At, we use AI technology to assist in the creation of our content. However, we want to assure our readers that every article undergoes a rigorous review and fact-checking process by our human editors before publication. Our goal is to provide accurate, helpful, and valuable information to our audience. Despite our best efforts, if you come across any inaccuracies or errors in our content, please reach out to us at [email protected], and we will promptly address the issue.

Hailing a yellow cab in the bustling streets of New York City is practically a rite of passage. As you slide into the backseat and state your destination, your mind turns to an important question – how much should you tip the driver?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: aim to tip NYC taxi drivers 15-20% of the total fare. Tipping less than 15% is considered stingy unless the driver was rude or provided very poor service.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about tipping etiquette for NYC taxi drivers.

You’ll learn about the history of tipping cab drivers, average fares and typical tips, tipping habits of locals vs tourists, whether to tip in cash or add to the credit card payment and more.

With all this information, you’ll feel prepared to tip the appropriate amount next time you take a taxi in the Big Apple.

The Origins of Tipping Cab Drivers in New York City

Tipping cab drivers has become a customary practice in New York City, but have you ever wondered how this tradition came about? Let’s take a journey back in time to uncover the origins of tipping cab drivers in the Big Apple.

Custom of tipping horse carriage drivers in the 1800s

The tradition of tipping in New York City can be traced back to the 1800s when horse-drawn carriages were the primary mode of transportation. Wealthy individuals would often tip their horse carriage drivers for their services.

This act of gratitude and appreciation for a safe and comfortable ride eventually translated into the taxi industry.

This custom of tipping horse carriage drivers continued until the advent of the automobile and the subsequent rise of the taxi industry.

Advent of the automobile and taxi industry

With the introduction of automobiles in the early 1900s, horse-drawn carriages gradually became obsolete. The taxi industry emerged as a convenient and efficient mode of transportation in New York City.

As taxis became more popular, customers started to extend the practice of tipping from horse carriage drivers to taxi drivers.

Tipping was seen as a way to show gratitude and reward drivers for their service, especially in a bustling city like New York where navigating the streets and dealing with traffic can be challenging.

How tipping culture for cab drivers became standard practice

Over time, tipping cab drivers became a standard practice in New York City. It became ingrained in the culture and expectations of both drivers and passengers.

Tipping is seen as a way to acknowledge good service and to supplement the income of taxi drivers, who often rely on tips to make a living wage.

Today, tipping is considered an essential part of the taxi experience in New York City. Although there is no fixed percentage for tipping cab drivers, it is generally recommended to tip around 15-20% of the total fare.

However, it’s important to note that tipping is ultimately discretionary and should be based on the quality of service provided.

Typical NYC Taxi Fares and Tip Amounts

Average cost of a 5-10 minute NYC cab ride

For a 5-10 minute taxi ride in New York City, you can expect to pay an average fare of around $10 to $15. This can vary depending on factors such as traffic, time of day, and the distance traveled.

It’s important to note that these fares are just estimates and may differ slightly from one trip to another.

Average cost of longer 30+ minute rides

If you’re taking a longer taxi ride in NYC that lasts 30 minutes or more, the fares can range from $30 to $50 or even more.

Again, this can vary based on factors such as traffic conditions and the distance covered.

Keep in mind that these are approximate figures and the final fare may differ slightly.

15% tip on average fares

When it comes to tipping NYC taxi drivers, the general rule of thumb is to give a 15% tip on the total fare. For example, if your fare comes to $10, a 15% tip would be $1.50.

Tipping is customary and appreciated by taxi drivers who rely on tips as a significant part of their income.

20%+ tips for excellent service or difficult rides

If you receive exceptional service or have a particularly challenging ride, it is customary to tip more than the standard 15%. In such cases, tipping 20% or even more is a generous gesture to show your appreciation.

It’s important to reward drivers who go above and beyond to ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride.

Note: It’s worth mentioning that these tipping guidelines are general recommendations and can vary based on individual preferences.

Some people may choose to tip more or less depending on their personal experiences and satisfaction with the service.

Do Locals and Tourists Tip Differently?

When it comes to tipping NYC taxi drivers, there is a noticeable difference between how locals and tourists approach it. Factors such as familiarity with the city, cultural norms, and personal experiences can influence the tipping habits of these two groups.

Locals tip less on short rides

Many locals in New York City have been using taxis for years and are familiar with the customary tipping practices.

On shorter rides, locals tend to tip less compared to tourists. This is because locals are more likely to view shorter trips as routine and may not feel the need to tip as generously.

However, it’s important to note that this is not a universal rule and some locals still tip generously regardless of the trip duration.

