New York Taxis

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New York taxis can be spotted from a mile off due to their distinctive yellow colour. These yellow cabs are a great way to travel around the city. If you want to travel more luxuriously, you can take a limousine. These are slightly more expensive but much more elegant. Limos are not equipped with a meter, so you pay the agreed-upon amount discussed in advance.

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New York Taxi Prices

The base rate for New York taxis is $3, plus a few surcharges of $1.50 in total. For all trips that begin, end or pass through Manhattan south of 96th Street a New York State Congestion Surcharge of $2.50 is added. In addition, you pay $0.70 per 1/5 mile or, in slow traffic, per 60 seconds. There are always taxis waiting at JFK Airport. If you do not want to pay too much, take a yellow cab. Please note that taxis must offer a flat rate from JFK to Manhattan. However, travelling from Manhattan to JFK they are free to charge more.

New York Taxis - Yellow cabs on the streets of New York New York Taxis - Taxi in New York

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 it’s 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 (e.g. 9th Avenue and 42nd Street). Additionally, upon arrival at your destination, you can still provide directions for where you want to get dropped off 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.

Travelling with more people

Officially 4 people are allowed in a taxi, but there needs to be enough room for the suitcases. If you have a lot of luggage you’ll need to take 2 taxis. The best is to get the shuttle bus or larger bus when with bigger groups.

Travelling at night

Travelling in a taxi at night is often the easiest and safest option. There is a small surcharge: Between 20:00 – 06:00, you pay $1 extra. Also from Monday to Friday between 16:00 – 20:00, which are the peak traffic hours, you pay $2.50 extra.

Paying in the taxi

You can pay in the taxi in cash or with a credit card. When paying in cash don’t forget to tip. When you pay with a credit card tipping has been made very easy: before swiping your card, the display shows you the total amount and an option to tip 20%, 25% or 30%. Click one of the options or alternatively add a smaller tip manually with the keypad.

Lime-green cabs

Manhattan’s 12,000 yellow cabs have been reinforced with lime-green cabs. These taxis are only allowed to pick up customers in the northern parts and neighbourhoods (such as Harlem) of Manhattan and the outer boroughs (The Bronx, Queens & Brooklyn).

New York Taxis - Lime-green taxi next to yellow cabs New York Taxis - Lime-green taxi

Eric’s tip: “Real New Yorkers never tell the taxi driver where they are going until they are already seated in the cab. This is because the cab drivers sometimes don’t want to take you to where you are going. However, if you are already seated in the taxi, then the driver must take you because he cannot ask you to get out. If you see a taxi that has its “Off Duty” sign lit up, still raise your hand to signal to the driver, because sometimes they are looking to pick up passengers who are heading to a location on the way their home route or only travelling longer distances. Between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m., it is very difficult to find a taxi, so keep this in mind if you want to be on time.”

Using Lyft and Uber in New York

Uber and Lyft have become a very popular mode of transport in New York. You can request a car through the Lyft app or via the Uber app. Therefore, booking a car is very easy. Lyft and Uber are also cheaper than yellow cabs. Use this link and receive a $15 discount with Lyft! The credit remains valid for 14 days after creating the account. Download the app a few days before your departure to New York so that you can travel in the city at a discount.

Would you like to ride in a Tesla taxi? Use Revel! It works the same as Uber and Lyft. Download the app here. When you have downloaded the app, use the promo code ERICL4759 to get a 40% discount. Revel has fewer cars, but they are ALL electric taxi cars!

New York Taxis - Rush hour New York Taxis - Yellow cabs

How much is a cab ride in New York?

For a cab ride in New York, you pay an initial charge of $3, $0.70 per 1/5 mile or 60 seconds plus surcharges. Read all about the prices here.

How do I order a cab in NYC?

You simply hail a cab on the street by raising your hand. The middle light on top of the taxi will be on if it’s free.

Is it hard to get a cab in New York?

It’s very difficult to get a taxi between 4 pm and 7 pm.

How do you pay for a cab in NYC?

You can pay in the taxi by cash or credit card. When paying in cash, don’t forget to tip.

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

Uber is cheaper than a yellow taxi in New York CIty. For the real New York experience, I do, however, recommend taking a yellow cab at least once.

Do you tip taxis in NYC?

Yes. In a New York taxi, you typically round up the fare for shorter rides and tip 10-20% of the price on longer rides. Read my tips.

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