New York Taxis

taxi is a great way to travel in new york

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.

New York Taxi Prices

The base rate for New York taxis is $2.50, plus a few surcharges of $0.80 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 $0.50 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.

yellow cabs on the streets of new york 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 in order 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 alternative is to take 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 $0.50 extra. Also from Monday to Friday between 16:00 – 20:00, which are the peak traffic hours, you pay $1 extra.

Paying in the taxi

You can pay in the taxi by cash or credit card. When paying in cash don’t forget to tip. When you pay with 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 of Manhattan (such as Harlem) and the outer boroughs (The Bronx, Queens & Brooklyn).

Limegreen taxi next to a yellow one in New York City limegreen taxi in new york

Eric’s Tip: Real New Yorkers never tell the taxi driver where they are going to 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 can’t ask you to get out. If you see a taxi that has its “Off Duty” sign on, 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 their way home or only travelling longer distances. Between 16:00 and 19:00, it is very difficult to get 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 (the same app as in the UK). 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 15 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. I quite often use this service myself, but for the real New York experience, still, recommend taking a yellow cab at least once!

taxis in rush hour in new york taxis in new york

How much is a cab ride in New York?

For a cab ride in New York, you pay an initial charge of $2.50, 50 cents 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.

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