Riding a cab in New York is a tricky business. Though it's one of the main parts of the city's public transport
, that doesn't make it any easier. From hailing one off the street to making sure you pay the right price, there's a lot to stay on top of when you're riding that iconic yellow cab. And if it's your first time here in Big Apple, it's even more nerve-wracking! So to help you out, here are a few tips and tricks you ought to remember. Trust that they make all the difference when you're commuting in New York City!
Know The Cab Colors
First things first, it bears noting that not all New York cabs are yellow. Though the iconic taxis in the city are famously sunshine-hued, there are also a few green cabs that roam around the streets. And unless you plan on only traveling outside of Manhattan, you shouldn't ride one when you're commuting. The yellow cabs are the taxis that go to all the different neighborhoods in New York
, encompassing all five boroughs. The green ones, however, only travel within Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. They never reach Manhattan, even if you asked them to!
Look at The Rooftop Numbers
When you're hailing a cab off the street, always look at the rooftop numbers. If they're illuminated, it means there's no passenger aboard and you can get it yourself. If it's not, this means that the cab already has a customer. Now, you'll need to keep your eyes peeled because sometimes, especially when it's particularly bright outside, you won't be able to tell if the number is illuminated or not. So if it's too confusing, you'll just have to wait until the cab gets close enough that you can see if there's a passenger inside or not.
Step Off on The Street
Most of the time, staying on the sidewalk isn't enough. Since many streets and roads in New York are lined with parked cars, the cab drivers won't be able to see if you're trying to get their attention. Your best bet is to actually go to the street and raise your hand as high as you can. Do be careful on where you stand though because New Yorkers are notorious for driving fast and at times, even recklessly. Before you head out to the street gauge how far you can go so that you don't risk getting hit by a car.
Tips Aren't Mandatory
In all honesty, tipping your cab driver isn't really mandatory. There's no rule that says you have to leave a tip, especially when you're commuting on a tight budget as it is. It has simply become the norm over the years and many cab drivers will expect you to give it at the end of the ride. If you can, leave a tip that's 10% to 15% of the entire fare. However, this only applies if the driver took you directly to your destination. If they took long detours to get you to where you need to be without any good reason, you don't have to leave a tip. You can determine this if you used a navigation transportation app
during the ride.
Be Wary of Bridges and Tunnels
Since most New York cabs run on a meter, you can already tell how much your ride will cost even before you go off. However, there are some instances where you'll be charged additional fees on top of the metered fare. This mostly applies to when you pass through tunnels and bridges. Though the additional amount varies depending on the cab driver, just know that when your route involves passing through tunnels and bridges, you'll have to spend a tiny bit more than what the meter shows. Don't worry! The difference isn't always that big!
Airport Cabs Have Fixed Rates and Additonal Fees
When you're going to and from the airport via a cab in New York, know that they also impose additional fees. Not to mention fixed rates too. For instance, if you're traveling from the John F. Kennedy International Airport to Manhattan, the fixed rate is $52.00. However, you'll also have to pay tolls, surcharges, and a tip on top of that. There are also airport access fees for when you get picked up at LaGuardia and Newark airport, which is $1.25. It's $2.50 for both drop-off and pick-up services and the additional charges also apply here.
Do note that many of the cab drivers in New York are foreigners. There's even a good chance that they don't speak a word of English too. So in order to communicate with them properly despite the language barrier, always speak clearly. Make sure they understand where your destination is, whether it's your New York luxury home
in the next block or it's a totally different district on the other side of town. You need to be patient as well considering that the driver might have a hard time understanding you. There's nothing worse than an agitated cab driver in New York!
Riding a cab in New York can be trickier than you think. From taxi fares to speaking with the driver, you never know how complicated the process can get. So always remember these helpful tips the next time you take a cab in the Big Apple!