How to Get Around New York City: Exploring Taxi Cab and Car Service Options August 23 2017

NYC Taxi

When visiting New York City, many people find joy in walking slightly into the street, raising their hand and hailing an iconic Yellow Cab.  Once in the car, they tell the driver where they want to go and then they are off to their destination.  Then the cabbie is paid and the next adventure begins.  While that method still works in New York City, there are other ways of getting around that might be more convenient for travelers, especially those who do not wish to worry about having to fumble with credit cards or cash at the end of their ride.  There are many methods, including ones using traditional Yellow or Green Cabs that make getting around New York very easy.  The team at has made this easy for you.  We are going to tell you about some of the services available including New York Yellow cab apps, Arro and Curb, as well as popular options Uber, Lyft, Juno and Via so you can plan make car trips easier. 

Note:  there are many other private car companies in New York City, but for the sake of this blog, we will just be covering the options listed above.

General tips for all car service apps in NYC

surcharge pricing uber

All of these methods of transportation involve downloading free apps. Here are a few tips that work for all of them.  First, you go to the app store and chose the car service or services you wish to use while visiting New York City. Downloading the app is just the first step.  You must add in your contact and payment information for it to be fully set up prior to using. Something to note is that GPS location access is often requested prior to joining and can present some challenges to people before they arrive in the city.  All of these apps show you where a driver is on GPS, so you can determine whether or not this is your best option. Unless you are in no hurry, seeing a ten minute wait time may be reason enough for you to explore a different option. After downloading the app, add in your preferred payment information and you are ready to go. Formal destination addresses are not always required as most apps will recognize the name of popular NYC sites and restaurants by name. 

Note: these apps are upgraded regularly, so check on them before you use them to make sure you will not experience any delays due to having to wait for an upgrade.

Here is more information on some great car services available in NYC:


Arro and Curb Taxi Apps

The Arro and Curb apps are virtually the same. These services are different than the other car services as they are connected to the official city cabs of the area. With these apps you can do two different things: first you can find an empty local cab and have it go directly to you and have the payment arranged or you find any yellow or green cab on the street, enter a special code featured on the screen and you will be paired to the app so you can pay while you are already in a cab, so you will not need to worry about paying at the end of your ride. Curb serves 65 cities and Arro services NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and Houston, however the passcodes and the rates are the same for both.  These apps are constantly praised for having the fastest arrival times.  Customers appreciate that there are no hidden fees or expenses associated with these apps.  The rate is the standard rate of the city and it is displayed on the cabs ticker.  After you download the app, you can add in your payment information, enter your preferred tip amount, between 15 and 25 percent is customary, and you are ready to go. Something different about these is that you do not have to add in your destination.  That can be good a good thing if you have multiple stops or you know your final destination may change while you are en route.  While these apps may not be the most economical, they are the most reliable, and as they are associated with the city in question, the rates are transparent.  Many people find these options to be the safest as all drivers connected to these apps are fully licensed and insured, as well as fingerprinted and tested.  Note that coupons or promo codes are generally not available for these services as their rates are set by the city.

Tips for other popular car services


Now, all the rest of the apps have coupons and sales promotions available.  First time riders can get credits for at least one free or a significantly discounted ride.  If you choose to share your experience about them on social media, you may be eligible for additional discounts.  Each riding option has its own deals that are subject to change, so be sure to check out their websites prior to your trip to see if any information has changed or if there is any deal that you may wish to use.

In fact, if you are looking to save money, you can do a little research on the current promotions available and use the discounts presented at many of these companies so you can enjoy less expensive rides and try out the different options for your trip to NYC.

