How New York City Taxi Drivers Are Ripping Off Riders

NYC Jan 2014-002I like to think of myself as a generous tipper as I usually give waiters and taxi drivers 20% if they provide decent service. But I don’t like it when restaurants automatically add generous tips. I really despise the new New York City taxi tip options when you pay by credit card. See the image below. As you can see, when you pay by credit card, the options to tip are 20%, 25% or 30%. Thirty per cent?! That’s outrageous. Yes, you can manually input the amount but most passengers including myself are in a hurry and just hit a button to complete the sale. Don’t you think the taxis should be pre-programmed to read 10%, 15% and 20%? Next time I’m going to use Uber.

NYC Jan 2014-001

Comments

  1. Outrageous!!!!!

  2. So you feel like this is a rip-off, but next time you’re going to use a service that has ridiculous surge pricing? I agree that the percentages are weird (it’s the same thing in San Francisco), but Uber’s not the best solution if you’re trying to avoid being “ripped off”.

    • The Uber app clearly indicates prior to booking whether the trip is subject to surge pricing. Surge pricing is also rarely in effect; I’ve never seen surge pricing in effect when I’ve booked an Uber. And on the occasions that surge pricing is in effect, good luck trying to find an available taxi.

    • Surge pricing? Please explain.

  3. Ripoff? That’s a little harsh. From the driver’s perspective, it makes sense for the “easy” options to be the higher percentages. If it bothers you to tip 20 percent or more, just take five seconds to do the simple math for 10 percent, 15 percent or whatever. Nobody’s holding a gun to your head…

  4. Gosh 30% really is huge! Here in England, where tipping culture isn’t nearly as prevalent, the taxi drivers are enormously grateful if you tip anything at all!

  5. It really doesn’t take too much longer to manually enter a tip other than the ones offered, so if you press a button to save time, you’re paying for that convenience.

  6. Can’t you just select NONE? That would solve the problem. Does everyone tip taxi drivers?

  7. I prefer to use cash

  8. FYI, this was very publicly analyzed and the majority of people choose the manually input tip!

  9. Michael Zullo says:

    Taxi drivers world-wide will try to rip off tourists. Most experienced travelers know it. They have all sorts of schemes up their sleeve like taking you the scenic route to your hotel. There are many good comments and suggestions to your post Johnny. You have many options to avoid selecting 20%, 25% or 30%. Don’t be in a rush – take Max’s advice and pay “cash” or Michelle Snow’s advice = “It really doesn’t take too much longer to manually enter a tip other than the ones offered, so if you press a button to save time, you’re paying for that convenience.”

    You can also take a few minutes and write our new Mayor Bill de Blasio and ask him “Don’t you think the taxis should be pre-programmed to read 10%, 15% and 20%?,” as you state in your post. Here’s his contact web link:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/static/pages/officeofthemayor/contact.shtml

    MZ, Upper Eastside Manhattan

  10. I read this and I regret it. I am filing under #Forget #WhotheF**kCares #StopYourWhining

  11. I was in NYC last night (I rarely get out there) and saw this exact thing. I don’t mind tipping 20%, but I agree that should be the middle or top of the range, not the bottom.

  12. I don’t think “rip off” is the best word to describe the situation, but it is annoying. It makes it seems as if the taxi drivers are praising themselves with those options.

  13. I don’t think this is a rip-off. You have the option to input manually or…as I do, pay cash for the tip.

    I’ve lived in NYC for years and years and years. I don’t find that all or even most cab drivers are looking to rip you off.

    Will some try to take you a longer route? Sometimes. But if you know where you’re going and provide a route…that’s not likely to happen.

    FYI: Sometimes the route we think is best is NOT the shortest route at a particular location and/or tme of day. Sometimes, when a cab driver suggests another route, HE/She is right…and we are wrong.

    I’ve ridden a lot of cabs over the year for business and personal reasons. With less than a handful of exceptions, they were good experiences.

    I also treat cab drivers as people and enter with a pleasant: Hello/Good day/good morning/ etc.

    When there is an issue, I politely ask them to do x, y or z.

    I also watch how cabs approach and how drivers react as you get in cab. Sometimes it tells you a lot at a time when you can still easily opt out. (I never enter a cab that has cut off another cab driver to stop and pick me up. NEVER.)

