Unlike other major American cities, driving is not a convenient or economical way to get from Point A to Point B in the Big Apple. When New Yorkers want a private vehicle, they turn to the 13,000+ yellow taxis, so emblematic of the city.
New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) licenses and oversees the medallion taxis. Ever taxi has a medallion number; the medallion itself can be found on the vehicle’s hood. The medallion number is displayed on the side doors, on the roof light, on the partition between the front and rear seats, and on the receipt. You will need this number if you need to file a complaint or to locate a lost item.
You can hail a taxi by standing at the curb and waving to the on-coming taxis from. Those taxis that are available have the medallion numbers on the roofs lit; when the number is dark, the cab is occupied. When “OFF DUTY” is lit, that is self-explanatory. A taxi cab driver must, by law, drive a passenger to any destination in the five boroughs of New York. Rush hours, 7am to 9am and 5pm to 7pm, and when it is raining, taxis are scarce; as well in the late afternoon, around 4:30pm, when one shift ends and another begins.
By law the maximum number of passengers allowed in a taxi is four. When three passengers fill the backseat, the fourth passenger can sit up front.
Fares are determined by a meter, activated when the taxi ride begins. Meters charge by a combination of distance and time. Any tolls (bridge, tunnel, etc.) are added to the metered fare. Tipping taxi drivers is customary. Always get a receipt from the driver. Drivers are not permitted to use cell phones or any kind of hands-free device while driving; but they do.
Heavy traffic, construction, double-parked vehicles, and street closures contribute to slow taxi rides, thus driving up the fare. On the rare occasions when I travel by taxi, I like to ride in one of the hybrid models.
Click on this link, Taxi and Limousine Commission, for lost and found questions and other taxi-related information.
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