One thing that can be potentially irritating about all car services is the possibility that they will cancel.  While there are no guarantees, if a car is less than five minutes away, the less likely it will cancel.  Tips are not immediately included in the remaining car services we have reviewed, so be prepared to either have a little cash on hand for extraordinary service or upon completion of your trip, when you are asked to rate the driver, you may be asked if you want to add a tip.  That is up to you, but tips of good service usually are between 15-25 percent. Some drivers are all about the customer experience so you may find some who supply water, candy or phone chargers to use along the ride.  If you know you that it is your preference to take a car rather than public transportation such as the subway or buses, you may want to be sure to download more than one of these apps, enter your information and have them at the ready.


uber app

Uber is one of the most popular and far reaching car service apps around.  It operates in more than 630 cities worldwide and can be accessed from a smartphone app or the mobile website.  With Uber, there is usually a car available, but it may not be the kind of ride you are seeking.  In New York City, there are six options:  UberX: economy cars and a baseline fare of $2.55 with $0.35 per minute after that; UberXL: bigger cars and a base of $3.85 with $0.50 per minute; UberBlack for luxury sedans have a baseline of $7 with $0.65 per minute; UberSUV has a base of $14 and with $0.80 per minute; UberTaxi (not the most economical option) flags down a local cab for you; and UberPool which connects a few riders going the same direction with a $2.55 baseline and $0.35 per minute that is split between the riders.  The latter has a special offer from 7-10am and 5-8pm on Mondays through Fridays $5 flat fee per person in Manhattan below 125 Street.  

Uber also does something called Dynamic or Surge pricing which means that the higher the demand for the cars, the higher the rate will be.  This higher rate could be multiplied to more than 10 times the original price of the ride.  While you are forced to confirm the extra pricing before they will send the car, it can get very expensive.

While Uber is the most common and convenient car service app, it often is not the favored one as their prices can vary due to surge pricing and not every kind of car is available when it is needed.  However, for those who travel frequently, Uber is almost everywhere and once you have the app downloaded, you can use it anywhere in the world where there is Uber service. 

Uber drivers tend to have good reputations for being polite and efficient, and all utilize GPS.  That is both a blessing and a curse as some drivers may not know the city, especially the outer boroughs as much as a trained New York City cab driver.


lyft new york

Lyft has been growing in popularity with both drivers and passengers and is a formidable competitor with Uber.  The baseline charge is $2.50 with $0.35 per minute or $1.79 per mile.  They do have a minimum fare of $8 and they sometimes have extra charges at high demand. Lyft does not have as big a fleet of available cars as does Uber, but cars are usually available in Manhattan.  It is not as likely to find available cars in the outer boroughs or some northern areas of the city, but it tends to be reliable and customer satisfaction is typically rated very high. Lyft is especially good at enticing customers with coupons or pre-purchased saving options. 


juno rideshare app

Juno is relatively new in NYC.  It just absorbed Gett, a popular car service that had been known for $10 trips anywhere in Manhattan below 125 Street, in a merger and has really good deals to get people to try the site.  As Juno is new, it seems like it has fewer cars available than their competition, thus the wait time can be longer than the rest.  However, there is no surge pricing and unlike the other options, they have a 24-hour help hotline.  The rates are comparable to Uber and Lyft.  Drivers seem to like Juno as they take a lower percentage of their money and have stock buying options for employees to keep them interested in staying with them.  While Juno is in its infancy the outlook looks promising.  Happy employees usually translates to happy customers.  This is a good option for people who not only want to get somewhere efficiently for a reasonable price, but it also makes customers feel good to give Juno a try because it is building a reputation for treating their employees with respect.


via rideshare app

The ride share Via is less like a taxi and more like an almost personal bus.  These economy cars pick up a max of two people per ride and at a flat prepaid fee.  In order to use Via you must purchase credits in $25 increments.  If you are a regular user, the credits are automatically reloaded when you drop below $10.  Via is not 24-7.  It operates from 6am-midnight during the week, 10am-midnight on Saturdays and Sundays 10am-9pm in Manhattan below 125th Street.  This is not door to door service.  It will pick you up at a local corner and drop you off within a couple of blocks.  This service is good for people who generally know there way around the city and do not like public transportation.


When you decide which car services work best for your needs, download the app or bookmark the page, check it soon upon arrival in New York City, but know that by preparing in advance you have multiple options.  Also, make sure you have important addresses and phone numbers written down or on you just in case.  Happy travels from the team at New York Nightlife.