Thursday, January 17, 2013

GET LOST: A New York Tour Guide's Guide to New York #12e


For anyone who doesn't know what this means, a livery cab is a little nicer than the basic yellow cab. It can be a short limousine, but most often it's a plain black town car. Most people who would use one are super wealthy and will have one dedicated to them for their entire stay or will call ahead to reserve one for specific trips, particularly from and to the airport. I believe they have a plaque showing their certification, but they will always have "Livery" on their license plate. Do not get into any car without the livery license plate, ever. At best it may be a gypsy cab with questionable ethics, and I won't bother to describe the worst-case scenario.

The reason I mention them here is that while a livery cab driver is waiting for their reserved customer to eat dinner at a restaurant or whatever, they may drive around looking for additional fares on the side. From what I've heard, they're technically not really supposed to do this, but I don't fault a person for doing what they can to make a little extra money. You gotta do what you gotta do, right? I assume most people who hire them for an evening expect the driver to look for other fares when they're free to do so. If you're on the street trying to hail a yellow cab, one of these drivers might pull up to ask where you need to go. If it's a short enough trip, the driver may offer to take you. You can certainly take advantage of this and pretend you're a celebrity when you get out at your destination. [For the record, actual celebrities don't hire big, obnoxious white Hummer stretch limos. They take town cars so they'll be less conspicuous.]

It's a nicer ride than a yellow cab, so expect to pay more. Ask how much it will be and agree on a price before getting in. Otherwise, the driver can charge whatever he or she wants and you're out of luck. Usually they'll ask for around double the price for a normal cab, which in my opinion is a waste of money unless you're truly desperate. Another regular yellow cab will likely come along in less than a minute, anyway.

On average, a yellow cab should be about one dollar for every two to four street blocks, and about a dollar or two for every avenue block. For instance, a ride straight downtown from 50th to 20th Street in moving traffic should cost about six to eight dollars including the tip. The livery driver will likely ask for twenty to twenty-five dollars. There's nothing wrong with haggling them down. For that trip, in my opinion, much more than fifteen dollars is not worth it, no matter how nice the car is.

©2013, Ryan Witte

12f. Hansom Cabs and Pedicabs

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