Taxi service one of the easiest ways to get around New York City. Taxis run all over the city, and can take you to and from nearby airports. Taxis can take you to basically anywhere in the 5 boroughs. The number of taxi drivers in NYC is incredible, so you probably won’t have too much trouble finding a ride, depending on where you are and what time of the day it is. If the subway and bus system seems daunting, a taxi ride can be a great solution for you. There are over 13 thousand taxis in New York City, with about 42,000 drivers employed.
NYC taxis are the classic yellow cars with the official decals and toppers. There are some green taxis in circulation; but they mostly service areas where yellow cab service is sparse, like Staten Island, areas in Manhattan north of 110th street, and outlying suburbs.
Hailing a cab in NYC can be easy, but be sure that you aren’t trying to catch an unavailable one. If the ID number on the top of a cab is lit, that means they are free for pick-ups. If there is no light, the cab already has a passenger. If the “Off Duty” lights are on, then they won’t accept any riders. To properly hail a cab, first go to the side of the street where the traffic is heading in the direction you want to go. Find a clear area by the street, and wait on the sidewalk. When you see a cab that is available, raise your arm to it and make eye contact with the driver. If it is safe to do so, step into the street a by a foot or so. Don’t yell to the taxi or whistle at it. People only do that in movies.
You, as the paying customer, should be comfortable in the cab. Feel free to ask the driver to open windows, turn on the heater, and change or lower the radio. If your driver is on the phone, even hands-free, you can ask them to hang up. They are not allowed to be on their phones, while driving a cab.
Paying for your taxi ride is easy. You can use cash or credit cards. Most drivers want cash, but it is perfectly fine to swipe your card. If you pay with credit, you should ask for a receipt. It will have the cab’s medallion number on it in the event that you want to file a complaint or if you lose something in the cab. Tipping is customary with taxi drivers. The standard is 15%. If the cabbie helps you with your bags, people usually add an extra dollar or two per bag.
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