NYC Taxi

From Taxi Fares to General Guidelines about NYC Cabs

JFK AirportTransportationNYC Taxis

NYC Cabs: Overview

NYC cabs aren’t just a means of transport. When thinking of New York, the image of a yellow taxi almost instantly comes to mind. Thus, a NYC taxi ride is more than a way of transfer. It is an actual experience.

You can easily spot NYC cabs, thanks to their distinctive yellow color and the taxi sign on their roof. All taxis display their medallion license number (the unique number indicating their legitimacy) on their roofs and their side doors as well. Yellow cabs circulate all over New York without restrictions, providing premium services at prices that aren’t affordable for sure but aren’t considered prohibited either, at least when compared to other big cities’ taxi fares.

On the other hand, you may spot some green taxis too. Nevertheless, green taxis can pick up passengers only in North Manhattan (above E 96th and W 110th St.) and in outer boroughs. Still, they can drop them off anywhere in the city.

NYC Taxi Fares

NYC cabs are metered, providing services charged via a taximeter based on the traversed distance and the trip’s duration. Explicitly their tariffs are formed as follows: 

  • the initial fare is 2.50$/2.50€.
  • the charge per 1/5 mile (0.30km) is 0.50$/0.50€ per minute in traffic, when the vehicle is stopped or when traveling above 12mph (19km/h).
  • the MTA State Surcharge for trips with destinations inside New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, the Dutchess, the Orange, or the Putnam Counties is 0.50$/0.50€.
  • the Improvement Surcharge is 0.30$/0.30€.
  • the extra cost for night rides (08:00 pm to 06:00 am) is 0.50$/0.50€.
  • during rush hours (04:00 pm to 08:00 pm), passengers have to pay an additional 1$/1€ (but not on weekends or public holidays).
  • the Plus New York State Congestion Surcharge for transfers to or through Manhattan (south of 96th Street) is priced at 2.50$/2.50€ (2.75$/2.75€ for green taxis).
  • no extra fees apply for luggage.

The toll fees are also to be paid by passengers. What’s more, tipping the driver for the provided services isn’t a rule, but it is a common thing. In fact, New Yorkers give a 15% of the total fare for fair rides and 20% for premium services. 

The above-mentioned prices concern transfers inside the city limits. In those cases, the taximeter should indicate “Rate #01 – Standard City Rate”. For trips outside New York City, the NYC taxi fares are higher. Nevertheless, it is customary for taxi drivers to negotiate the cost before starting the ride. For intercity journeys, the taximeter’s indication should be “Rate #05 – Out of City Negotiated Flat Rate”.

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NYC Taxi Payment Methods

You can pay for your NYC taxi ride either in cash or via debit/credit cards. All taxi drivers are obligated to accept both payment methods. However, if you want to cover all bases, you should carry some cash with you -in case the card machine is broken-, and preferably, in small bills (your driver may not have enough change). Please keep in mind that NYC taxi drivers must report any card machine damage and fix it within 2 days. Thus, if this is not the case, you have the right to report it yourself, by calling 311. No matter the preferred payment method, you should always ask for a receipt. The driver’s data and the unique medallion number of the vehicle are written on the receipt. This info can be proven extremely handy if you have forgotten something inside the cab or in case you want to file an official complaint. 

Our Tip 1: Please note that for over 25$/25€ NYC taxi rides, passengers have to sign the receipt paper. 

Our Tip 2: When using a card, you can add the tip to your card payment.

How to Hire a Taxi in New York

Apart from the iconic hailing from the street (a “standard” scene in almost every movie set in New York, you can hire your NYC taxi from one of the official city’s taxi ranks. Alternatively, you can order it via phone or SMS or by using the relevant app.

NYC taxi drivers are obliged to transfer you to your required destination. They can’t choose rides. However, it is recommended to let the driver know of your journey’s end as soon as you enter the vehicle and not before that. At that moment, the driver can’t deny you the ride.

NYC Taxis to JFK Airport

Catching one of the around-the-clock yellow NYC taxis to JFK Airport is one of the most comfortable alternatives for your transfer. You can hail a taxi from the street, head to the nearest taxi rank, or order one just to be safe, as during rush hours, finding a NYC taxi can become a hard task. In any case, the ride from Manhattan to JFK costs a flat fare of 52$/52€. However, extra charges raise this price to 65$-75$/65$-75€. When heading to the airport, the on-screen message should be “Rate #2- JFK Airport”. On the other hand, if your departure point is outside Manhattan, your ride’s cost will be calculated via the taximeter.

Useful Information about NYC Cabs

  • NYC taxis can handle up to 4 passengers (minivans up to 5). Children up to 7 years of age can be placed on the lap in the rear seat.
  • When all the lights on the taxi’s roof are off, you can assume that it is busy. On the contrary, if only the center light is on, the taxi is available. Finally, when all lights are on, the particular taxi is off duty. Still, you can try to hail it, as drivers tend to take passengers heading near their whereabouts.
  • Tipping isn’t obligatory. However, for premium transfer services, passengers usually give their driver a 15%-20% tip (depending on the quality of the ride).
  • If you want to be certain about your transfer’s surcharges, you can ask your driver before beginning the ride.
  • It’s ok not to give the driver the exact address but to just name the nearest intersection and show him the way from there.
  • When the weather is rainy, a NYC taxi is hard to find. Moreover, the high NY traffic levels can raise the ride’s duration and price. Hence, on rainy days or during peak hours, it is recommended to use the subway.
  • At night, you should avoid taking the subway. Due to maintenance services, its routes often change, making its use a lot more complicated.
  • Ride-sharing services, such as Uber, are also present in New York.
  • NYC taxi drivers aren’t allowed to use their cell phones while driving.
  • If you are planning on making multiple stops on your way, keep in mind that the driver will charge you once for the overall ride. However, if coming from JFK Airport to Manhattan, you’ll pay the 52$/52€ set price to the first stop, and from that point on, the taximeter will start calculating a new trip.


How do I pay for NYC taxis?

NYC taxi drivers are obligated to accept payments in cash or via credit/debit cards, no matter the sum that is owed. However, if you choose to pay in cash, you should carry small bills with you.

How do I get a cab in NYC?

You can take your NYC cab from the street or find the nearest taxi stand. Alternatively, online or phone booking is another option. Still, if you are in a hurry, you should take into consideration that during peak hours or when the weather is bad, finding an available taxi vehicle can become time-consuming. 

Do you tip taxis in NYC?

You aren’t obligated to tip your NYC taxi driver. Still, tipping is a common thing when the provided services are efficient. In fact, New Yorkers usually give a 15% for fair enough rides and a 20% for pleasant transfers. On the other hand, non-satisfactory trips lead to no tipping at all.