Green is the New Yellow

By Kayla Gonzalez

Green is the New Yellow

Green is the New Yellow
Photo by The Interloafer

The overarching image of New York City is often paired with a yellow cab, but what if we told you that a new apple green taxi was to hit the Big Apple streets?


What are they?
Officially called "Boro Taxis," these new green cabs are meant to reach the outer boroughs that the yellow cabs don’t reach. Until recently only NYC’s iconic yellow cabs were available to be hailed on the street, but in the outer boroughs they were few and far between, and while you could find black livery cabs to pick you up from the street it wasn’t strictly legal. Boro Taxis are the answer to this problem.

Where are they? The new green taxis can pick up passengers anywhere outside of Manhattan (except for the airports) and in Manhattan north of West 110th street and north of East 96th street. Although trips cannot originate in Manhattan (you can only hail one in the outer boroughs), trips can END in Manhattan. Modifications in the vehicle’s GPS tracking system disables meter use beginning in Manhattan to ensure this regulation.

How much? The rates are metered just like the yellow cabs. All taxes, tolls, and tips also apply.


These green taxis first hit the streets of the outer boroughs and northern Manhattan on August 9, and offer promising modes of transportation for those working, living, and visiting the rest of New York City’s boroughs. Twenty percent of the vehicles will be wheelchair-accessible.

New York plans to see an influx of green taxis within the next few months. According to a New York Daily News article, 1,300 permits have been issued so far. The Taxi and Limousine Commission plans to issue 18,000 permits for the upcoming months. Once permits have been issued, these livery cars will be painted green and equipped with medallions, meters, and card machines to make it official.

If you plan on catching these green cabs anytime soon, watch out for the imposters. The Taxi and Limousine Commission recently warned of green-painted vehicles driving without official permits. A surefire way to look out for these imposters is to watch for the lack of meters and credit machines. A New York Times article reported that David Yassky, New York’s Taxi and Limousine commissioner, plans to make a rule against livery car owners painting their cars green in order to stop fraud and lessen confusion. All in all, keep your eyes peeled while getting into these new green machines!

New York International had hoped that the green color of these cabs meant they’d be eco-friendly, but no reports have indicated plans to introduce electric cabs – yet!


Know the cross street of where you are going.
Instead of giving the cab driver the address or the name of a hotel or restaurant, it’s more productive to give them the nearest cross street to your destination. Since avenues and streets in NYC can be quite long, sometimes a specific address is not clearly indicative of where to head.

Know the price. Taxi cab fares and rates are usually displayed right on the driver or passenger-side doors. Cab drivers expect a 10-15% tip on top of the fare, and don’t forget the 50 cent sales tax! The cabs now accept debit and credit cards. The Electric Data Capture machines are usually in the back seats, accessible to passengers and can also be used to tip. The tips are also part of the taxi driver’s salary, so unless you feel that the service was unsatisfactory, be sure to tip.

Lights and medallion numbers: Only taxis with their medallion number (on the roof) lit up are available to pick up passengers. If the lights are off, there is already a passenger on board. Cab drivers end their shifts and are in transition at 4pm, and their off duty lights go on. If the off duty lights and medallion number lights are both on, the cab is not in service.

Airport fees: There is an estimated 52 dollar fixed airport rate from Manhattan to JFK airport and about a 30 dollar flat fee to LaGuardia. These do not include tip or tolls! The meter does not run on this flat rate, and taxes and fees are not applicable. The rate to Newark airport from Manhattan is based on a 15 dollar surcharge on top of the taxes and base fees. Detailed travel and airport information can be found here.

Black or unmarked cabs are not necessarily part of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, and thus do not operate on normal taxi rates – they often don’t keep meters and fare is negotiated ahead-of-time. You are also not expected to tip since normal taxi rates do not apply!

Find out the name and number of your local livery service so you can call for a ride if you need to take a quick trip to the other end of town. Since it’s a flat rate you’re likely to save money – yellow and green taxi rates can skyrocket during rush hour as time spent in traffic increases your fare.


CabSense for iPhone is a popular app. It pinpoints which street corners have a high volume of cabs passing by, and has a helpful built-in whistle feature upon shaking the phone to make hailing a cab easier. 

Get Taxi is a smartphone app available for both Android and iPhone. The app uses GPS to indicate the prospective passenger’s current location, and displays a map pinpointing cab locations. There is also a pay-on-phone option, and the option to reserve a black cab ahead of time - even days before. 

Taxi Magic is an e-hail app with real-time mobile booking, `and integrated alerts and tracking. It also offers a text-booking methodfor those who do not have smartphones.

Article originally published : August 28, 2013