Taxi cabs in New York City number well over 12,000. Those in the know about New York will be the first to admit there’s a love-hate relationship with taxi drivers. You can’t live with ‘em, and you can’t live without ‘em, so the saying goes. A large number of the cabs frequent Manhattan. Due to it being an island, it’s not easily accessed by the subway.
Hail, hail, the gang’s all here
Hailing a cab is easy. Just stick out an arm, kind of like a scarecrow, and shake it. Or, maybe like in the movies…just give a loud whistle and yell, Taxxxxxiiiiii. The yellow Metropolitan cabs are the only cabs authorized to pick up hailers. Even when calling on the telephone for a cab, the gypsy companies should be avoided at all costs. They are not as regulated and not as safe, and they usually cost more. A gypsy cab can be recognized because it is not yellow and usually looks like any other car.
A cab is available for hire if the numbers on the roof are lit. New York City cabs are required to pick-up passengers when this light is on. If ever a problem arises with a driver or a taxi, record the ID number off the side of the car and report it to the Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Anyone who is in New York for any length of time knows it’s a good idea to keep a good amount of small bills and change in their pocket. Taxis only accept cash, and usually can’t break a bill over $20.
The reading on the meter is the only amount required of a passenger. It is customary, however, to offer the driver a 15-20% tip for his service. Crossing outside of the Metropolitan area, or New Jersey requires an additional fee. There are also set rates, plus tolls and tips, for driving someone to the airport.
- $2 for initial fare.
- $.30 additional fee for 4 block area.
- $.20 for each idle minute.
- $.50 night time surcharge from 8PM until 6AM.
- Additional riders go free.
Taxis can officially only carry 4 passengers, 1 in the front and 3 in the back. Some drivers with wider cabs, however, will stretch it to 5 passengers. When they do, the fifth passenger is usually asked to hunker down so not to be caught by the authorities.