Two of PC TECH’s students, Taeko from Japan and Flavio from Spain, write about a few etiquette rules and customs in regards to public transportation in their countries:

 Taeko:   I will introduce you to the Japanese taxi.  First, Japanese taxi drivers are basically kind, amiable, and talkative.  They have a lot of information for visitors.  I think it’s so much fun to talk with them.  Please try that out!  I think there are a lot of polite drivers in Japan.

            Second, how to get a Japanese taxi:  We put up a hand and can [hail] a taxi.  In Japan we can always get a taxi, day or night.  This is the same as in New York.  But when we pay, we don’t need to tip.  And also, we don’t need to open the door.

It’s different in New York.  If we pay tips, they are very pleased.  That’s very unusual in Japan.  If you ride a Japanese taxi, please remember these [customs].


Flavio:   When I arrived at JFK [airport], I could see a big difference between the taxi in Spain and in the USA.  Taxi drivers here [in New York] are very polite.  They say Hi!, Please!, How are you?, How are your travels going?, I thank you very much.  Have a nice day!

In Spain, people speak more directly.  But one thing is very similar in the two countries: taxi drivers phone while they are driving.

On the other hand, the subway here [has] more different rules of behavior.  For example, most people in Spain don’t normally eat in the metro, but the rules don’t say that eating is not allowed.  It’s only one rule of behavior.

The main difference is that the subway in Spain is cleaner than New York’s.  Another rule is the tip:  In Spain, people don’t have an obligatory tip.  But here, if you don’t want “death” after your dinner, you [should] tip about 18% of your bill.

[Of course, Flavio is only joking about the “death” after a meal.  However, restaurant servers (waiters and waitresses) in New York are usually very helpful and respectful.  Their salaries are not high, and they really need the extra income.  A tip is a thoughtful way to say “Thanks” for good service.  If the service or the food is poor, you should mention the fact to the server before giving a smaller tip.  —Editor]

           PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

Category : Student Essays