As part of my message to taxi drivers and companies, I want to share my own experience (and for others) on how, by working together, the driver and passengers can have a smoother process.
Because if taxi drivers can be deaf aware of what to do when they have deaf/hard of hearing passengers, it will avoid all sorts of awkwardness, complications and miscommunications.
And the process of getting from A to B will be a smoother one for everyone involved.
You can watch the video below…:
…listen to the podcast…:
…or you can read the transcript below
Dear taxi drivers, taxi brands, taxi companies…let’s chat. Because I have a problem seemingly every time I start the process from making a booking to getting into the taxi.
Because it’s tricky, and I want to start that conversation and also just to make sure that we can have a conversation, let me know what you think.
Comment, subscribe, like, let me know what you think but let’s start at the very beginning of the whole taxi journey process for me, which is when I make that booking.
Booking a Taxi
What, you still have to call to book a taxi? What year is this?
You know yourself that the big brands out there make it easy to make a booking by using apps, but if you’re asking me to call you, well it’s not just as me who is deaf/hard of hearing to not even want to make a call, but I’m pretty sure a lot of people don’t want to make that call either.
It’s just more convenient and easier and quicker to make that booking via an app.
So if you are one of those companies that don’t do that, then, you’re going to be left behind.
However way that booking is done, if there is an option to state our accessibility need, well that would make your job easier and my job easier as well.
Communicating Inside the Taxi
Just so we can get it out there, this is the situation for example, I can’t hear when I’m in the car with you.
I’m deaf so I’m not going to talk to you in the car. Which brings me nicely to the next section which is the moment I step into the car, the driver wants to start to have a conversation, which is nice, I get it.
Start a conversation, it’s sociable, it’s friendly. You want to give a good service, I get it, totally get it.
But let me tell you right now, that I am in no way going to be able to have a good conversation with you and for most d/Deaf and hard of hearing people. Just not going to happen.
For people like myself, I depend on face-to-face and a bit of lip reading and somewhere in a quiet environment as well. It’s the complete opposite in a taxi though, because I will not be face-to-face with you.
It is impossible to lip read you, because I can only see your eyes in the mirror at the top and in a car, it’s the worst place for me to have a conversation.
Not just in your car, not just a taxi, any car. Too noisy, I can’t hear anyone, whether it’s beside me, or in front of me, doesn’t matter, so let’s just say out there, me having a conversation with you in the taxi like many d/Deaf and hard of hearing people… impossible.
If you’re insistent on having a conversation in the car, well this going to be a recipe for disaster, or it could be some hilarious outtakes, where there’s going to be miscommunication misunderstanding and it’d just get awkward and there are examples of that below but it’s not going to be ideal preferably.
Bear in mind though, that those who are more profoundly deaf will maybe not be able to do at all, and those who communicate only via sign language, well obviously, the conversation will be non-existent because even if you can sign, signing and driving I’d rather have your hand on the steering wheel rather than up in the air and communicating to the person behind you.
So yeah, just keep your hands on the steering wheel.
Technology Inside Taxis May Help
I am aware that in some taxis there are microphones where the driver will speak into the microphone and there is a tiny little speaker in the passenger-side beside you and that comes up from there.
Now for most people, that’d be great but again it’s not a solution for me because it does not mean I’d be able to hear them and yes sometimes those taxis have a loop technology but again not everyone wears them not everyone uses them and it’s still going to be a noisy environment.
So even if I flick on the loop technology on my hearing aid it’s not going to work there either. There are various ways to communicate if you want to use technology and use those speech to text technology and have a way to communicate that could work, possibly.
I’ve seen a few of them, I’ve seen some videos, again you can check it out in below.
And yes that could work but I’m getting the impression that people in my situation, on most occasions, I’m guessing that it’s just easier to not have a conversation.
So if I’m not talking to you, if I have my headphones on, if I say to you, “I can’t hear you”, it’s legit. I can’t hear you and that applies to all d/Deaf and hard of hearing people.
But if you do want to relay messages, if there’s something that needs to be said, then okay, a simple pen and paper will do the trick and that’s it.
Let’s Make the Process Easy for Everyone
Apart from that, let’s make sure that I make your job easier, let’s make sure that my journey as a passenger is less stressful and everyone’s happy. You’re happy, I’m happy, great
If you do have any questions though, leave a comment. I’d love to know what you think, what is your process, and even I’d love to hear from fellow d/Deaf and hard of hearing passengers on what do they think when they go on a taxi journey, how is it for them?
Just so we can share our experiences with other taxi drivers as well. It’s just makes your job easier, that’s all we want to do.
In the meantime, I will speak to you again, soon.