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Taxis Tales & Urban Legends: Part 1 of 5 starting with the Big Apple

Published: 28/07/2014 - Filed under: Home » News »

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Recent headlines have drawn travelers’ attention to a spate of labor actions by cabbies in cities all over Europe. They’re protesting the introduction of the high-tech startup Uber, which bills itself as a “transportation network company.” The taxi drivers see Uber and other disruptive ridesharing technologies as a threat to their traditional livelihood. Cabbies contend that such app-based services have an unfair advantage because they’re not subject to the same fees and regulations placed on conventional taxis. 

In fact, taxicabs and the people who drive them are very much a product of their urban environments. Thus the quality – and the cost – of a cab ride can vary wildly from city to city from Zurich to Shanghai. So the editors of Business Traveler Magazine around the globe have compared notes from our common cab ride dramas to round up the best and the worst taxi experiences in the world.

Over the next 5 days, we will give you the low down on how to get a taxi in cities across the world.  We’re starting in the Big Apple. 

NEW YORK

BIG YELLOW TAXI

The models may change, but Yellow rules: Yellow Cabs have plied the streetscape of Manhattan for over a century.

What and Where? You can’t miss them, on the one hand because of their bright yellow color and on the other hand, because they are so numerous. New York taxis – Yellow Medallion Cabs – are the ideal way to get around in Manhattan. They are operated by private companies and certified by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. You’ll know the official taxis by the medallion, a large metal plaque affixed to the hood in plain sight.

How Do You Get One? Taxis seem to be ubiquitous on Manhattan’s streets, so you should be able to find a cab in short order (unless it’s raining). They have three lights on the roof; when the middle one is lit, that means the ride’s available – if it’s dark, they already have a fare or are off duty.

How much? As you get in the cab, you’ll notice the meter already shows the basic fare of $2.50. Thereafter, each 1/5 mile (at 6 mph) or every minute of wait time or slow going costs an additional $0.50. There are also various fees for night fares or tunnels and bridges. Airport trips will make you dig a little deeper into your pocket: To JFK International airport the official flat fare is $52 plus tolls and tip. From Manhattan to Newark International the total is the amount on the meter plus $17.50 and all tolls for bridges and tunnels both out and back. For the trip to LaGuardia you pay what’s on the meter. It’s best to have cash; while most cab drivers accept credit cards, not all do. And don’t forget to tip – usually 15 to 20 percent. You’ll find the website taxifarefinder.com/rates offers good guidelines.

What’s Not to Like? When it rains, New York streets descend into chaos – and getting a taxi well nigh impossible. So you can either duck into the subway or stand in the downpour waving a large wad of cash… But all jokes aside, a good option is Taxi Magic, an app for android and iPhone that allows you to easily book a cab in advance.

For details visit nyc.gov/html/tlc.

Part 2 in the series will look at London: Keep Calm and Carry On. 

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