How to Spot a Fake Taxi in New York City

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Taxis in New York have strict guidelines regarding the vehicles and fares. There are several ways you can identify illegal taxis so you avoid them at all costs.

In New York City, there are 13,587 working taxis. Each one of these taxis are legal and displays a medallion. Medallions are a signature of legal taxis in New York City. If there is no medallion on the taxi, do not get in the car.

Taxis in New York City are yellow, but there are also black cars. Both of these transportation services are under strict codes of operation set by the city in order to legally operate. There are different markers for each, but one good way to tell if the taxi you are looking at getting into is fake or not is by looking at the license plate. Yellow taxis will have New York license plates that read “taxi” at the bottom. Taxi license plates and medallions will have matching numbers. That number is formulaic and is a number, letter, number, number. There is almost always a small number after the license plate number. The exception is when SBV follows the license plate number, which stands for Stand By Vehicle. Stand By Vehicles are legal taxis owned by large companies; they are used when a car is out of commission or in need of updating.

Black car license plates will begin with the letter “T” and end with the letter “C” and have a long string of numbers and letters between. Black cars are allowed to have vanity plates. If the black car has vanity plates there will be a T&LC in small letters on the bottom of the plate, which is standard in all black car license plates.

If you are still wondering if you should get into a taxi if it is legal, you can always ask the driver to see some identification. They will are required to have identification. You can also ask to see if they have a map available to them. Taxi drivers are required to have a map on them while on duty; if they don’t they are in violation of the law. Fake taxis are a growing epidemic in New York City, but there are signs to help you avoid them. Look for the medallion and at the license plates. The formula will help you evaluate if it is a legal taxi or black cab in New York City.

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