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How to Hail a Taxi in New York City

Does the thought of hailing a taxi in New York City scare you? I have to admit that I was fairly intimated by the prospect. I am no New Yorker and was afraid I would look like a real tourist with no idea how to catch a New York City cab.

But, after spending a week in the Big Apple, we learned it’s no big deal — easy as pie!

How to Hail a Taxi in New York City via @GotoTravelGal


How to Hail a Taxi in New York City

We used cabs quite a lot to get from place to place to save our poor legs from even more walking. We rarely paid more than $12 for all four of us to get to our destination.

That is about the same or slightly less than the cost for all four of us to take the subway and it saved the hassle of buying four Metro tickets, figuring out where the station was and walking from our station to the destination.

New York City taxi interior
Inside a New York City taxi cab

This is literally door-to-door drop-off. I highly recommend it! Here’s what to do, step by step.

1. Find a Busy Street

I know, is there a street in New York that ISN’T busy? At least, find one with plenty of cabs going by. Intersections of major streets are a good place to start.

We spent one Thanksgiving eve desperately waiting for a cab in the freezing cold after a dinner cruise, so I’m here to tell you it IS possible to end up on a non-busy street ;-). 

2. Stand on the Correct Side

Ideally stand on the side of the road where the cabs are going in the direction you want to go. This will save you slightly on the fare if they don’t have to go around the block to get going the right direction.

3. Find a Pick-up Spot

Pick a spot where they can pull over to pick you up and make sure you are NOT in a city or tourist bus pick-up zone (you’ll see signs if you are).

4. Get Their Attention

Simply raise your arm as you stand at the curb.

A gal at EVEN Hotels Times Square South suggested putting your first two fingers together with arm raised.

5. Quick Get In the Taxi

When the cab pulls over, quickly hop in so as not to hold up traffic.

6. Give Them Your Destination Address

Tell the driver where you are going; a specific address is most helpful instead of the name of the hotel, etc.

7. How to Pay

New York City taxi payment
Pay with a credit card, using a machine like this.

Each cab now has a screen on the back of the front seat that is a little TV with news of the day running. When you reach your destination, it will cue you to pay at the credit card machine above. Select Debit, Credit or Cash (yes, you CAN pay with a credit card!).

If paying with Credit or Debit, run your card through the card reader. Pay with Chase Sapphire Preferred (this is my FAVORITE travel credit card; read my full review here) and earn double points for travel expenditures!

8. Tipping Your Taxi Driver

Select your tip. It suggests 20%, 25% or 30%. Select whether or not you would like a receipt and you’re done! So easy!

Here is more info on hailing a cab from the New York City tourism bureau. Good luck!

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4 thoughts on “How to Hail a Taxi in New York City”

  1. wow, max $12 bucks!! It can take $20 buck any day simply getting out of your busy street and crossing couple of blocks in traffic.


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