Taxis, New York City
"All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets." - Travis Bickle
Watching movies like Taxi Driver or Serpico you'll be reminded of a time when New York had a justified reputation for being a crime capital. Drug wars, mafia killings, six murders a day - muggings were so commonplace they were just the price you paid for living in the Big Apple.
But it looks like Travis Bickle got his wish - for New York is no longer awash with scum. It's a world away from the Mean Streets of Martin Scorsese 1973. Walking from Upper West Side down to the Financial District there was only one stretch of Broadway, from 33rd Street to Madison Square Park that felt even a little edgy.
With a murder rate on a par with many European countries, New York is a much safer place than when a lonely Robert de Niro drove his yellow cab through the dark nights of 1976 New York.
"You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talking... you talking to me?"
Sometimes yellow cabs are cheaper. They tend to charge a standard rate. However, make sure you look at the meter because once I went into a cab where the person was racist and tried to add $5 extra dollars to the fare. When I told him that I know how to read he started to say that is why he does not like Black people. Mind you the guy who was of another race was darker than us.
Non-yellow cabs don't always use a meter. They charge you based on how you dress and where you are going. If you look like you have money they will charge you alot. If you are going to an expensive neighborhood in Manhattan they may charge you more than those who are going to the Bronx which may be further out.
Your best bet is to take public transportation during non rush hours 10:30am - 2:00pm, 4pm-4:30pm and 7pm-5am. If coming from airport take the shared van service, or one of the local buses or trains
Newbies and tourists to NYC, do not travel around the South Bronx on your own in the late evening or night AT ALL. Better still do not travel around with jewelry, cash, bags or anything else that's likely to get stolen. Once it starts to get dark get out of the area as soon as you can. Ladies do not go to the area at night wearing short or tight garments. The area is well known for prostitution and drug/gang violence. If you are there at night you'll notice that the streets are empty because the residents know that it's too dangerous outside. If you haveot go to the area take a cab, make it wait for you then get right back in it and get out of there. Do not walk the streets thinking you're cool and that nothing wil happen to you. Tourists stick out like a sore thumb. You will either et robbed, heckled, has things thrown at you from moving cars or worse still shot for no reason other than you should have known not to go there at night.
There are people who pose as taxi cab drivers and will park near the taxi stand. If you get in their vehicle they will ask you for more money than the regular cab ride and may not necessarily take you to your destination either.
When at the airport go to the ground transportation stand. Let the attendant get a service for you. You do not have to pay extra.
Also in places like Brooklyn and Queens you have dollar van services which really cost about $2. Many of them are rude and like to over pack their cars with people. Take the bus instead.
Surprising for the world's most famous passenger ship, you are left to your own devices once it docks at Pier 90 on the Hudson River.
Most destinations on most cruise ships have courtesy buses linking ship with obvious city centre points of interest. ...This facility does not exist when the world's best ship visits one of the richest and most famous cities on Earth! ...You're either at the mercy of NYC's notorious taxi service, or you walk through the rather unsalubrious streets around W.50th Street to get to Broadway, where people give you a "What are you doing in our area?" look.
Apparently Cunard now use a new facility in Brooklyn and I can see why. I can only guess the new arrangement is a big improvement.
By the way, I visited Manhattan on FRED.OLSEN's Black Watch ship in October, 2007: they DO provide a shuttle bus from Pier 90 AND they stay in port overnight, giving you 2 days to explore New York.
The photo accompanying this tip is not in the 'dodgy' area.
When you arrive in New York, the first thing you will think of is riding a taxi, especially if it is your first time or you are lugging huge trunks and cases.
If you must ride a taxi, know beforehand where you are going and your preferred route based on the map. You can purchase maps or get AAA maps or print out your route from maps.google.com from the airport to your NYC destination. Be ready with the address because the taxi dispatcher from the airport will give you a printed sheet of paper on how much you will pay the driver inclusive of tolls and baggage fees (gratuities not included). Then be the one to lead the driver where you will pass. Pay him what's on the paper given to you plus your tip of no less than 10%. No more should be demanded.
I would advise everyone NOT to take the taxi, but ride the Super Shuttle instead at $15 per person, or catch the bus if you are going upper Westside. That way, you will save a whole lot of money, no less than $50 for the whole trip.
I must say i felt very secure in NYC and almost never scared. Just to know there are police cars and officers almost everywhere.Some people seemed to dislike this fact, but for me it was ok.
The only place perhaps in a little scary and only after dark,is MeatpackingDistrict.
Perhaps you all have heared about this place who used to be what its name says...
The point is, there are all the new bars and restaurants who are real musts.
Like Buddha's Bar, Buddakan, Morimoto and many others.So i recomment you to go with a taxi straight to your place and and then wait right outside of this place for another.
