Sunday, June 9, 2024

How To Get A Cab In New York

How To Tell If The Taxi Is Available

How to Take a Cab in New York City

Considering the sheer number of taxicabs zooming through Manhattan, youd think finding one thats vacant would be as easy as finding a great slice of pizza. But, not so much. In fact, finding an available cab can be challenging during rain, snow, extreme temperatures, or at rush hour.

Sure, you can give the back seat a quick look, but the fastest way to tell if a cab is occupied or not is by the light on the cars roof. If the number light is lit, the taxi is all yours, but if its dark, youre out of luck because someone is riding in that cab.

Taxis Of New York City

In New York City, taxicabs come in two varieties: yellow and green they are widely recognizable symbols of the city. Taxis painted yellow are able to pick up passengers anywhere in the five boroughs. Those painted apple green , which began to appear in August 2013, are allowed to pick up passengers in Upper Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens , and Staten Island. Both types have the same fare structure. Taxicabs are operated by private companies and licensed by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission . It also oversees over 40,000 other for-hire vehicles, including “black cars”, commuter vans, and ambulettes.

Taxicab vehicles, each of which must have a medallion to operate, are driven an average of 180 miles per shift. As of March 14,2014, there were 51,398 individuals licensed to drive medallion taxicabs. There were 13,605 taxicab medallion licenses in existence. By July 2016, that number had dropped slightly to 13,587 medallions, or 18 lower than the 2014 total. Taxi patronage has declined since 2011 due to competition from ridesharing companies.

What If I Lost An Item In A Taxi

A taxi driver who finds an item should try to return it to the owner if possible. If they cant, they are required to take it to one of eight Police Lost and Found Centers. If you lost something in the taxi during your trip, and you know the medallion number you can visit l site to locate the taxis garage and get in touch with them. Enter the medallion number and you will find the garage information.

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So Who Wins The Uber Vs Taxi Debate In Nyc

Well, both an Uber and a Taxi have their pros and cons in NYC. Of course, team Roomi will always suggest the subway if youre in NYC. But we understand that many people arent yet comfortable taking the subway because of the pandemic. But if a cab is your only option, we recommend going with an NYC yellow taxi. Its cheaper, easily available and honestly, its an integral part of living in NYC that you must enjoy at least once!

Dyou know what else Roomi does outside of helping its readers figure out whether they should get an Uber or a Taxi in NYC? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we help you find your perfect match!

Youre In A Taxi So What To Do Now

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Tell the driver where you need to go, but do not give an address if you can help it. Locals rarely give addresses. Give a landmark if you can, such as the Guggenheim, or a street, such as Park Avenue between 38th and 39th.

If you happen to know your way around town and youre familiar with traffic, feel free to tell the driver which route to take. The driver may want to take the West Side Highway, but maybe youd rather stay in the city and take Broadway, even with traffic, because youll see more sights along the way. Tell him that. Typically, drivers will take the fastest route.

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Finding An Available Taxi

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:

I Have Arrived At My Destination: How Do I Pay

Once you arrive at your destination, or sometimes shortly before you reach the address, it is time to settle up. The good thing about NYC is that every taxi accept credit cards and there is no minimum fare. To pay using your card, use the small screen in the back of the cab, which will guide you through the process and eventually ask you to swipe your card.

When it comes to giving a tip, we usually recommend 15%. The default options on the screen will usually show you 20%, 25% and 30%. And take note, while tipping a cab in NYC is customary, it is not mandatory either. Always exit a cab on the side facing the sidewalk, even if you have to slide across the back seat to the other side of the cab safety first.

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Comparing The Best Ways To Get Around New York City

If youre visiting New York from a more suburban or perhaps even rural area, the way transportation works in the city can feel foreign. The transportation system in New York is different from pretty much all others in America.

In most parts of the country, including other big cities like Houston, theres much less reliance on public transportation than in New York.

There are pros and cons to the way other locations do things. For example, it can be more convenient to get around in your own car, but you might also be at greater risk of being in a car accident.

Of course, some people do use cars in New York, although its much less common.

With those things in mind, the following is a rundown of some of your options for getting around the city.

Image: David Joyce/Flickr.

Other New York Taxicab Tips

How to Get a Taxi at NYC Airports (Laguardia, JFK, and Newark)

Beware some newer drivers might not know the best routes. If you are in gridlock, ask the cabbie to try another street, because youll pay for stop time too.

Be nice to the driver. Most cabbies are perfectly polite, if not friendly. Ive struck up some wonderful conversations with cab drivers. Most might be foreign-born, but they should speak good English. If by chance you land in a cab with a rude driver, or hes driving recklessly, you can report it to the TLC. This rarely, if ever happens. If the cabbie is driving like Mario Andretti, ask him to slow down.

Once you arrive at your destination, the driver should stop the meter. You can pay by cash or credit card. If you pay cash, be sure to have $20 bills and smaller. If youre happy with the trip, tip the driver. Usually, 15 to 20 percent is customary, or you can round up .

Of course, thank the driver. Check the back of the cab and floor for personal belongings such as your cell phone. . Always get a receipt in case you leave something in the cab, you can track it. Exit on the curbside and not in traffic.

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Street Hail Livery Vehicles

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.

How To Hail A Cab In Nyc

We asked Nikki, our local guide and expert in New York City, how to properly hail a cab so you dont look like a silly tourist flapping your arms about on Broadway.

1. Get on a street thats headed in the direction you want to go. Aim to be toward the beginning of the block, just past the corner .

2. Step to the edge of the sidewalk. Youll see many New Yorkers standing a few steps into the street but if you copy that, please be careful of traffic especially bikes!

