New York City Taxi Tips and Hints

Getting a cab

It's easy to hail a cab in New York. Simply stand at a street corner, and hold your arm straight out. Empty cabs have their numbers on top of the cab illuminated, while occupied cabs do not. It can be tough to tell in the direct sunlight, but it's very easy at night; either way, don't worry, an empty taxi will pull up quickly! Remember that if the Off Duty lights are illuminated, the cab is not working--don't try to flag it down!

Personally, I like to walk to a street or avenue that is going the direction I want to head in, and stand at the appropriate street corner, before I hail a taxi. So if I'm at 26th St (which heads east) and 6th Ave (which goes north), and I want to go to 14th St and 8th Ave, I'll either walk over to 7th Ave (south) or 25th St (west). I doubt it makes much difference, but it's nice to walk.

Taxi stands are available at many hotels and major destinations like the airports and Penn Station. Don't try to hail a cab driving by at the airport--you have to use the stand with everyone else. Likewise, don't accept a ride from anyone inside an airport claiming to be a taxi driver--use the taxi stand.

Remember that taxis in New York are yellow, and have a TLC (Taxi and Limousine Commission) medallion on their hood.


Tipping your cab driver is customary in New York, but not mandatory. However, if you got to your destination safe and sound, be kind and give your driver a 10, 15 or 20 percent tip, depending on how good you felt the level of service was.

Rides outside of New York City only covers rides inside of the five Boroughs of New York and to Newark airport. Trips outside the city are a flat rate, as negotiated between you and the driver. Since they must return to the city to work, they'll typically offer the ride for about double of what the metered fare would be.

Trips to Westchester and Nassau counties are similar, in that the entire ride is metered, but the portion outside the city limits is doubled to compensate the driver for the return portion of his trip. Be aware of when you leave the city limits, and pay attention to the meter to know the proper fare.

Know your rights

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission has excellent information on all aspects of riding a taxi in the city, and links to the Taxicab Rider Bill of Rights. The highlights: air conditioning on request, free use of the trunk, and a driver that knows the streets of Manhattan and major destinations in the other boroughs.

Be sure to always take your receipt, as it has the taxi's medallion number on it. This can really help if you forget something in the cab!

Other information

Don't smoke in the cab--it's illegal! And always be sure to wear your seatbelt! City-wide, you can call 311 for a variety of services, including to file a complaint about a taxi, or to get help recovering a lost item. Finally, it's your right to specify the route that the cab takes, so if you'd prefer the Manhattan Bridge to the Brooklyn Bridge or whatever, just let your driver know.



Back to the fare estimates



Is this information useful to you? Write to Mike and let him know! is not responsible for the accuracy of the information provided, nor for the results of the use or misuse of it. All fares provided are estimates only, and actual fares may be more or less than estimated. Displayed routes are also estimates, and may vary depending on traffic and other conditions.

This site, its layout and content are copyright 2007 by Mike DeGraw-Bertsch. All rights reserved.