->''"In [[UsefulNotes/LosAngeles L.A.]] if you want a taxi, you pick up the phone, call for one and it comes to your house. In [[BigApplesauce New York]], you go out into the street and get in a fistfight for one."''
-->-- Shannon Tweed, ''Series/GeneSimmonsFamilyJewels''

A character, on a city street, is trying to hail a cab. No matter how many times they yell, "Hey, taxi!", nothing stops for them.

This can be played for comedy, such as trying to show a country-bumpkin just how tough the big city can be. Or it can be played for a drama. One simple and frequent plot is when the lack of a taxi will slow the hero down in their [[RaceForYourLove quest]]. Another is if there's a sinister reason no taxi will stop for the protagonist ''in particular'', often demonstrated by showing one that just ignored them stop for somebody more "suitable;" for instance, the inability of a black man to catch a taxi is a too-frequent RealLife occurrence that fiction often comments on.



[[folder: Comics]]
* In ''[[ComicBook/SpirouAndFantasio Spirou à Moscou]]'', Fantasio is trying to get a cab in the middle of Moscow, with no success. Meanwhile Spirou is digging through the material they got from the KGB (which they work for at the moment) and shows Fantasio the spiffy new KGB badges they've been given. Six cabs immediately stop for them... driven by some ''very'' nervous-looking cab drivers.

[[folder:Film -- Animated]]
* Happens in the "Rhapsody in Blue" segment of ''Disney/{{Fantasia 2000}}''. Naturally, the character in question is black.

[[folder:Film -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/TheAdjustmentBureau'', the Bureau limits David Norris' options by altering reality so no taxis will stop for him, even though they clearly have no passengers. When one finally does stop, it gets hit by a truck.
* The first scene of ''Film/{{Batman}}'' has a tourist family failing to get a taxi. This one's especially bad because they were getting ready to board a cab when someone else butted in and boarded, despite the fact that they were there first. This would eventually lead the father to try to take a shortcut through an alleyway, leading to them being victimized by two muggers at the end of the scene.
* In ''Film/DownToEarth'', after being brought back to life for the second time, Chris Rock's character tries to hail a taxi to test if he was reincarnated as a black man. He fails to attract a single cab, much to his delight.
* In ''Film/TheGreatMuppetCaper'', taxis don't stop for Kermit and company until Gonzo jumps in front of one.
* In the Jim Carrey live-action version of ''Film/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas'', the race-card version of this trope is used. The Grinch tries to hail a taxi, but it speeds on by, and the Grinch screams to the air that it's just because he's green.
* In ''Film/JustMyLuck'', when Creator/LindsayLohan's character gets bad luck, the taxis won't stop for her. As soon as she gets good luck, she can get ''three'' taxis to stop with a wave of her arm.
* In ''Film/MeetDave'' Number 2 eventually has the robot grab a car ''[[RuleOfCool in mid-drive.]]''
* In ''Film/NightOnEarth'' Mookie has a hard time getting a cab to take him to Brooklyn late at night.
* ''Film/NorthByNorthwest'' begins in New York City -- a man hails a cab, and Roger cuts in with his secretary, claiming she's pregnant, and takes it. She chides Roger, who assures her his lie let the guy think he was doing them a favor.
* In ''Film/ThePelicanBrief'' Grantham has this problem. Somewhat justified in that he was dressed for street surveillance and looked somewhat suspicious, made worse by the fact that he is black.
* ''Film/PlanesTrainsAndAutomobiles'' begins in New York City rush hour with Neal trying hail a cab to the airport. He competes with Kevin Bacon for a cab and lost. He pays another person to take the ride, but was stiffed paying him $75 before Del took the ride.
* In ''Film/QuickChange'', the heroes have robbed a bank and are futilely trying to flag down a cab to get to the airport:
-->'''Loomis''': Ten thousand dollars for a taxi!\\
'''Phyllis''': And a blow job!
* This is the subject of a joke in ''Film/{{Tootsie}}''. Tootsie is trying to hail a cab, and calls twice for a cab in his woman voice. Finally he bellows for one in his man voice and one stops immediately.
* Defied and parodied in ''Film/TopFive''. Chris Rock tries to invoke this by saying "Black man trying to catch a cab in New York City!" As soon as he holds out his arm, a taxi stops.
* Variation in ''Film/TheWiz'': Dorothy sees and approaches a parked Oz cab on two occasions early on -- each time, it switches on an "OFF DUTY" light and drives off before she can reach it. Later on, she and the other main characters ignore the cabs entirely (or even stand on them) while singing "Ease on Down the Road". This is probably supposed to symbolize their choice of a more challenging, but also more rewarding, path.

