Taxis, New York City
It's best to use the subway or walk, but sometimes if you can't figure out where you are going and need to get there quick, you may take a cab. What you have heard about NYC cabbies is most likely true. One of ours talked to himself in a language we couldn't identify for the entire ride. I can't say it was cheap, but they did get us where we needed to go.
Can't live with them ("i'm late and need to get to a location 40 blocks away in 10 minutes"), can't live without them ("damn, crazy cab drivers. eh, i'm walking here!").
1. If the numbers are "lit up in yellow" that means the cabbie is free to take a passenger.
Stick your hand in the air and wave. (make sure the little words off duty are not next to the number. Some people don't realize and then get mad when the cabbie does not stop.
2. Don't wave your hand if the lights are not on! The cabbie is not available.
3. They're everywhere. But they change shifts between 4-5pm so it can sometimes be difficult if you are trying to get a cab at this time.
4. It's an automatic $2 or $2.50 when you get in the cab.
5. Taking highways is very expensive, so OPT for local streets. Just let the cabbie know. if they ask you what streets, just say anthing but the highways (unless you're going to the airport or brooklyn.
6. VERY IMPORTANT!!!!! always check that you have NOT LEFT ANYTHING BEHIND in the cab before you step out if it. i.e., wallet, phone, money, shopping bags, umbrella. Who cares if someone else is trying to get in the cab to go somewhere. don't rush. They can wait!
I can't tell you how many stories i've heard of people who left their wallets with their plane tickets in cabs and could either not get them back, or got them back days later (after their scheduled flight).
I had mostly good experience with taxis in NYC. I visited the city for the first time and rode three taxis total. The first two were both ok. Nothing special, tell them where you are going, pay at the end, and tip them 10-15%. For the last one... I needed to go from Midtown to LaGuardia airport and it was 4pm on a Sunday. I stood at 5th Ave & 43th and within 30 seconds, I was able to hail a cab. The driver told me that it's the taxi shift change and that I am very lucky to have found him. At first, he refused to drive me to LaGuardia, but then changed his mind and asked how much I am willing to pay for it. I offered $10 more than what was the standard rate. Then, he drove me first to the place where the taxis change the shift. He then asked me to switch into his personal car, which I did (I did feel a bit uneasy, but judged it to be safe). At this point, I realized that this entire trip is not going to be official, that the driver won't register it and there won't be any taxes paid from it, etc. If I had refused the service at this point, I'd be stranded in some unknown neighborhood, and would likely miss my flight, not to mention upsetting the driver and maybe his buddies at the taxi park too. The driver then drove me to the airport in his personal car, apparently on his way home. At the airport, he asked me to pay before reaching the terminal, to avoid being seen by somebody at the terminal. And I did. He kept repeating how I am so lucky to have found him at this time of the day. I somehow didn't really believe him, but I needed to catch my flight so I played along. He told me how life in NYC is tough and how he makes little money and how it's a difficult place to survive. I don't know the driver's name or number... in a way he made me a favor and made my NYC trip a bit more interesting. So, rememeber that in NYC it's difficult to catch a taxi at around 4pm. I don't understand why this would be the case in this country of supply and demand, but it apparently is the case.
A taxi in New York is not hard to find, I am not sure how hard to hail one down. I can tell you it’s not cheap. I took a picture of the rates and posted it on here. It may not look like much on the rate card but when you see the traffic you will find out how fast time flies.
A couple of points of interest; at the airport there was repeated warnings not to accept unsolicited offers for a cab. Apparently these guys can take you places you do not want to go, or they will over charge or only God knows what else. So I am giving you the heads up. Look for a yellow cab that has a medallion on the hood of it. I took a picture of that for you too.
Here is the interesting point. That medallion is worth $300,000 USD and is like real estate. It is a coveted medallion and probably explains why the rates are high!
Taxis are more important in New York City than in any other city in the country. They provide customized transportation without automobile ownership.
The 12,053 yellow medallion taxicabs are the only vehicles allowed in New York City to pick up passengers hailing on the street or at taxi stands. The taxis are regulated and it gives you a good feeling.
As a taxi rider, you have the right to:
Direct the destination and route used;
Travel to any destination in the five boroughs of the City of New York;
A courteous, English-speaking driver who knows the streets in Manhattan and the way to major destinations in other boroughs;
A driver who knows and obeys all traffic laws;
Air-conditioning on demand;
A radio-free (silent) trip;
Smoke and incense-free air;
A clean passenger seat area;
A clean trunk
A driver who uses the horn only when necessary to warn of danger; and
Refuse to tip, if the above are not complied with.
In the final picture you'll see a bicycle taxi. I am not sure what the rates in these are but it was the first time I seen a bicycle taxi. They were waiting outside the Majestic Theatre when the shows ended.
Getting a cab - it helps greatly if you stand on the right street - If you are in Upper or Mid town and going downtown - just go to the nearest Southward bound Avenue - such as 7th Ave to go down to Lower Manhattan, Soho, Tribecca, East or West Village.
Likewise if you are downtown and want to get a cab to Mid or Up town - go to the largest Northward bound Avenue.
Taxi in NYC is rather expencive and on rush hours is total waist of time.From TimesSquare to SoHo a distance which i walked in about 30 min. the taxi will take 9-13$.
While an unlimited daily pass in subway costs 7$ and can get you almost anywhere you want.
For taxis there is a flat rate to JFK. 45$+tax+tip+tolls.
For 75$ you can get a limo from the airport.
As opposed to some other cities, NY is an excellent "taxi-town."
