Taking a taxi in NYC

Old Jun 12th, 2007, 04:33 AM
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Taking a taxi in NYC

Any advice on taking cabs in NYC? Most of our travel will be on the subway, but there are a few places we'll probably need a taxi.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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Not sure exactly what your question is, but I'll try and give a few pointers. There are THOUSANDS of taxis in the city and thousands of service cars. Taxis have meters and service cars don't.

To hail a taxi stand on a corner in the street and put your hand up. An available taxi will have a light on, on the top of the car illuminated with the specific number of that taxi, (the liscense plate number). If the center light is not on the taxi is either taken or out of service and heading home.

Standing at a corner means you have a better chance of getting a car from 2 directions.

For some unknown reason 5:00pm is when there is a shitft change so it can be difficult to catch a taxi around then.

If a car pulls up to you with out lights and offers a ride, ask how much to your destination before you get in. Those are service cars and do not have meters.

Hope this helps a bit.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 06:58 AM
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When you need a taxi, you can stand on any street and attempt to hail one. There are no officail taxi stands. You will probably find more taxis available on avenues rather than side streets. Your fare is metered, based on distance and waiting in traffic time. (Trips from JFK are a set fare.) Tipping is appropriate and expected.

A yellow cab, the official taxi of NYC, has a light in the center of its roof. Using this light, you can determine if the taxi is available. In the center of the light, there is a number that is the cab's license. To either side of the number are the words OFF and DUTY.

= If the center number is lit, the taxi is empty--no passenger--and it can stop for you.

= If the center number is dark, the taxi is occupied.

= If the OFF DUTY is lit, the taxi is Off Duty and on its way back to the garage. However, the taxi may stop and ask where you're going. According to the regulations, the taxi can take one fare after it goes off duty, as long as you are going in the direction the taxi is headed. So it is perfectly OK for an Off Duty taxi to refuse to take you someplace.

Around 4-5 PM, most taxis go off duty for a shift change, so it can be difficult to find one.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 07:38 AM
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A small pointer, try to hail a cab that is heading in your general direction - it saves time. For instance, if you are heading downtown, hail on the side of the street that has traffic heading in that direction.
There are posted cab lines outside of Penn Station and at the airports. The larger hotels have a cab line also.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 07:47 AM
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Here's what I have learned about taking a taxi in NY:

NY is all one-way streets. If you are taking a taxi south, walk to a south-bond street to hail your taxi. This will save you not only money, but a huge amount of time as the taxi will not have to make its way around a block to head in the opposite direction. This may sound like a small thing, but going around the block in NY traffic can literally take a half hour at certain times of the day.

Map out where you are going and figure out if you can hop out of the taxi at a particular corner and then walk a block or so to your final destination. This, again, is often so much easier, quicker, and cheaper than having the taxi go around a block to drop you right at the front door.

If at all possible, use the subway to get near your destination and then take a taxi the rest of the way. This will again, save time and money.

Don't ever count on getting a taxi if its raining in NY.

Don't ever count on getting a taxi post-theater in NY in the Theater District.

Know that taxis to and from the airports will have additional charges not on the meter -- toll charges.

Always add addtional time to your itinerary if you are taking a taxi to your destination. Midtown NY traffic is the worst. It will always take much longer than you think. Knowing that -- it is perfectly acceptable to "bail out" of a taxi, pay the accumulated fare, and walk the rest of the way to your destination if caught in traffic and late.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 08:05 AM
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ok- thanks for the tips. How expensive is it travel in a cab? Hypothetically, Penn Station to Radio City Music Hall on a Sunday Afternoon...
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 08:22 AM
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just curious, why don't you consider walking? It's not that far, like maybe 16 blocks...
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 08:31 AM
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Is it OK to turn on the air conditioning switch without asking the driver? It was hot on the ride from the airport and I did flip in on, but the driver made a comment (not rude) like he was giving me permission.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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Why not just ask about the AC?
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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Penn Station to Radio City might cost $7 or it might cost $10, depending on how fast the traffic is moving and how often you have to stop for lights. If traffic is very slow, we now have significantly higher charges that can make a trip literally $3 for a few extra blocks. You pay 40 cents every time you slow down for more than a minute (in NYC, some lights are that long, so just think about how a lot of traffic lights can affect even a short trip).
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 11:13 AM
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In the cab the passenger controls the heat, AC and radio. Just tell the driver - poiltely - what you prefer.

Meter drop is $2.50 with an additional 40 cents per 1/5th of a milke plus waiting time (based on speed of cab). There is a nightime (8pm to 6am) surcharge of 50 cents and a rush hour (M-F 4-8pm) surcharge of $1.

Passengers also have to pay toll if any. I was always taught to tip 20% - but I know some people give 15%.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 06:30 PM
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Oh - and don;t stand on the sidewalk and wave unless there are no parked cars or traffic. Often there are more people looking for cabs than there are to go around - so you need to take a couple of steps out into the street (not the driving lane, but the parking lane) to make sure they see you.
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