* Inverted in Creator/DavidFosterWallace's ''Literature/InfiniteJest'', wherein most characters report that the late James O. Incandenza, Jr. was capable of conjuring up Boston taxis in extremely unlikely places.
* Creator/EphraimKishon, when he was in Paris. Even praying in Hebrew and cursing in Hungarian didn't help.
* ''A Wizard of the Crow'' comes out and says it: the main character, born in Africa, can only get a cab when it's driven by a black guy.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Will happen from time to time on ''Series/TheAmazingRace'', and is always played for drama. Most of the time it happens because teams will be tasked with finding a cab in an area that doesn't have many.
* In a sketch on ''Series/ChappellesShow'' about monsters who happen to be African-American (or African-Americans who happen to be monsters), it's unclear whether the mummy is unable to hail a cab because he's a mummy or because he's black. This makes him late for his appointment with his parole officer.
* ''Series/CriminalMinds'', from the episode "A Real Rain":
-->'''Morgan''': ''(about the [=UnSub=])'' Well, he got picked up in the pouring rain by a New York cabbie, so we definitely know he's not a brother.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': In [[Recap/DoctorWho2006CSTheRunawayBride "The Runaway Bride"]], Donna Noble tries to hail a cab in her wedding dress, without success.
-->'''The Doctor:''' Do you have this effect on everyone? Why aren't they stopping?\\
'''Donna Noble:''' They think I'm in a fancy dress.\\
''[One cab passes by and toots its horn]''\\
'''Cabbie:''' Stay off the scotch, darlin'!\\
'''Donna Noble:''' They think I'm drunk.\\
''[Two men driving the other way shout through their window]''\\
'''Both Men:''' You're fooling no one, mate!\\
'''Donna Noble:''' They think I'm in drag!\\
'''The Doctor:''' Hold on, hold on. ''[hails a taxi by emitting a long, piercing whistle]''
** However, they have no money, so they get booted out of that cab quickly due to double rates on Christmas Eve. To get money, the Doctor waits impatiently in line at an ATM while Donna begs for change on the street. Just as the Doctor's getting his money for Donna's fare, he sees her riding off in a cab... driven by a Robot Santa. Cue a climactic chase sequence on the expressway.
* An episode of the Disney Channel series ''Series/TheFamousJettJackson'' was about Jett spending some time in a rougher urban area than he was used to and realizing that his sheltered, privileged life isn't typical for a black teenager in America. One of his clues was that he couldn't get a cab to stop for him. (It's a cliché, but still, try finding a storyline like that on Disney Channel today.)
* A ''Series/HappyEndings'' episode had Brad, who is black, and Max, who is gay, arguing about whether it is harder to be a black man or a gay man. Brad complains that the other night he couldn't get a cab to stop for him in an extremely expensive suit, while a white man in grungy clothes was picked up almost instantly.
* In ''Series/TheIncredibleHulk Returns'', Don Blake tried to hail a cab by wimpily lifting his arm and calling "Hey, Cab" but they all passed him by. Then Thor[[note]]In the TV movie Thor and Blake are different people, unlike in the comics.[[/note]] used his lung power to bellow "'''HEY! CAB!'''" and one stopped abruptly.
* The ''Series/LawAndOrder'' episode "Rage" centers around the murder trial of a black stockbroker who killed his white mentor after the latter discovered that he had scammed the brokerage out of millions of dollars. At trial, the killer's lawyer argues that he committed the crime out of "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_rage_(law) black rage]]," essentially claiming that he was driven to kill by society's pervasive racism. After the conclusion of the trial, prosecutor Jack [=McCoy=] reflects that, while the defendant's legal claim was bogus, the racism he saw around him was not. He then hails a cab...which deliberately swerves to avoid a black man who had hailed it seconds before.
* In ''Series/{{Oz}}'', part of Poet's face is scalded and rendered temporarily pale, at which he remarks "at least I'll be able to hail a cab."
* A segment on ''Series/SesameStreet'' talking about how we use our hands to communicate ("Hand Talk") involved a man hailing a taxi, only to have it drive right by, with a waving fake hand in the back.
* The intro to Creator/ConanOBrien's first episode of ''Series/TheTonightShow'' had him, unable to hail a cab in UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity, start running -- all the way to UsefulNotes/{{Hollywood}} ! (although, in RealLife, "Move to L.A." was probably further up his list than where it was shown...)
* In an episode of Creator/MichaelMoore's ''TV Nation'', they showed Famous Actor Yaphett Kotto (a large black man) try to hail a cab, and about 10 feet in front of him an anonymous white man also trying to hail a cab. Kotto was unsuccessful but the white guy would get all the cabs he wanted. The kicker: the white guy was a convicted felon who had been recently released from prison.
** Played for comedy when the ''TV Nation'' crew would quiz the taxi drivers who didn't pick up Kotto, and tried to address the problem -- when the drivers said Kotto "looked scary", they had him hail a cab while holding a bouquet of flowers and a baby, and even standing by an illuminated sign reading "I NEED A CAB".
** The accompanying book, "Tales of a TV Nation", notes that Kotto ''did'' get a lot of rides... from black cabbies.
* On a episode of ''Series/TheWayansBrothers'', Marlon doubts a person who claims to be an angel until he performs a miracle -- causing a cab to stop for a black person. Marlon believes him instantly.

