Getting Around: New York City Taxi Tips

How is it so tough to find a cap with 13,587 taxis on the streets of NYC? Those 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 locations at Grand Central Terminal, Port Authority, the Manhattan Cruise Port, 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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