|Taxi cabs are both loved and hated by New Yorkers. They serve as a quick and easy means of transportation across Manhattan, a route not amply served by the subways. The downside with having an abundance of cabs is the traffic that results. Most traffic-jams in mid-town are speckled with many of the over 10,000 yellow cabs that service the city.|
The act of flagging down a cab is called "hailing"; there's not much to it, just stick out your arm above your head, and pretend you're the Statue of Liberty. When the numbers on the roof of the cab are lit, it is available. Yellow Medallion cabs are the only ones authorized to pick up hails. Avoid cabs that are not the typical "yellow cab", especially if you are new to New York. It's a good idea to make sure all seat belts are working before closing the car doors.
Taxi cabs are required to take you to your destination inside the metropolitan area. Record the ID number from any cabs that you have problems with and report them to the Taxi and Limousine Commission (The TLC)
Livery cabs are the for-hire kind without the official yellow color and the medallion on the front hood. These are sometimes called liveries, luxury cars, black cars, "gypsy cabs" (which is considered derogatory), limos, etc. These shouldn't be hailed from the street since it's technically against the TLC rules. If you ride one, always ask for the price to reach your destination before closing the car door.
Cabs take both cash and credit/debit cards. If you're paying cash it's a good idea to have small bills because the cabbies can't usually break anything higher than $20. While cabs are relatively expensive for a single person, they can actually be a bargain with 3 or more riders. The rates for taxicabs are as follows:As of 2010:
Initial fare.............$2.50 Each 1/5 mile (4 blocks).$0.40 Each 1 minute idle.......$0.40 Peak surcharge...........$1.00 (after 4pm until 8pm Mon-Fri) Night surcharge..........$0.50 (after 8pm until 6am) New York State tax.......$0.50 Tolls....................$extra Additional riders........FREE Flat-fare to JFK.........$45.00 (Manhattan to/from JFK, plus tolls)
The latest rate information can be found on the TLC's website.
Pay only what's on the meter, plus a 15-20 percent gratuity. There are additional charges for crossings outside the metropolitan area and New Jersey. Passengers are required to pay one way. If you are going to airports, there are set fees plus toll and tip. See our airport pages for more specific information on how to get to and from the airports.
Officially, taxicabs can take on only four riders -- 3 in the backseat, 1 in the front seat. Occasionally, the wider cabs will be willing to take 5 people, but they will usually ask the fifth person to duck down below the sight of the authorities. The famous large "Checker" cabs are pretty much a relic of the past, although you can still see some servicing the town at limousine service rates.