Friday, September 25, 2009

Yellow cabs

When I first came to NYC, I had a tough time knowing when a cab was available. I see tourists dealing with this all the time. There's no point in standing there with your arm raised. It's much better to wait until you see one that's available and then raise your arm.
This cab is available:

This one is occupied (notice its sign is not at all lit up- sorry it's blurry- these cars move fast):

And this guy is off duty:

Some other random info but hopefully useful if you're visiting:

Taxi cabs cannot refuse to take you somewhere if they're available. It happens from time to time that they do, and you see that number at the top of the cab, in the light box? That's written along the side of the cab too, so you can report them should you want.

The only cabs allowed to pick up people randomly are yellow cabs. There are car services that people can call to take them places, but they are not allowed to randomly offer rides. They charge more for one, and also, unlike yellow cabs they don't take credit cards. These guys are often referred to as gypsy cabs, and they have no problem offering you a ride randomly. They also trick people freshly landed into using their "service" and despite all the signs warning against using anything other than a yellow cab, people fall for it and end up getting taken for a ride- literally.

There is also apparently one yellow cab that has a TV show called Cash Cab, and I've been told that it's a trivia type show. If I got into that cab, I would get right back out and catch the next one. I don't worry too much about that though, the statistical odds of ending up in that cab are very low, given the number of yellow cabs in Manhattan (something like 13,000).


  1. God, NYC was so much fun! I wish we could get back and visit, especially since we'd (kinda) know what we're doing the second time around. Just thinking about what it was like to navigate the subway system makes me panic a little, but in a good way. It was exciting. I don't know about cabs, though. I'm sure I'd do it all wroung and everyone would see me for what I am... a completely inexperienced tourist. But, damn it, I could kick a New Yorker's butt on the LA freeways.

  2. Stephanie- I don't think anyone can feel like they know the city unless they live here for at least 6 months. It took two years before I even took a bus (and I discovered I like buses much better than subways because, hello above ground- no stuffy air, no stairs to climb up/down, no death pit aka rails to worry about tumbling into).

  3. LOL @ "death pit"

    You're probably right. I could see where a bus would be preferable. But subways, for a first timer, are frighteningly exciting. We have busses here. We do not have subways.

  4. I love Cash Cab and if you ever get in it, will you promse to call me for a mobile shout out?

    I did not know the thing about only hailing a Yellow cab. Now I'm trying to remember every cab ride I've ever had.


I'd love to know what you think: