Getting Around: New York City Taxi Tips

How is it so tough to find a cap with more than 13,605 taxis on the streets of NYC? Those renowned for-hire autos known the world over by their canary-yellow hue will get you there in a hurry, when you can hail one. Here’s a quick look at how NYC taxis work: It's everything a visitor should know before settling in for a dash across the city.

• Cabs prowl the streets of NYC all day every day. Except for three locations at Grand Central Terminal, Port Authority and Penn Station, there are no taxi stands in NYC.

• The illuminated medallion number on the rooftop indicates when cab is available. To hail it, simply extend or wave your arm skyward—augmented, if you like, with a whistle or by shouting “taxi!”

• Passengers can request any destination within the five boroughs, Nassau and Westchester counties, or to New Jersey's Newark Airport.

• It helps to tell your cabbie the cross streets, if you know them (i.e., “27 W. 44th St., between 5th and 6th avenues”; “888 Madison Ave., between 71st and 72nd streets”).

• Yellow cabs can pick up or drop passengers anywhere. The newer apple-green variety most often serve riders north of E. 96th and W. 110th streets in Manhattan and throughout the outer boroughs—The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

• A cabbie's meter begins, or “drops” at $2.50. In addition to the length of the ride, the final fare will also incorporate:

• --a $.50 MTA state surcharge

• --a $.30 improvement surcharge

• --a $.50 surcharge from 8 PM-6 AM

• --a $1 surcharge from 4-8 PM

• --$2.50 congestion surcharge; as of February, 2019, this applies to trips south of 96th Street in Manhattan

• as well as any bridge or tunnel tolls

• Most cabs accept up to four people. Remember, the fare is per ride, not per person. There should never be an extra charge for more than one passenger.

• You will not be charged for luggage.

• You can pay the fare in cash or with a credit/debit card. Be assured, there is neither a discount for coin, nor a surcharge for plastic.

• It is expected you will tip your driver. When using a credit or debit card before you swipe, you can provide a tip either by using one of the percentage buttons on the screen or type in an amount of your choosing.

• Inside the city, there are no flat-fee fares; every fare is metered, with the exception of trips from JFK Airport into Manhattan (at the moment, this is a flat rate of $52, plus tolls and surcharges).

• Cabs can only be hailed on the street; they can’t be called or reserved in advance. If you prefer to have your transport booked ahead of time, you should consider using Uber or Lyft. You could also choose a private car company, such as Carmel Car & Limousine Service (212-666-6666,; for longer trips, to the airports, etc., as the fees are comparable with most taxis.

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