Taxi rides refer to an ability in the Grand Theft Auto series to travel to parts of a city by riding a taxi, as opposed to stealing and driving one. The feature is effectively a form of "teleportation", and it allows the player to reach nearly all destinations without the hassle of traveling on their own.
The feature is implemented in only a handful of games, including Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and Grand Theft Auto V.
GTA Vice City — GTA Vice City Stories
The ability to ride taxis was first featured in a limited scale in GTA Vice City as merely a mean to repeat failed missions if the player is arrested or wasted in one; after respawning at a hospital or police station, a marked taxi (usually a Kaufman Cab or Cabbie) is spawned in front, which can be ridden to the marker that activated the failed mission, allowing the player to replay the mission faster. This feature is implemented once in the mission Spilling The Beans where Tommy can chose to ride a Taxi to Mailbu Club at the beginning of the mission, at a cost of $9.
The feature is also present, with few changes, in GTA Liberty City Stories and GTA Vice City Stories (both of which inherit GTA Vice City's game mechanics).
Players could only begin riding taxis in GTA IV, where taxis can be hailed, entered, and ridden to nearly all destinations, all at a variable cost. The ability to take rides in taxis is not available at the beginning of the game, but must be unlocked by completing missions, after the mission Bull in a China Shop taxi rides are unlocked.
Hail & Enter the Taxi
- While on foot, the player can whistle for a cab, by pressing E (action button), and, provide he is not wanted by the police, take a seat in the back and be driven anywhere in the city for a fee. It should be noted that entry into a taxi as a passenger is only possible if the player presses and holds F (the enter/exit vehicle button); otherwise, the player ends up carjacking the taxi driver instead.
- If the player acts aggressively or receives a wanted level while riding in a taxi, the driver will stop the car and run away in fear.
- Cabs that already have passengers turn off their roof lights and will not stop when hailed; this may trigger the player to comment on it unsavory. If the player manages to catch up to an occupied taxi, however, it can still be entered - the player will pull the passenger out of the back seat and hop in. Passengers do not retaliate, and there is no reaction from the driver. This is usually easier to execute when the taxi is either traveling at low speeds or is stationary (e.g. stopping near an intersection, or waiting for Niko to get out of the way).
- Upon entering a taxi, the player can use a terminal within the vehicle to direct the driver to various preset landmarks (safe-houses, mission starting locations, recreational facilities such as bowling alleys or the Helitours depot, etc); the player can also direct the driver to any way-point they set, and during some missions, the player can take a taxi to (stationary) mission markers.
- The taxi fare is determined by distance, and whether the player used the "trip-skip" option (where the journey is omitted entirely, the game resuming as the cab pulls up at its location, and the cost of the fare doubling).
- The player can also issue a "hurry" option, which allows the driver to drive aggressively and ignore road rules, without additional costs.
- If the taxi driver exits the taxi first (e.g. taxi flips over), the taxi fare will be free.
- The player can get free cab rides from Roman Bellic after the player has earned his respect (Roman will call to inform the player once the service is available). Selecting "Car Services" from Roman's address-book entry in the mobile phone will initiate a call to Roman, and he will dispatch one of his cabs to the player's location. In the beginning of the game, Roman's taxis are customized dark gray Esperantos (see Roman's Taxi), but as his fortunes rise, his company switches to using dark gray Cavalcades.
- There's a rare chance that a taxi will spawn with a female driver, however she doesn't has any specific taxi driver dialogue like male taxi drivers do.
GTA Chinatown Wars
In GTA Chinatown Wars, players retain GTA IV's taxi riding system, with several changes in place. Players can no longer enter any Cabbie at will, as they can only be entered after the player hails a taxi, triggering the taxi to stop and be marked by yellow chevrons pointing where the player should walk to to automatically enter a taxi as a passenger.
After entering a Cabbie, the player, as in GTA IV, can pick nearly any location in Liberty City to go, as are the usual gameplay-specific locales. Instead of a basic destination selector, however, the player is automatically shown a map of the city, allowing the player to immediately pinpoint their destination using a map marker. After selecting a destination, the player is treated with a similar cutscene of the taxi the player is in traveling towards the destination, which the player can skip.
Like GTA IV, the cost of a taxi ride is dependent on the distance of the ride; the longer the ride, the costlier it is.
Taxi rides return in GTA V. The company is managed by Downtown Cab Co. Unlike the previous games but similar to other functions in V, the press-or-hold keys are switched meaning that you now press the button to get in as a passenger and hold it instead to hijack it. Unlike in GTA IV you are not allowed to aim your guns out of the cab. A new function in V is that players can use their smartphone to call the Cab Company and a taxi will soon arrive at the players' location. You can now leap out of the cab while it's moving to avoid paying for the ride. This will give you an instant wanted level. To leave the cab safely before reaching the destination, you have to first order the driver to stop (B/Circle) and then exit the car. Tip: It does not matter where the player is, as long as they are near a road, a taxi will be available. This will be helpful if there are no vehicles around.
- Even if you have told the driver to 'hurry' he will still stop at red lights and refuses to drive on certain dirt roads.
- You can cause extensive body damage to the cab you're taking a ride in by making the driver drive on the narrow roads in the mountains near Mount Chiliad and pressing the hurry button. This causes him to drive too fast, making the cab fall off the mountain and roll down the side. If it looks like the car will blow up when hitting the ground from a long fall skipping the ride will save you.
- When Franklin purchases Downtown Cab Co., all the taxi rides will be free of charge for him. Michael and Trevor still need to pay for the fares.
- Cab rides are back in GTA Online, but it's not really an advantage, as you can't skip the ride and the taxi drivers drive slowly, even if you press the "hurry" button, they won't go with full throttle, making cab rides really worthless.