“Taxi!” – a line in every movie set in NYC, ever.
American tradition glamorizes these bustling yellow babies: know-it-all drivers, falling in love in the back, and winning $350 on Cash Cab. Sadly, once someone steps foot into what’s occasionally more like a yellow diaper, the perception dies. Just look at the words conjured when the word “Taxi” is heard:
With all of the negativity surrounding cabs, why do we continue to be customers? Convenience? Conversation? Cataclysmic conditions?? If you’re looking for actual adrenaline-filled activities, they’re here. But if a cab’s all you can handle, here are a few taxi lessons you need to know.
Look to the Lights: We’re going to start with the obvious. To hail a cab, you need to know which cabs are available. Now, there’s no need to whistle, hoot, holler, yell, fist-pump, jump, snap, or scream crap. Look to this chart:
Reveal your destination…after you’ve shut the door: Cabs were built for Manhattan. Wait, nobody ever said that. Although most cabs are capable to take you to Bushwick or Astoria, very few drivers oblige. Instead, they crack the window, ask for your destination, and continue driving if it’s not to their approval. This is illegal. Remember that. Rarely does it work this way. Unless the cabbie is traveling home for the night, your request from LES to Astoria will rarely be granted. It’s best to confidently hop in, and, once the cab starts rolling, reveal the location. Not much he can do after that point.
Never hail a cab at 5 p.m.: Leaving the office and ready to head home, you take to the streets to hail a cab. None. Not one. It’s barren. Finally, there’s scientific evidence backing this urban legend. The explanation is steeped in NYC taxi economics. With each cab holding two drivers a day, each working a 12-hour shift, taxi owners schedule shift changes so each shift gets a rush hour—more money for each driver. If rap’s taught us anything, it’s “Mo money, mo problems.” In recent decades, most cabbie garages relocated to outer boroughs, so, now, to switch, cabbies are driving into Long Island City for their 5 p.m. changeover, leaving fewer cabs on the road between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
A cab will never, EVER, stop in the rain: More demand, be damned, this sucks.
Never Upstream…unless you’re in a rush:
If you upstream, make sure the other party can’t see you…or you can’t feel the glares.
Taxi Drivers know the best cheap eats: Don’t fear the driver like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. Ignore the mumbling up front and confront. Know where to find the most authentic Haitian dish? Where’s the best deal on Egusi, a delicious Ghana stew? $4 curry? Your cab drivers know these hotspots. Whether you’re in search for a pre-brunch breakfast, a post-brunch lunch, or an after-work snack, cab drivers frequent these tasty, low-cost locales.
Puke in the cab and pay up to $50: Of fluids expulsed in a cab, vomit may be the worst offender—chunky, adheres to carpet, smells. In recent years, cities have begun to institute a “vomit-fee.” In NYC, some Vimbliers have conflicting reports regarding the “Standard Rate”—some say merely $20. Cabbies generally have a sixth sense for the pukers, and, after midnight, they may apply their own sobriety tests to hailers. If you puke, you pay.