* The original sketch for "I Can't Get Started" in the revue ''Ziegfeld Follies of 1936''.
* Emily in ''Theatre/{{Allegro}}'', at the end of "The Gentleman Is A Dope," finally gives up trying to hail a cab and says, "Oh, hell, I'll walk!"
* Skid Row in ''Theatre/LittleShopOfHorrors'' is described as "Downtown...where the cabs don't stop."
* In the "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbud8rLejLM Everyone's a Little Bit Racist]]" number in ''Theatre/AvenueQ'', Christmas Eve complains about the personal hygiene of (presumably Indian) taxi-cab drivers. Everyone agrees with her except Gary Coleman who says "I can't even get a taxi!"
* ''Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk'' features a number in which a series of increasingly well-dressed black men try and fail to get a cab. The final man in the series is a soldier carrying Colin Powell's memoirs.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Played with in the ''WesternAnimation/DaffyDuck'' cartoon "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery": Daffy (as Duck Twacy) hails a taxi, which zooms up, and tells the driver to "follow that car!" The taxi zooms off without Daffy, who says to us "Keeps 'em on their toes!"
* Played from the taxi driver's perspective in one episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' when Brian takes a job as a cab driver and doesn't pick up Cleveland when he's attempting to hail a taxi. Subverted in that Brian wasn't even thinking of picking up a fare at the time and simply had to run another errand (though Brian is known to have racist leanings, leading to a possible DoubleSubversion).
** One of the many uses mentioned in [[https://youtu.be/cvaRGiMWRaE the advertisement]] for the Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube Man is helping black men hail taxis.
* Early in ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'', the three youngest members of Manhattan Clan watch someone hail a taxi and decide to try it, since they're a long way from the castle and their wings are tired. It doesn't work, since the taxi driver got too freaked out when a gargoyle jumped up in front of him.
** [[BigBad Demona]] has no problem with it though, at least in her human form. And all she had to do was ShowSomeLeg.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Madeline}}'' animated series: while visiting New York, Miss Clavelle's cries of "Taxi!" get no attention whatsoever. Madeline solves the problem with an ''earsplitting'' whistle.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Taxis in most major cities ''don't'' normally respond to curbside hails as most taxi service is dispatched straight to a calling customer's location. Doesn't stop people from trying to hail them while they're en route to a dispatch, and flipping off the driver when he appears to be ignoring them.
** And then there are cases where people ''do'' call for a taxi, but it fails to pick them up due to confusion over their exact location, or if there are more than one person waiting for a cab at the same landmark, not all of whom may have called ahead for one.
* Played perfectly straight all the time in Las Vegas by tourists who don't know it's illegal for cabs to pick up on public streets. Protip: Get to a casino valet or flag one down while standing in a parking lot off the street instead of the sidewalk.