No matter how far away I am I will always be a New Yorker. Cabs are incredibly convenient and easy to use in Manhattan. Here are a few tips and tricks to getting a cab on your next visit to the Big Apple.
Hailing a cab
To hail a cab, stand on the edge of the sidewalk and raise your arm looking in the direction of traffic. Do not whistle, no matter how many times you’ve seen this on TV, it doesn’t work. You’re better off standing on a street corner because you have the possibility of getting a cab going in either direction
Always get out towards the sidewalk.
Even if there is more than one person in the backseat, get out on the sidewalk side.
Sit in the backseat unless you are in a group of four.
Some cabbies are cool with having someone in the front seat, but many are uncomfortable if you are riding solo and sitting up front. Keep in mind; this can be a safety issue for them. They spend all day in very close proximity to strangers while holding on to large amounts of cash. I’d be nervous if I picked up someone and they decided to sit up front too.
There are two types of cabs.
NYC Taxi and Limo Commission yellow cabs (green in Brooklyn) and black livery cabs.
Yellow/Green cabs are metered cabs.
It’s a minimum fare of $2.50 as well as an additional $0.50 charge per 1/5 of a mile. There are also surcharges for rush hour and nighttime rides.
Black livery cabs are fee per ride cabs.
They can be called in advance to order a pickup. I would not recommend using a livery cab on the street if you are not familiar with NYC geography because they tend to over charge for tourists unless you order them in advance via a hotel. If you do hail a livery cab, on the street always negotiate and haggle for the cost of the ride before you get in the car.
Use the medallion to know if the cab is in service.
Every yellow/green cab has a light on top called a medallion. It has a number in it that is the unique ID number of that car. If the light is turned on inside the cab is available. If it is turned off, it means they either have a fare or they’re off duty.
It’s illegal for a cab to refuse to take you somewhere while they are in service.
Some cabbies will tell you they won’t go from Manhattan to the outer boroughs.They have to take you. A tip I use is to get in the cab, close the door and then tell them where you are going. If they try to stop you take a picture of their ID number and call 311 or file a complaint online
Rides from JFK are $52.
If you are coming from JFK Airport, you are in for a long ride with a flat fare of $52. The meter doesn’t need to run and the driver will take you exactly where you need to go without any additional surcharges. If you are coming from an Airport and taking a cab always use a yellow or green cab.
Tip at least 20% of the ride to your driver.
This is customary but not required. However, you will be judged harshly and probably yelled at and called a cheapskate or worse if you do not tip. This is New York; we’re vocal about our needs.