Tourists often tip more generously

For tourists visiting the bustling streets of New York City, taking a taxi is often seen as a quintessential experience. As a result, tourists may be more inclined to tip their taxi drivers more generously.

Tourists may feel that tipping is a way to show appreciation for the service provided and to ensure a positive experience in the city.

Additionally, tourists may be less familiar with local tipping customs and may err on the side of being more generous to avoid any social faux pas.

Drivers rely on tourist tips during slower seasons

New York City experiences fluctuations in tourism throughout the year, with certain seasons being busier than others. During slower seasons, taxi drivers often rely heavily on tips from tourists to supplement their income.

The higher tipping tendency of tourists can make a significant difference for drivers during these periods.

It’s important to remember that taxi drivers work long hours and often face the challenges of navigating busy streets and dealing with demanding passengers.

Tipping generously can go a long way in supporting these hardworking individuals and helping them make a living.

Tipping in Cash vs Adding to Credit Card Payments

When it comes to tipping NYC taxi drivers, one of the decisions you may face is whether to tip in cash or add the tip to your credit card payment. Both options have their pros and cons, so let’s take a closer look at each.

Cash tips preferred but cards acceptable

Traditionally, cash tips have been the preferred method of tipping for taxi drivers in New York City.

This is mainly because cash tips are immediately accessible to the driver and do not involve any additional processing fees.

When you tip in cash, you can hand the driver the exact amount you want to give, ensuring that they receive the full tip without any deductions.

However, it is important to note that many NYC taxi drivers now accept credit card payments and tips.

Adding the tip to your credit card payment can be a convenient option, especially if you don’t have cash on hand.

Just make sure to check if the taxi you’re riding in accepts credit card payments before relying on this method.

Make sure to add card tips at the end of the ride

If you decide to add the tip to your credit card payment, it is crucial to remember to do so at the end of your ride. Most taxi drivers expect their tips to be added to the total fare on the credit card machine.

If you forget to add the tip or mistakenly select a lower tip amount, it may be difficult to rectify the situation later. Therefore, double-check your tip amount before finalizing your credit card payment.

Cash tips incentivize better service

While both cash and card tips are acceptable, it is worth mentioning that cash tips can incentivize better service from taxi drivers.

Since cash tips are immediately available to the driver, they can serve as a direct reward for providing excellent service.

Cash tips can also create a more personal connection between the driver and the passenger, as it allows for a direct exchange of gratitude.

It is important to remember that tipping is a way to show appreciation for the service provided by taxi drivers.

Whether you choose to tip in cash or add the tip to your credit card payment, make sure to consider the level of service you received and tip accordingly.

Ultimately, the decision between cash and card tipping depends on your personal preferences and the availability of payment options during your ride.

General Etiquette for Tipping Your Cab Driver

Tipping your cab driver is an important part of etiquette when it comes to using taxi services in NYC. By tipping your driver, you show appreciation for their service and hard work.

Here are some general guidelines to follow when it comes to tipping your NYC taxi driver.

Tip more for excellent service

If your taxi driver goes above and beyond to provide you with exceptional service, it’s customary to tip them more than the standard amount.

For example, if your driver helps you with your luggage, offers friendly conversation, or takes an efficient route to your destination, consider giving them a larger tip to show your appreciation.

Reduce tips for poor service

On the other hand, if your taxi driver provides poor service, you have the option to reduce your tip. If your driver is rude, takes an unnecessarily long route, or drives recklessly, you may feel inclined to lower the tip amount.

However, it’s important to remember that tipping is still expected, even if the service is subpar. By reducing the tip, you are sending a message to the driver that their service was not up to par.

Tipping culture in NYC vs other cities

The tipping culture in NYC is unique compared to other cities. In New York, it is customary to tip your taxi driver around 15-20% of the total fare.

This percentage is higher than in some other cities where 10-15% is more common.

It’s worth noting that tipping is not required in all cities around the world. In some countries, such as Japan, tipping is not expected and can even be considered rude.

However, in NYC, tipping is a standard practice and an important part of the taxi service industry.

City Tipping Percentage
New York City 15-20%
Chicago 10-15%
Los Angeles 10-15%
London 10-15%

Remember, tipping is a way to show appreciation for the service provided by your NYC taxi driver.

By following these general guidelines for tipping, you can ensure a positive experience and maintain good etiquette when using taxi services in the city.


Tipping your taxi driver is an important part of the NYC cab ride experience. While not legally required, tipping 15-20% of the total fare is considered customary.

Tipping generously helps support the thousands of hardworking drivers across the city.

By following the tips outlined in this guide, you can tip the right amount according to the service, fare, and type of payment.

So next time you take a cab in New York City, have a rough tip amount in mind and be prepared to thank your driver for getting you safely to your destination!

Similar Posts