HOW STUFF WORKS
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Quiz: Is the meter running?
by Staff
If you don’t give a thought to that clicking box in that rides up front with the driver, or if you watch the meter obsessively, take our quiz to find out just how your taxi fares get calculated.

Alrighty then! It’s time to hit the road. True or False: Most cabs will charge you just for stepping inside.

  • True
  • False

Why do most cabs use taxi meters?

  • To provide an objective measure of time and distance
  • Because zone systems are too complex
  • Because it’s too hard for the driver to calculate the fare and drive

Why is it important to know how taxi meters work?

  • So you have something to talk about at dinner parties
  • Some cabs require the passengers to operate the meter
  • So you can protect yourself from drivers who may take advantage of you

True or False: Most taxi meters only charge you for the distance you travel.

  • True
  • False

How do taxi meters measure time spent in a cab?

  • The driver enters the time manually
  • They get signals from the official clock of the United States
  • They have internal timers

How do taxi meters measure the distance the cab travels?

  • They use GPS
  • A sensor on the cab’s transmission
  • A sensor on the cab’s front left wheel

How does the meter get information from the distance sensor and the time sensor?

  • Electrical pulses
  • Radio waves
  • GPS

True or False: The meter’s sensors send pulses to the meter at the same rate that the fare is calculated.

  • True
  • False

Why do the sensors send pulses at intervals that are smaller than the intervals at which fares are charged?

  • To get the most accurate fare
  • To charge riders for any partial distance covered
  • To charge the highest fare possible

How does a meter calculate fares for stop-and-go traffic?

  • It calculates based on which is cheaper
  • It calculates based on which is more expensive
  • It mixes the pulses

How much does it cost to go four blocks in a New York City cab?

  • $0.40
  • $1.00
  • $0.20

How much does a minute of being stuck in traffic cost in a New York City Cab?

  • $0.40
  • $1.00
  • $0.20

True or False: There is no extra charge for multiple passengers in a New York cab.

  • True
  • False

True or False: Most cabs charge extra if they have to leave their home cities.

  • True
  • False

What’s the sales tax added to any cab ride in New York City?

  • $1.00
  • $0.50
  • $0.40

What’s a low-tech scam that some cab drivers may try on people unfamiliar with the city they’re in?

  • Taking the long way
  • Tampering with their meters
  • Pretending not to speak English

What’s the best defense against the “taking the long way” scam?

  • Having a smartphone
  • Knowing the general route you want to take
  • Memorizing the layout of any city you visit

In 2010, the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission found a few drivers were overcharging their fares. How were they doing it?

  • They were taking the long way
  • They entered more expensive fare codes into the meter
  • They weren’t using fare codes

How can you tell what the fare codes and surcharges are for the city you’re in?

  • The charges and codes are posted in the cab
  • You can text city hall and they’ll send you the list of charges
  • You can use a smartphone app

If you feel a cab driver has taken advantage of you, what can you do?

  • Call the cab company
  • Call the police
  • Get the driver’s license information, and then contact the taxi commission