And you can actually GET a taxi anytime you want
as it seems there are millions of industrious cab drivers all over town who instead of being in a hurry to blow by you on their way home, actually look for fares and make it a snap to get a ride when you are sick of the subway or if some of the stops are closed late at night.
A quick wave of the hand (no need for a "YO! / TAXI!!" or movie-cliche whistle most of the time) and you get one immediately, and the taxi stands actually have more than enough taxis waiting late at night
(ahem, again Paris... just for fun sometime, with your watch, time/see how long it takes a taxi line at a stand near quai St. Michel to move after 2am on a Saturday night .. as opposed to getting a cab in Manhattan ... ok enough whining)
about $30 from (e.g.) Grand Central to LaGuardia; about $50 to JFK; and fares are cheap when you shuttle around different parts of Manhattan. Good stories & conversation too as always, although due to gentrification the days of the friendly native "hack" appear to be long gone.
If you want to know what's really going on in the city, from topics like economic recovery after 9/11 to how money & gentrification have changed the city, it is always good to get the real dirt ( if he speaks enough "street-english" ) from a NYC cab driver.
NYC and San Francisco are my personal alltime-favorite taxi-towns.
The NYC cab system is rather large and proficient. To have the option to just jump a ride when there is a group of you or you are in more of a hurry is great. The cabs are a lot safer than you generally hear and will get you directly to your destination.
I took NY cab all the way from JFK to hotel directly as it was very very late at night and jet lag.
JFK - American Airlines Terminal 9 provide taxi lane and cost you only at flat rate rather than meter. So for us we paid USD49 and entirely up to you on how much to pay tip.
Although New York is a great city to explore on foot we found our best friends were the Yellow cabs. Once we had the confidence to flag a cab down we were doing it all the time. It was a great way of getting from Central Park to say Wall Street in a very short space of time. We found them to be cheap too, although the cab drivers were not too friendly,
Go on, wave down a famous Yellow cab!
Did You Know?
New York metro area is the worldwide transportation standard setter. It has world’s largest subway with over 520 miles served, the world’s largest freeway system in terms of miles, America’s largest commuter rail system, America’s largest train hubs, America’s largest ferry system, America’s largest taxi population, and the world’s 2nd highest traffic multi-airport system with 83 million annual passengers.
If price is not a concern, using a limousine service (usually just a plain old car) allows you to hire a car in advance that will meet you at the airport when your flight is scheduled to arrive. This option is more expensive than a taxi - the trip from JFK Airport to Times Square will run you about $57 plus tolls and tip; the same trip from LaGuardia Airport will cost $47, plus tolls and tip. A few limo services are:
American Dream Car and Limo Service - 212 427 2648
Jaffa Express Limo Service 212 289 7272
Jerusalem Car Service 212 996 2100
You can book in advance or call them from phones at the Ground Transportation Desk.
The simplest way into the city, thoguh certainly not the cheapest, is to take a taxi. The fare from JFK Airport is a fixed rate of $45 to go anywhere in Manhattan, plus tolls and tip. The trip from LaGuardia into the city is a metered one, with fares to Upper Manhattan ranging from $16 to $20, fares to Midtown ranging from $19 to $22, and fares to Lower Manhattan ranging from $22 to $26, plus tolls and tip. Fares from Newark Airport, which are metered don't include toll or tip, cost between $28 to $32 to midtown Manhattan.
There is an authorized taxi stand where a dispatcher directs passengers to the appropriate cab, so have the exact address of your destination handy (it also helps to have cross streets). The meter should read $2.00 at the start of your trip, though there is a 50 cent surcharge for trips commencing between 8PM and 6AM. Though drivers standing in the terminal soliciting travelers may offer better deals, beware: these people are unlicensed drivers. This means that they are not driving a standard yellow cab with a medallion on the roof, and may use unregulated (read: potentially rigged) meters, and are not required to follow the rules and regulations that govern licensed cabbies. Remember to always take your receipt.
Taxis are a very convenient way to get around, particularly at night, BUT NOT DURING RUSH HOUR. Taxis are yellow - anyone who tells you he's a taxi driver in a car a color other than yellow is lying. If the light on teh top of the cab is lit in the middle, the cab is empty and in service. Most hotels have taxi stands, as do Grand CEntral and Penn Station. Hailing a cab yourself is easy enough. Stand just off hte corner,a little bit out in the street, and raise your arm. This is usually enough to get a cab to stop. Yelling "taxi" or whistling is unnecessary - the city is noisy enough as it is. Rate for taxis are:
$2.50 just for getting in
$0.40 for each 1/5 mile
$0.40 for each 120 seconds stopped in traffic.
$1.00 peak surcharge (4pm - 8pm weekdays)
$0.50 additional night charge (8pm - 6am)
Plus, tip in the range of 15-20 percent.
In the back of every cab there is a list of riders' rights, which includes "the right ot a receipt," "the right to be taken to any destination in the metropolitan area," etc. You also have the right to a seatbelt. It would be wise to buckle up, as taxis move fast and allow little margin for error. Taxi drivers sometimes try to rip you off by taking a longer route than is necessary, but if they think you know what you're talking about, they won't mess with you. Know where you're going and try to mention that you'd like to go via a certain street.
Personally, I think NYC taxi drivers are the safest on earth. Granted they don't drive like a tractor in a farm, slow and steady or whatever, but they get you where you need to go in one piece and quickly. And the whole whistling thing, shhh, but I do it! :-)
We took a taxi from the airport to Manhattan...it costed us a flat fee of US$45 plus tolls plus tip (around US$55 in the end I think)... The taxis seem to be fairly quick and there are heaps of them waiting at the airport, although I think a better option is the subway and Skytrain...