Tips for Avoiding Unregistered Taxis and Why You Always Should

illegal taxi

Taxis, or cabs, are heavily regulated by local and state authorities, which is one of the ways they differ from rideshare services. Illegal taxi operations occur all over the country and the world, and it is best to avoid them. There are tell tale signs you can look out for when using a cab.

Most cities around the world have rules and regulations for taxi services operating within their jurisdictions. The requirements demand a standard for vehicles to be safe, licensed, and insured. Local governments have rules for drivers as well. These standards are to ensure the safety of the drivers, the company, passengers, and pedestrians.

taxi meter

Taxis have meters. These are an important part of a taxi because they calculate the cost of the ride. Illegal taxis may not have a meter, and this is important to note the moment you get into the vehicle. If there is no meter, you do not want to ride in the “taxi.” In a legal taxi, meters run smoothly without a problem. The meters in illegal taxis are probably not working properly. Look to see if the meter is present and working properly before beginning your ride.

Many American cities use a medallion system to show the taxi is legal. Taxis without medallions are not legally allowed to accept riders or fares. Cities have a cap and only allow a certain number of medallions to run within their city limits. When looking for a cab, it is important to make sure the cab you’re getting into has a medallion. This is usually in the form of a small plaque on the back of the taxi cab.

taxi medallion

Cabs around the world are different colors. In New York City taxis are yellow. In London, the cabs are black. There are two toned cabs and even tricolor cabs. Cabs rarely vary in color within a city. If you are traveling, it is important to do a little research. Look up what color the cabs will be in your destination city. This can be a small but integral step in avoiding getting into an illegal taxi.

Illegal taxis are on the rise all over the world especially in areas underserved by taxi services. Utilizing an illegal taxi can be a dangerous situation because they are not sanctioned by the authorities. Legal taxis are safe, insured, licensed, and regulated. Without these, you could find yourself in a bind. Illegal taxis do not have fee regulations, which means you will likely pay more money than you would riding in a legal taxi.     

Illegal taxis are sadly functioning in cities all over the world. They can be avoided if you pay attention to small signs around you even before getting into the taxi.

Yellow Cabs Disappearing in NYC

taxi graveyardHave you been in NYC lately? Have you noticed a difference in the types of cars transporting people around? According to a video by Interrobang, the yellow cab is disappearing in New York City and is becoming dominated by rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft.

In Brooklyn, you can see the “graveyard” of yellow cabs parked along the side of the streets. Many of these cabs are full of drivers sitting on the side of the road waiting for people who are looking for a ride. The price of medallions issued in the city has also been in a steady decline in the past few years.

The number of taxi medallions in NYC was 13,587, and since 2013 the value of the medallion has also been in decline since it reached its high point of over 1 million dollars in 2013. The number of Ubers has now surpassed that of yellow cabs in NYC. Some people find the technology of Uber to be more convenient and easier for them to use.

For other people, however, yellow taxis remain their first choice for transportation, and the yellow cab medallion is not dead yet. As Uber expands to highly technological adaptations such as self-driving vehicles, taxi medallion owners will just have to adapt and change to adhere to the current trends in the industry in order to stay alive.

What is your opinion on taxis versus Ubers in New York City? Or anywhere, for that matter? Is the taxi medallion dead? Let us know what you think!

The Ups (and Downs) of the Taxi Medallion


Up until 2013 yellow taxis held a clear monopoly in New York City, and the value of the Medallion grew exponentially from 2009 to 2013. Credit Unions poured their money into investing in these medallions, because they were seen as a highly profitable investment.

However, as Uber entered into the market the value of the medallion took a strong hit. In 2013 yellow taxi medallions were valued at $1.32 million. Since then, the value of what used to be seen as a “golden” investment has more than cut in half. In 2016, the value of the medallion could be worth as little as $650,000!

So, what does this mean for taxi drivers? Many of them struggle to make ends meet and keep up with the competition that Uber and other rideshare companies have created with their e-hailing of cars. Some taxi drivers have switched to Uber, which could potentially offer an increased earning potential, flexible work schedule, and even improved driver safety.

The future is not looking up for the price of medallions, and for the future of the NYC taxi industry. We expect this downward trend to continue to decrease as even more rideshare companies enter into the market and pose a potential threat to those yellow taxi drivers.

The Ups & Downs of the Medallion

The taxi industry has been going through much turmoil in recent months; from dropping medallion prices to rideshare protests to job losses. Take a look at this TaxiFareFinder infographic that outlines the rise (and recent fall) of medallion prices in New York City. The sharp decrease is thought to be caused by rideshare services, so it will be interesting to see the final outcome for medallions, the taxi industry, and the rideshare industry.

Sources: Business Insider | Reuters





Did You Know…New York City Taxi Edition

New York City is known for it’s iconic yellow cabs that dominate the city streets and every scenic view. Yellow taxis have become synonymous with the city and even define the nonstop hustle and bustle of the big apple. We’ve compiled notable facts, figures, and historical tidbits to celebrate the taxi-driven culture of New York City.

There are over 13,437 medallions, the right to run a yellow taxi, in New York City.

There are over 50,000 taxi drivers in New York City.

A typical driver shift is 9.5 hours.

The average number of rides per shift is 30.

The average number of miles driven in a shift is 180.

The average fare is about $6.

The average trip distance is 2.6 miles.

About 99% of all trips are less than 12 miles.

About 20% of all trips are less than 1 mile.

There are over 485,000 taxi trips made per day.

There are over 175 million taxi trips per year.

A typical taxi travels 70,000 miles per year.

Over 600,000 people ride in taxis everyday.

Over 236 million people ride in taxis every year.

The average age of a taxi vehicle is 3.3 years.

Average daily taxi usage is highest in the spring months.

Average daily taxi usage is lowest during the summer months.

Friday December 11, 2009 is the day with the most taxicabs trips between 2008 and 2013.

Taxi usage always dips significantly on major holidays.

About 90% of taxi pickups in New York City occur in Manhattan.

The average tip given to a taxi driver is 18%.

About 1% of taxi drivers in New York City are female.

Each yellow taxi goes through a rigorous inspection process 3 times per year.

Cabs have 18 different sensors, these are all reviewed during the inspection process.

Medallions can be as expensive as $1,200,000.

Over 2/3 of taxi passengers are 35 or under in age.

A cab gets its name from its predecessor, the horse-driven carriage called the cabriolet.

In 1967 all medallion taxicabs in New York City were painted yellow by order of the city.

In 1925 the first woman became a taxi driver in New York City.

There is presently a $200 penalty for taxicab drivers found using their cell phones while operating their vehicles.

TaxiFareFinder used the following resources to compile these taxicab facts and figures:

2014 Taxicab Fact Book & PBS Taxi Facts & Figures