Also if you have to walk try to avoid small and dark streets.
I was in NY the year before Twin towers. One taxi driver Black cab picks up English and other foreign women rapes and murders then, he gets you into his cab and locks the doors. A reliable source told me this.
tWO YEARS PREVIOUS TO MY VISIT HE WAS AROUND, THE YR BEFORE MY VISIT HE WENT UNDER COVER.
when i was there i came out of a club, a black cab driver slowed down and asked me for a lift, i said no but he was very insistant. I could not even look at him i knew it was the man. Womens intuition i felt so scared. This is a message to all women out there.
i did not go to the police as i did not get the numer plate or look at his face. But my intuition told me this was the guy.
I pray to god that the police catch this man.
I am not sure how many victims there have been, please make sure that you are not one of them.
If you're coming in to Penn Station, you may find yourself in a really loooooong line for a taxi. As you wait, some guys in street clothes, (usually working in pairs), will nicely offer to hail you a cab. As they are holding your luggage and the cab stops at your feet, one of them will ask for a tip. Though it may seem convenient, these guys are not working for anyone but themselves. Just stick it out in the taxi line, or walk a block to another corner and hail your own cab. Hailing a cab is free in NYC!
When getting into a taxi cab, although usually they are quite safe, (I consider NYC taxi drivers some of the best, although many will supposedly disagree with me. I mean, they get you where you need to go and there are very rarely any taxi cab crashes!) please take the following precautions:
Take down the cab driver's medallion number just in case you leave something the cab, you can have the vehicle tracked down. Or if the driver harasses you, you can report him. You can't do anything about the cab unless you know something about it.
Read your rider's rights. You are fully entitled to everything listed there.
When in the cab, pay attention to your belongings and where the cab is going. If the driver knows you are not from around here, they will take the long way around, i.e. taking local routes during rush hour or using the West side high way or the FDR (east side highway, I guess you would call it) at late nights when it would be cheaper taking the West Side or FDR during rush hour and local routes late nights.
Try to familiarize yourself with the area, talk to local (you can try me, for instance!) about routes, and ask if you think you're going the long way around. Most of the time, the drivers are honest. They know when there are parades or street fairs, where the detours are, etc. However, use common sense and speak out if you think there's a problem.
New York City Taxi Cabs change hands anywhere between 3:30pm to 4:30pm. It is almost impossible to get one during these times!
Then between 4:30pm and 5:30pm all the businesses let out and you'll be fighting with a three piece suit for a cab. By the way, the three piece suit will win over the tourists anyday. The cabbie will think he is getting a bigger tip.
Plan your activitiy around those times; take a cab before 3:00pm or after 6:00pm. Of course, you can use our wonderful subway system. ;) But that is a horse of another color!
Don't expect to be using traffic lights in NY, everyone else doesn't and neither do the Taxi's.
Every road is ' which taxi can get out the quickest, who can swear the most and who has the loudest horn'.
OK NYC is a big city and while its easy to find your way around during the day time at night you can get a bit diorientated if you travel to any new places. This happened to me as I found myself coming out of a cinema at around 12am and then trying to figure out where I was. Finally when I got to a subway station I had to figure out the way home.
The subway timtable during the night is a bit confusing as some train stop some places others don't and they're pretty infrequent. I found my self a bit confused (and I was stone cold sober!). Anyway I got chatting to some other passengers to get some help and they contributed in me catching a train to Queens at now 1am in the completley wrong direction that I needed to go!
I'm telling you this story because you hear some bad things about NYC and I don't think much of it is warranted. These guys were actually heading up to the Bronx which was sort on in my direction so not only had they got me going the wrong way, so had they!
Anyway to cut this long story much shorter they decided the least they could do was to make sure I got to my hotel safely as it was now getting even later. I think I arrive home at aroun 2.30am and those guys were so funny that I forgot how late it was. We chatted about lives in our respective cities and I was amazed how these twney and thiry somethings had never been out of New York state!
So a couple of things, make sure you know where you are and how to get home. If you're out late have some money for cab. If you are going to take the subway at night make sure you know the route to take. If all else fails make the most of it and make some freinds!
When departing Grand Central Terminal or Penn Station be very careful of anyone pretending to work for a taxi company. They will tell you that they will get you a cab or even that they're a "taxi dispatcher". But it's all a con.
Their goal is to get an outrageous tip from you (such as $20+) or even to steal your luggage.
Under all conditions, once your luggage is loaded in the trunk, make sure that it is securely closed.
Watch out for the taxi touts that wait by the arrivals exit just before the taxi rank.
They will try to say that the taxis don't go wherever you want them to go (In our case Manhatten!)
The Taxis will indeed go there and are licenced.