Yellow cabs are rarely in short supply in New York, except at rush hour and during unpleasant weather. If the center light atop the taxi is lit, the cab is available and should stop if you flag it down. Get in and then tell the driver where you’re going. (New Yorkers generally give cross-streets rather than addresses.) By law, taxis cannot refuse to take you anywhere inside the five boroughs or to New York airports. Use only yellow medallion (licensed) cabs; avoid unregulated "gypsy cabs." Taxis will carry up to four passengers for the same price: $2.50 plus 40¢ per fifth of a mile or per minute idling, with an extra 50¢ charge (a new state tax), another 50¢ from 8pm to 6am and a $1 surcharge during rush hour (Mon–Fri 4–8pm). The average fare for a three-mile ride is $9–$11, depending on the time and traffic.
Cabbies rarely allow more than four passengers in a cab (it’s illegal, unless the fifth person is a child under seven). Not all drivers know their way around the city, so it helps if you know where you’re going. If you have a problem, take down the medallion and driver’s numbers, posted on the partition. Tip 15–20 per cent, as in a restaurant. All taxis now required to accept major credit cards. Always ask for a receipt—there’s a meter number on it. To complain or to trace lost property, call the Taxi & Limousine Commission (212-227-0700, Mon–Fri 8am–4pm) or visit nyc.gov/taxi.
Where to catch a cab
Late at night, cabs tend to stick to fast-flowing routes. Try the avenues and key streets (Canal, Houston, 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th, 72nd and 86th). Bridge and tunnel exits are good for a steady flow of taxis returning from airports, and cabbies will usually head for nightclubs and big hotels. Otherwise, try the following:
Chinatown Chatham Square, where Mott Street meets the Bowery, is an unofficial taxi stand. You can also try hailing a cab exiting the Manhattan Bridge at Bowery.
Lincoln Center The crowd heads to Columbus Circle; those in the know go to Amsterdam Avenue. Lower East Side Katz’s Deli (Houston Street, at Ludlow Street) is a cabbies’ hangout; also try Delancey Street, where cabs come in over the Williamsburg Bridge.
Midtown Try Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Soho On the west side, try Sixth Avenue; on the east, the intersection of Houston Street and Broadway.
Times Square There are 30 taxi stands: look for the yellow globes mounted on poles.
Tribeca Cabs head up Hudson Street.The Tribeca Grand (2 Sixth Avenue, between Walker and White Streets) is another good bet. Car services Car services are regulated by the Taxi & Limousine Commission. Unlike cabs, drivers can make only pre-arranged pickups. Don’t try to hail one, and be wary of those that offer you a ride.
The following companies will pick you up anywhere in the city, at any time, for a set fare.
Dial 7 212-777-7777