Taxi cabs are both loved and hated by New Yorkers. They serve as a quick and easy means of transportation across Manhattan, a route not amply served by the subways. The downside with having an abundance of cabs is the traffic that results. Most traffic-jams in mid-town are speckled with many of the over 10,000 yellow cabs that service the city.
Hailing a Cab
The act of flagging down a cab is called "hailing"; there's not much to it, just stick out your arm and pretend you're the Statue of Libery. When the numbers on the roof of the cab are lit, it is available. Yellow Medallion cabs are the only ones authorized to pick up hails. Avoid "gypsy" cabs at all costs. These are regular cars that will take you from place to place; they usually cost more than cabs and aren't as well regulated (or as safe).
Taxi cabs are required to take you to your destination inside the metropolitan area. Record the ID number from any cabs that you have problems with and report them to the Taxi and Limousine Commission
Cabs take both cash and credit/debit cards. If you're paying cash it's a good idea to have small bills because the cabbies can't usually break anything higher than $20. While cabs are relatively expensive for a single person, they can actually be a bargain with 3 or more riders. The rates for taxicabs are as follows (last updated 2010):
Pay only what's on the meter, plus a 15-20 percent gratuity. There are additional charges for crossings outside the metropolitan area and New Jersey. Passengers are required to pay one way. If you are going to airports, there are set fees plus toll and tip. See our airport pages for more specific information on how to get to and from the airports.
Officially, taxicabs can take on only four riders -- 3 in the backseat, 1 in the front seat. Occasionally, the wider cabs will be willing to take 5 people, but they will usually ask the fifth person to duck down below the sight of the authorities. The famous large "Checker" cabs are pretty much a relic of the past, although you can still see some servicing the town at limousine service rates.
Taxi and Limousine Commission
To file a complaint or report lost property, call the TLC at the following number: (212) 692-8294.