Taxis, New York City
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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'.
Some other things you should know about N.Y. City if coming to pay us a visit:
*Contrary to popular believe, N.Y. City does sleeps at night, the people you'll see hanging around the city streets after 3:00 a.m. either are going to some party, come from one, or are looking for one, street hustlers, they will sell you sex, drugs and if the chance arises take your wallet and valuables with them.
*Going to a local bar after this said time period for the most part will put you in contact with the forementioned characters, unless is a bar located within your hotel.
*Yellow taxis, Cabs as we call them, are very picky at this hours, I explain: if you're white or light skinned you should have not much trouble getting one, but if you're black or dark skinned, then you have some serious walk to accomplish my friend, this is very common even during the daytime, if you get snubbed by one of these *#$&^@! then write down the Cab # displayed on the lighted canopy on top their carports and make a report to the TLC they should give him something to ponder about.
*If you happen to go to Central Park in Manhattan, and plan to feed nuts to the local entertainers there The Chipmunks(Squirrels) please do it but don't over feed them!, they will stash their loot and over populate later, and since tourism has it's busy periods, it also has it's low ones, so when food is scarce they fan as far as the local buildings and try to help themselves from people's apartments uninvited, and it's not funny! believe me, and to get rid of them after they know they can shop in your flat, is like battling the cold war all over again, they are very patient, and will hit with military discipline.
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.
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
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.
DEFINITELY, DEFINITELY, DEFINITELY take taxis!! Don't even consider driving around, or you'll be in constant mortal danger. Plus, they have creepy voices in the taxis telling you to buckle your seat belts and stuff.
And possible a must-----a taxi ride in the city! After riding in one, I decided I'd NEVER drive in New York City!!!! THey drive like crazy people! If you're a thrill ride seeker, nothing could be better the a ride through New York City in a taxi!
Never walk along deserted streets. New York is a big city with lots of people so ask yourself why a street would be deserted (bad area etc). Some of the side streets around Times Square can be unsafe at night so where possible get a taxi. Central Park is also particularly bad at night because it attracts alot of drug dealers.