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How To Catch A Taxi In New York

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How to Take a Cab in New York City

Theres no city quite like the Big Apple. From the hustle of Wall Street to the bright lights of Times Square to Central Park’s leafy outlook, New York City pulsates with energy. Touch the sky from the Empire State Building, rub shoulders with art buffs at the the Guggenheim or Museum of Modern Art, visit Lady Liberty on Ellis Island and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Spend the day lazing in Central Park, unleash your inner kid at Coney Island, sink your teeth into delectable pizza and bagels, or simply wander through some of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world from NoHo and the Meatpacking District to Tribeca and Williamsburg.

Things to do in New York

How To Taxi Like A New Yorker In New York City

How To: Hailing a cab in the Big Apple takes technique. Riding like a local requires panache. Cab driver Layne Mosler explains.

06.21.10 | 10:39 AM ET

The situation: Youre in New York City and you need a cab. Dozens of yellow taxis are zipping past, but you cant seem to flag one down. Or maybe you have no idea how to pass yourself off as a local once youve succeeded. You need help.

Ive been a licensed New York City cabbie for six months, and Ive learned a few things. If youre visiting the Big Apple and want to make like a New Yorker in one of the citys 13,000 taxis, read on.

Hail with authority: A cab driver is looking in four directions and three mirrors, keeping other maniacal drivers off her tail, anticipating untelegraphed lane changes and scanning the streets for passengers at the same time. If you barely raise your hand, we cant see you or cross four lanes of traffic in time to pick you up.

The cabbie color palette: Yellow cab? Gypsy cab? Black car? Yellow cabs are the only taxis legally authorized to pick up street hails, but livery cabs often infringe on our territory, even though theyre supposed to restrict their business to passengers who call them directly. Whats a passenger to do?

Anticipate the drop-off: If youre paying in cash and were dropping you off someplace like Times Square or Grand Central Station, try to get your money ready ahead of time .

How To Use New York Taxis

To hail a cab in the streets of Manhattan you just raise your hand. The middle light on top of the taxi will be on when its free. If the light is off, the taxi is taken. When the taxi is off-duty, the off duty light will show. When you get in a New York taxi, you never tell the driver the address of where you wish to go. Rather, you provide the cross streets or intersection for where you are heading . Additionally, upon arrival at your destination, you can still provide directions for where you want to get dropped off in order to get closer to where you want to go. Try to hail a cab that is driving in the same direction that you are headed: this will save you time and money.

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Using Uber In New York

Uber has become a very popular mode of transport in New York. You can request a car through the Uber app, which is the same app as in the UK. Therefore, booking a car is very easy. Uber is also cheaper than yellow cabs. I quite often use it myself, but for the real New York experience, still, recommend taking a yellow cab at least once!

How much is a cab ride in New York?

How do I order a cab in NYC?

Is it hard to get a cab in New York?

How do you pay for a cab in NYC?

Is it cheaper to take a taxi or Uber in NYC?

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Directions For Your Jfk Airport Transfer

New York City Taxi Fare Prediction

John F. Kennedy Airport, more commonly known as JFK airport, is the main international airport serving New York City. Located in Queens, a taxi or private shuttle from JFK Airport to Manhattan will take around 45 minutes. To begin your journey, your New York airport taxi or shuttle driver will take the I-678N from 130th street. After around 1 mile, they will then take the Grand Central Parkway / I-278 E and cross Robert F Kennedy bridge onto Randalls Island and the Harlem River bridge across to Manhattan. From there, the driver will use the local roads to drop you off exactly at your accommodation.

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Official Newark Airport Taxi Details

Newark Airport taxi photo

Newark Airport taxi service is readily available outside Arrivals at each of the Newark Airport’s terminal buildings. A taxi from Newark Airport provides a convenient and easy way to travel into nearby Newark city and other destinations.

A taxi from Newark Airport into central Newark will take around 25 to 40 minutes, depending on traffic. Official Newark Airport taxi service cabs, at the airport’s taxi ranks, should be used at all times to ensure safety and also to avoid being overcharged.

You’ll be asked to pre-pay your fare at a machine at the taxi rank Give your voucher to the driver, and he/she will process your final charge when you reach your destination.

How Difficult To Catch A Minivan Taxi In Times Square

I get the sense that it should be no problem to get a minivan taxi at the airport for my family of five. When we return to the airport from Times Sq. will it be a problem trying to hail a minivan? We are staying at the Doubletree Guest Suites.