3. Do NOT wave your hand frantically . Wait until you see a cab approaching with its light on . Look carefully, as it can be a bit hard to see its the number in the front of the cab that lights up.

4. When you see a cab, stretch your hand in the air. Some people give a little wave, some dont. But if you do wave, know that once is enough. If you make eye contact and see the car heading toward you, you can put your hand down.

5. When you enter the cab, its polite to thank the driver and ask how theyre doing today.

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Uber Or Taxi In Nyc: Which Is Better

Aah yes, weve come around to asking this age old question again: should you get an Uber or a taxi to get around NYC? Uber has taken over all major cities around the world, including NYC. So, its no surprise that that might be the go-to for most youngsters in the city. But theres just something so iconic about the NYC yellow taxi cab. I mean, you cant really picture the city without thinking of those yellow cabs driving all over NYC. Its practically the soul of the city. But as Uber has taken over the city in the past few years, weve all found ourselves asking- which option is better? And more importantly, which one is cheaper?

Whether youve just moved to NYC and genuinely want to know or just bored at home with nothing else to do, weve got all the info you need! So without any further ado, heres our comprehensive guide traveling around NYC: Cab addition!

Is An Uber Better Than A Taxi In Nyc

Yellow taxis will offer 50 percent discount in outer ...

We dont need to explain to you what uber is, youve probably already used it a hundred times. But even if you havent theyre actually not that different from a regular taxi. In fact, theyre pretty similar to a yellow taxi cab in how they calculate fares. Its a combination of the time and distance with an additional fare of any tolls added at the end.

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Special Situation: Airport Transfers: Watch Out

Many tourists decide to take a cab from the airport to their New York hotel. Be sure that the driver is charging you the the airport set fare or flat fare. For transportation from JFK to Manhattan , a flat rate of $52 applies , plus tolls and $0.50 state tax. Then add approx. 15% tip. Depending on the location of your hotel, you can assume a cost of approx. $70. Unfortunately, there are always drivers who try to deceive tourists. If the driver will not give you a flat rate, then dont get into the cab make that perfectly clear from the start.

As you can see, taking a cab in New York can be exciting, especially as it is not an every day occurrence for many tourists. With these tips however, you are now well prepared for finding, hailing and safely getting to your destination in a NYC Yellow Cab.

I’m a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On this blog, I want to share everything I have learned and discovered, so you can have the best time in the greatest city in the world. Then think about becoming a supporter of us on Patreon!

New York Taxi Rider’s Bill Of Rights

In New York, these are taken seriously, though most New Yorkers are too distracted to care, and cab drivers are pretty good about following the rules.

As a taxi rider, you have the right to:

  • Direct the destination and route used
  • Travel to any destination in the five boroughs of New York
  • Air-conditioning on demand
  • A courteous, English-speaking driver who knows the streets in Manhattan and the way to major destinations in other boroughs
  • A driver who knows and obeys all traffic laws
  • A radio-free trip
  • A clean passenger seat area and a clean trunk
  • A driver who uses the horn only when necessary to warn of danger
  • You have the right to refuse to tip if the above are not complied with.

Truly, taxi rides in New York are part of the fun of being in the Big Apple. Drivers can be very welcoming and entertaining.

Make the most of your ride in an iconic yellow taxi cab!

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What A Taxi Costs

I remember not too long ago when taking taxis in New York a decent distance would cost $5 to $7. Those days are long gone. The base fare is $2.50 with 50 cents added every 1/5 of a mile or 60 seconds of slow traffic or stop time. Theres a 50-cent surcharge, and a 30-cent surcharge for improvement , plus additional surcharges depending on the time of day and the day of the week. Youll also be responsible for any tolls, say, if you are heading to the airport.

Plus, since February 2, 2019, all yellow taxis whose rides begin, end or travel through the area below 96th Street in Manhattan are subject to a $2.50 congestion charge. Ugh. Green cabs and FHVs cost an extra $2.75. You can find out more on the website.

Taxis arent exactly the cheapest way to navigate the city, unless, or course, youre with a group and splitting the cost. Otherwise, riding the subway or bus is the most budget-friendly way to get around town.

How Much Is A Taxi Ride

How to take a New York City Taxi

New York Yellow Taxis do not offer a flat rate other than to certain airports.

You will be charged by a meter counting time and distance. Once you are in the taxi and it starts moving, the meter starts running.

The meters are generally very accurate. Don’t let a driver tell you a price other than what the meter says!

Base charges

  • The base fare of $2.50.
  • There is a $0.50 New York State tax surcharge.
  • From 4 pm to 8 pm on weekdays, you will pay an additional $1.00.
  • From 8 pm to 6 am, you will pay an additional $0.50.

Once the meter is running

  • When the taxi is moving, you pay $0.50 per 1/5 of a mile (moving at or above 6 miles per hour.
  • If the taxi is sitting still or must slow down due to traffic, the charge is $0.50 for 2 minutes of time stopped or traveling below 6 mph.


  • There is no charge for luggage and no per passenger surcharge. Yeah!
  • Any tolls for crossing bridges or tunnels that charge, you pay for. Note that the bridges between Manhattan and Brooklyn are free. It is doubtful you will be going through the tunnels or bridges with fares unless you are going far out of the city or to an airport.

Methods of Payment Accepted


If you were satisfied with your driver, then a 15% tip is standard. If the driver was exceptional, friendly, and didn’t drive like a maniac, 20% is a very nice tip.

If your driver was really awful, did not follow your instructions, was rude, and did drive like a maniac, you don’t need to tip.

Airport Fares

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