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.
Just hailing and getting into a cab will cost you, even if you don’t go very far. In most U.S. cities, this charge will run you about $2.50.
Why do most cabs use taxi meters?
Most cabs use meters to protect both the passenger and the driver, since meters provide an objective measure of the time and distance traveled.
Why is it important to know how taxi meters work?
If you know how taxi meters work, you’ll be able to protect yourself from the very few unscrupulous drivers out there.
True or False: Most taxi meters only charge you for the distance you travel.
Most taxi meters charge you for both the distance you travel and any time spent stuck in traffic.
How do taxi meters measure time spent in a cab?
Taxi meters use internal timers to charge passengers for time that passes while the cab is stuck in traffic.
How do taxi meters measure the distance the cab travels?
A sensor on the cab’s transmission tells the meter the distance the cab has traveled. It works similar to a car’s odometer.
How does the meter get information from the distance sensor and the time sensor?
Both the distance sensor and the internal timer send electrical pulses to the meter so it can calculate the fare.
True or False: The meter’s sensors send pulses to the meter at the same rate that the fare is calculated.
The sensors generally send pulses to the meter at a faster rate than the fare is calculated. For example, if a fare is calculated based on each 100 yards traveled, the pulses signal the meter at every yard.
Why do the sensors send pulses at intervals that are smaller than the intervals at which fares are charged?
Sending pulses at smaller intervals allows the meter to mix the pulses for time and distance to get the most accurate fare.
How does a meter calculate fares for stop-and-go traffic?
The meter mixes the pulses that it gets for both time and distance, so the driver is compensated for both.
How much does it cost to go four blocks in a New York City cab?
It costs $.40 to travel four blocks, or one fifth of a mile (0.3 kilometers), in a New York City Cab.
How much does a minute of being stuck in traffic cost in a New York City Cab?
It costs $.40 for one minute of idle time in a New York City Cab.
True or False: There is no extra charge for multiple passengers in a New York cab.
There’s no charge for extra passengers in a New York cab, but D.C. cabs charge an extra $1.50 for each additional passenger.
True or False: Most cabs charge extra if they have to leave their home cities.
Most municipalities allow for cabs to add surcharges to fares if they leave the city limits.
What’s the sales tax added to any cab ride in New York City?
The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission attaches a $.50 tax to all cab rides in the city.
What’s a low-tech scam that some cab drivers may try on people unfamiliar with the city they’re in?
A very few unethical cab drivers will pad the fares of unsuspecting people by taking the long way.
What’s the best defense against the “taking the long way” scam?
Know the general route you want to take is the best way to keep from falling victim to the “taking the long way” scam.
In 2010, the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission found a few drivers were overcharging their fares. How were they doing it?
Drivers were entering more expensive fare codes into the meters – in some cases, they were charging people twice as much as they should have.
How can you tell what the fare codes and surcharges are for the city you’re in?
Most cities require that a full explanation of all fares be posted in the cab – check the description and you’ll have a general idea of how much you should be charged for a ride.
If you feel a cab driver has taken advantage of you, what can you do?
The best way to deal with the small minority of unethical cab drivers is to get the individual's driver's license information. It should be displayed in the cab. Use it to contact the city’s taxi commission.
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