At the airport, the taxis are in a neat queue, and it is obvious when you get to the head of the line. On the street, though, the taxis are not lined up waiting for you, and the other people out to hail cabs want the first one that comes along — and if that means snagging the minivan you want, well so it goes. You will therefore find it harder to find a minivan taxi. On the bright side, the subway station is right downstairs.

Yes, like at most airports, you will have to wait in a line outside for a cab, and your wait may be longer to hold out for either a minivan- or Ford Explorer-type taxi. Times Square presents a challenge because while there is an overabundance of taxis there, there is also an overabundance of people trying to hail them there. Also be sure to check out the weather that day ahead of time, as taxis always seem to be either occupied or few and far-in-between in NYC when it rains.

From the Double Tree – not a problem at all. Mini Van’s are all over the place. Tip the doorman – tell him what you want and wait a couple of minutes. It’ll work. Have a great time!

I would definitely order one from a car service–it’s maybe $10 more than a cab.

Leaving the hotel, definitely let the doorman get your cab.

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How To Hail A Cab In New York

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To an out-of-towner or foreigner, hailing a cab in New York City can be a little intimidating you’re not used to grabbing one off the streets, it’s noisy out there and traffic is fast paced. But really the process is easy with a bit of know-how.

Fare And Service Structure

How to hail a taxi in New York City, interviews with New Yorkers

Uber offers five classes of service in New York City, each with a different price structure, as the table below shows.


yellow taxicab requested through Uber app


$0.50 per 1/5 mile or $0.50 per 60 seconds in slow traffic or when the vehicle is stopped


Uber has something called surge pricing, which refers to the higher fares it imposes during times of high rider demand. Surge pricing can take effect during rush hour, during a natural disaster, or during a random spike of requests on a Saturday afternoon. Uber claims these price increases are meant to encourage more Uber drivers to get out on the road, and that prices revert to normal when supply and demand even outcapitalism at its finest. The Uber app notifies users of surge pricing when they request a ride.

Uber used to offer a $60 flat rate between Manhattan and JFK but dropped that option. Rates are now calculated based on time and distance.

Taxis do not have surge pricing, but riders might have to wait longer when demand exceeds supply. Taxis do, however, add a $0.50 surcharge in the evening and a $1 surcharge during rush hour , Monday through Friday. If Ubers surge pricing is in effect, you will probably pay a lot less by taking a cab, if you can get one. Surge pricing will at least double your usual fare, and Uber has reported charging customers as much as $39 per mile. A New York City councilman introduced a bill in January 2015 proposing to limit surge pricing to twice the usual rate.

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Mta Negligence Let Possible Access

It could be a long, brutal summer for New Yorkers who need a ride.

Emily Wood, a 39-year-old ad executive in the West Village, was late for a doctor visit late last month and couldnt find a taxi on Sixth Avenue at West 11th Street. So she opened the Uber app and punched in a five-minute trip to West 25th Street.

Uber wanted an eye-popping $39 so Wood hoofed the 14 blocks in her running sneakers. When the doctor told Wood her blood pressure was high, she had to explain.

The prices have just been astronomical, Wood said. Im going to plan ahead and Im going to allow more time to take the subway and walk.

The problem may get worse before it gets better. As offices reopen and tourists begin to trickle in this summer, industry experts say passengers will face a dire shortage of taxicabs and surging prices for Uber and Lyft rides. Thats because drivers who largely stopped working during the pandemic remain reluctant to come back, instead taking other jobs or collecting unemployment.

The summer could be really crazy, Bruce Schaller, a transportation expert and former city transit official, told the Post.

According to the Taxi and Limousine Commission, there were 4,900 yellow cabs cruising the city in April. While thats up slightly from 4,700 in March its less than half the 11,400 cabs that were available in February 2020, before lockdowns.

In the meantime, fares on Uber and Lyft are skyrocketing.

Amid The Pandemic Fares On Uber And Lyft Often Are The Same Or Higher Than A Yellow Cab

With the weather cooling off and pandemic numbers dropping, New York City is slowly getting back in actionand that means people are hopping back into taxis, Ubers and Lyfts. But as riders are discovering, a lot changed in the for-hire ride scene during the coronavirus lockdown. Some may want to rethink their habits.

With the number of taxis on the road still down more than 50% from pre-pandemic levels, for example, it has gotten harder to hail a cab on the street. Pooling with fellow riders to save on fares, meanwhile, is no longer an option on any of the ride-share platforms.