  14. I took a cab in London recently and paid with a credit card, for which there was a 2 pound surcharge–and there wasn’t an option to not pay it.

  15. … How does a cap driver give “excellent service”? miss all the pot holes?…don’t get involved in a fatal accident? I would maybe tip 10% on a good day…..

  16. Not much different than restaurants that include gratuity, don’t tell you about it and have space on the receipt to enter one. Many people don’t check and wind up tipping 30-40%.

  17. Simple answer to this problem! With all the identity theft going on never give your credit card number to someone that can disappear like a taxi driver. Use a money belt and cash and tip what you feel the service was worth.

  18. Use cash or take public transportation. Bus or subway, $2.50 per ride ($1 surcharge for new MetroCard, refill an old one for free) j5doto@gmail.com j5doto@gmail.com plus 1 free transfer to another bus or from/to bus or subway.

  19. Take the subway

  20. What an utterly useless article. Your laziness makes this an issue. As you acknowledge, you can input whatever you want, or still pay cash, so there is no rip off at all. I am not a taxi driver. The only rip off here is by you ripping off peoples time with uselss drivel. Give people the credit they deserve.

  21. As I’m based in NYC, I face this all the time. Yes, it’s moderately annoying, but it’s that not hard to just manually figure out and type in a tip — that’s what you’d have to do anyway if they didn’t offer pre-calculated percentages. I don’t think taxis need to be required to do the math for you. And there are so many cities where cabs don’t even offer the convenience of paying by credit cards . . .

    Much more of a ripoff is when drivers take routes that are not the most efficient path to your destination . . .

  22. I think that the Taxi drivers probably do more wrong rates. Plugging in a higher rate that the ride calls for.

  23. I live in NYC and I totally think this IS A RIP-OFF. Give me a f&^&ing break, people. I’m not a tourist and I’m tired of the BS in this city. This doesn’t only happen in cabs, it happens in a lot of restaurants. Yeah, sure, I can manually add the tip, but it’s a hassle and the cab drivers KNOW this. It takes me one extra minute and I don’t want to give them that extra minute. This is why I can’t wait to leave this uber expensive city. See ya!

  24. Framing cab drivers’ tips as “ripoffs” speaks much more to your mood and mindset than it does to the ethics of the drivers. They work hard, never know who is going to step into their cab, put up with some incredibly rude people and bad tippers, and never know what their paycheck is goinog to be. Maybe you were having a bad day? Hope that is not typical for you.

  25. How lazy are you? I lived in NYC for 8 years and always took 2 seconds to type in my tip amount.

  26. First off, do you think that the drivers themselves are in anyway responsible for what’s shown on the display? A more accurate headline might point the blame at the TLC or the fleet owners. This article reeks of laziness. If you can’t be troubled to enter your own tip amount, then you yourself are the problem! Maybe the headline should read, “Tipping your NYC taxi driver… A lazy sucker born every minute.”

  27. Australian cab drivers charge a 10% surcharge for paying with a credit card, trust me they dont get many tips!

  28. Also take into account that you can travel from the UES to soho in a NYC taxi for about $15. I ask you what other city you can do that in. DC Boston LA would all be much more. If you don’t like it take the mta.

  29. You should rather point out whether the tip options apply to the before-tax or after-tax amount. I only tip (10-15%) on the BEFORE-tax amount.

  30. Joshua Randolph says:

    There should be no tipping at all. If salaries are too low, you can’t penalize customers for it.

  31. Maurizio Giuliano says:

    Tipping is a phenomenon caused by something very wrong with the economy: some categories of people don’t get paid enough, and customers are made pay for it. On one side I guess it helps the economic flow since most people think of the price without tip to start with and so they spend more, but on the other side it is really annoying and may eventually cause demand to fall e.g. by Europeans or Japanese who are not accustomed to this system and dislike it.

  32. I don’t consider this a ripoff compared to what a cabbie did to me in Chicago. I put a $5.05 charge on my credit card and he insisted on emailing me the receipt. When I received the receipt, it was for $7.05. When I called the number on the receipt, Foursquare answered and said that they could do nothing.

  33. Anonymous says:

    If it’s to much for you take the bus or train STOP CRYING and pay if you need to there in a hurry!!

  34. Anonymous says:

    STP! And take the BUS that crying is not needed in the BIG APPLE!

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