3 Tips for Using a Taxi in New York City

If you have a vacation planned to visit New York City, then you may want to experience the excitement of taking the taxi. However, if you want to feel safer and more comfortable taking a taxi, then you may not be sure about taxi riding etiquette. Keep reading to learn about a few tips.

Do Not Smoke

If you are a smoker, then you may be used to smoking in your own vehicle. However, this is not something you can do in a taxi if you are a rider in New York City. In fact, New York City has a number of laws that prohibit you from smoking in a public places. These laws include the NYC Smoke Free Air Act that was passed into law in 2002 and went into effect in 2003. The law states that individuals cannot smoke in public spaces, and this includes taxi cabs. In 2013, the law was extended to include electronic cigarettes. 

If you do happen to light up in a taxi, then the driver can ask you to exit the vehicle or put out the cigarette. A police officer can even be called to your location and a ticket may be issued. If you want to make sure that your taxi ride is enjoyable, then do not light up in the taxi. Not only can you get a ticket, but it is rude if your taxi driver does not want to be subjected to second hand smoke.

Be Prepared to Pay Extra

If you take a taxi in New York City, then you should be prepared to pay some extra fees for the ride. This means that you should have more than enough money on hand to pay for the ride in full. This does not mean that you need to pay in cash. You have the right to pay for your ride with a credit or debit card, and this option must be offered by the taxi driver. There is no minimum monetary requirement for using your credit or debit card. You can use your debit card for the tip as well. You have the right not to tip the driver, but a tip is customary. In general, a 15% to 20% tip is recommended. If the driver helps you with your luggage, then an additional $1 to $2 should be provided.

Not only do you need to think about the ride fare as well as the tip, you also must pay for tolls. Most taxis will use an E-ZPass and the toll fee will be added to the meter. Some tolls may be as much as $10 or $15, so do not be surprised if the meter increases by this amount when you go over a bridge or go through a tunnel. 

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

You may have an image of taxi drivers speeding through the streets of the city while cutting off other drivers. While New York City may be a city that is plagued by aggressive drivers, it is both rude and dangerous to ask the driver to speed or hurry. Not only do you have the right to get to your destination safely, but so does the taxi driver. Most drivers will understand the traffic patterns and the possible congestion issues that may plague the city that day. They also are in constant contact with the taxi dispatcher who will provide closing, accident, and other traffic warnings. This means that your ride will likely be as quick and as safe as possible.

With all of that in mind, New York City is number five in the United States when it comes to bad traffic. Most drivers in the city regularly experience a 20% increase in traffic times. This means that a fairly simple trip from Manhattan to JFK airport can take an hour or longer. Make sure to prepare for these sorts of delays when working with a taxi service