do mail-order these days.

Mariah's avatar

@nikipedia Good point, glad to hear it; thanks!

@HungryGuy I’m going to look into it, but my doctor in the area said he didn’t know of any local pharmacies that did delivery, oddly enough.

shrubbery's avatar

At least in my home town there is a waiting fare which can be applied if you need them to wait, per unit time, I’m not sure what it is but yeah. If you are going to call ahead to the pharmacy and just be able to run in and out then I don’t think it’s a problem at all, anyway.

tedibear's avatar

Can you order the prescription ahead of time via the phone or internet and just run in to pick it up? I’m sure the driver would be willing to wait. Or even better, use a pharmacy with a drive-thru window if you can.

CWOTUS's avatar

Another option, @Mariah, is to have the cab pick up your prescription and deliver it to you. There should be no reason that you need to be present at the pharmacy, is there?

For that matter, you may be able to find someone who’s down that way anyway and is willing to simply stop at the drugstore to pick up your meds and get them to you later in the day, assuming you don’t need them “right now”, that refrigeration isn’t an issue, for example, and that they’re not “controlled substances”, such as pain meds that could be at high risk of theft or misuse.

laureth's avatar

At my pharmacy, to pick up a prescription, I have to verify my address, and sign a little computer screen to assure them I am me. It depends on your insurance, probably.

Drive-through is a great idea.

SpatzieLover's avatar

My husband or my mom pick up my prescip on their way home from work. I’d call the pharmacy & see if it’s a possibility @Mariah. Like @CWOTUS said, maybe someone could run this errand for you.

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m assuming it’s a metered cab, isn’t it?

When I’ve had to do this in the past, the cab waited for me with the meter running while I was inside the store.

This is similar to being stuck in a bumper to bumper traffic jam. The meter still runs. In large cities during rush hour there are plenty of cabs with passengers paying for the time when there standing totally still for minutes at a time numerous times per trip. As long as the meter is still running, the driver is fine.

The $3 charge per trip is just to guarantee that each person pays at least a minimum charge.

It’s not entirely different from the fact that most pharmacies tack on a “pharmacy charge” onto whatever the medicine & markup cost. It’s also why larger store chains choose to offer certain cheap generic drugs for $10.00 for a 3 month supply. This way they’re only doing the paperwork and label typing once in 90 days instead of weekly or monthly. Time really is money.

It’s obviously less cost to you to have him waiting while you run in. As long as you’re not asking him to shut the meter off, I don’t see a problem. It’s a common scenario for cab drivers.

Pandora's avatar

I once stopped in a cab on the way to my friends house to pick up ciggarettes. I got charged 1.50 for a minute and a half wait and that is how long it took for me to purchase the ciggarettes and I was lucky no one was in front of me.
So even if you go in, it may take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to get your meds and it will cost you more.
Can you get a friend to drop you off and then you call a cab for the way back?
I would ask a friend and give them the 10 bucks. Most college people don’t mind short errands for some gas money.

JLeslie's avatar

The meter continues to run. Meters run in stopped traffic, just like they do waiting outside of a pharmacy.

I suggest calling the cab company, telling them what you will need, and letting them tell you if they can accomodate you or not, what is customary. It might vary by city.

john65pennington's avatar

Walgreens will mail your RX to you free…....................

JLeslie's avatar

@laureth I can pick up your scripts for you if I know your address.

JLeslie's avatar

This shows you the NYC rates. Per minute idle, is the fee for time spent not moving. I thought you might be interested in seeing the various fees, even if your city is different.

jca's avatar

@CWOTUS: I would think if the OP asked that the cab driver went in and picked up her meds for her at the pharmacy, this is more than a cab driver’s duties. Also, for him to do that, he would have to find a parking spot for the cab, which adds to the effort expended on his part.

Ltryptophan's avatar

question for the dispatcher, when you thought this.

CWOTUS's avatar


Cab drivers in small towns do this kind of stuff all the time. And since so many drug stores have drive-up windows, anyway, it should be even less trouble.

laureth's avatar

So I checked with my cabbie friend, and this is what she said:

Taxi meters run on both time and distance. The meters are set to run according to distance above a certain speed and on a timer under a certain speed. AFAIK, the cutoff speed is usually 15 mph. Most cabbies love getting waiting time. The person who needs the prescription should double check the meter rates in her town. A $3.00 flag drop and $0.25/mile sounds absurdly low given the current price of gas (and everything else). The meter rates in [our town] are currently $3.00 flag drop, $2.50/mile, and $0.40/minute waiting time.

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