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How Much Does The Train Cost From Ewr Airport To New York City Centre

The AirTrain costs $5.50USD to reach Newark Liberty International Airport Station, however if you purchase a ticket for the onward journey via NJ Transit to Penn Station NY, the price for the AirTrain is included, so you will only need to use the one ticket through your journey, which costs $12.50USD . Tickets are available for purchase at the airport station via ticketing machines.

Value for Money

Street Hail Livery Vehicles

Irina Shayk catching a cab in New York

Historically, only yellow medallion taxicabs were permitted to pick up passengers in response to a street hail. The TLC also regulates and licenses for-hire vehicles, known as “car services” or “livery cabs,” which are prohibited from picking up street hails and are supposed to pick up only those customers who have called the car service’s dispatcher and requested a car. Following state legislation passed in 2011, the TLC voted in April 2012 to allow livery cabs to be licensed to make street pick-ups in the outer boroughs and northern Manhattan, a rule in effect starting in summer 2012. The implementation was held up with litigation, but on June 6, 2013, the New York State Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court, found that the regulation of taxicabs was a compelling state interest, and that therefore the New York Legislature had acted within its rights when it authorized the new class of taxis. The Taxi and Limousine Commission plans to authorize up to 6,000 cabs per year for three years, ultimately creating a total of 18,000 green taxis. They first appeared in August 2013.

Participating drivers must have their car painted and the Taxi logo and information printed, and also the affiliated base on the rear sides, and cameras, meters and GPS added. The GPS will not allow the meter to work if the cab is starting in Manhattan below East 96th or West 110th streets, and in the airports.

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Important Information About Taxi Rides In New York City

  • Taxi tariffs in the United States of America are officially set by cities or districts
  • The taxi tariff New York City was last set in January 2018 and published in the official tariff ordinance
  • It is binding for all taxis and taxi companies within the compulsory driving area and may not be exceeded or undercut
  • This is ensured by officially calibrated taximeters installed in the taxis

Uber Vs Yellow Cabs Example

It can be difficult to understand how these pricing structures work in real life, so here is an example of how it works with Uber. For a 5-mile, 10-minute trip going 25 miles per hour the entire way, uberX would cost $2.55 base fare plus $3.50 for the 10 minutes plus $10.75 for the mileage, for a total of $16.80. You can now add a tip on Uber if you choose.

But what about yellow cabs? The same 5-mile, 10-minute trip going 25 miles per hour, the entire way in a taxi would cost the base fare of $2.50 plus 25 units at $0.50 each, or $12.50, for a total of $15.00. It is customary to tip the driver 10% to 20%. This adds $3 to the cab fare, for a total of $18.

In this example, the cost of each ride is close. Which option is cheaper in other scenarios depends on traffic. When Sara Silverstein did the math for Business Insider, she found that taxis are cheaper in New York City when traffic is flowing at under 20 MPH. Uber is cheaper in other cases unless it is charging high-demand fares.

Editors note: This article was previously published with inaccurate and out-of-date information. In addition, it made false and insensitive characterizations of both taxi and Uber drivers that Investopedia does not stand by. We regret that we missed these issues when this article was recently updated, but we have since corrected it and we apologize for the remarks and the oversight.

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New York City Taxi Cabs

Taxi cabs in New York are big, comfortable, clean and even have a screen where you can play whatever you like, including a GPS so that you can verify the taxi’s route.

Although the and are quite efficient, it is still useful to take one of the iconic New York cabs from time to time. You will find these famous yellow vehicles literally on every corner of the Big Apple. However, when it rains it is almost impossible to find one that is empty.

Finding An Available Taxi

New York City (NYC) Taxi Cabs Guide – Getting Around | NYC Travel – Episode# 3

The first trick to successfully hailing a taxi is to find one thats available and on duty. My problem was I was hailing cabs that were either occupied or off duty. Thats why they didnt stop for me. So how can you tell which taxis are available? Its all in the lights.

On the top of every cab in New York City, youll find a roof light. Theyre hard not to spot. What you want to look for is a number, with the words Off Duty bookending that number. To figure out which cab is available, pay attention to how theyre lit up.

  • Available Cab: Just the center number is lit and nothing else. Hail away!
  • Occupied Cab: None of the lights are lit. This cab is already running a fare, so dont hail it.
  • Off Duty Cab: Both the center number and the off duty lights are lit. Though, sometimes I saw cabs that just had the off duty lights on without the center light on and they were still off duty. This cab isnt picking anybody up. Dont hail.

Heres a nice graphic showcasing the possible light combos and their meanings regarding availability:

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