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The Taxi-Taker’s Crib Sheet

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How to get a chatty driver to shut it:

Ask them to turn on 1010 WINS
“I pretend I want to hear the traffic—for their sake.” —Cindy Augustine, passenger


Two fastest routes to JFK:

Take Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn, then turn left on Highland. Take that to Miller Avenue, turn right, follow Miller to Atlantic, and turn left. Make a right on Conduit South and you’re basically there.” —Plaut

Take the Midtown Tunnel to the LIE till you get to the Maurice Avenue exit. Get on the service road to Woodhaven Boulevard, which eventually becomes Cross Bay Boulevard. Take that to the Nassau Expressway, and then—bam!—you’re at JFK.” —Joslin Fenelus, driver


The fastest way to La Guardia:
According to Terence Gelber, driver and author of NYC Taxi Driver Knowledge & Route Book

Take 34th Street east to FDR North to the Triborough [RFK] Bridge to Grand Central Parkway.”

And if there’s traffic on the Grand Central? “Get off and onto Astoria Boulevard, much of which runs parallel to Grand Central and can be accessed from the northbound.”


When to tip your driver more than 20 percent:
According to Edward Leavy Jr., driver and blogger (King of New York Hacks)

If you eat in the cab
“Something is always left behind, and I have to spray air-freshener after.”

If you use the cabdriver’s cell phone illicitly
“Like to call the person you are cheating on your spouse with. I’ve experienced this with males and females.”

If you need to visit an ATM while they wait
“Sometimes they have no money in the ATM either, but that’s the risk we take.”

If the driver lets you smoke
“It’s a big fine for us should we get caught.”


How to hail a cab late at night:

Hold up your cell phone
“That’s helped me see people down side streets that I would have passed had they only had a hand up.” —Leavy


When a cabbie tells you his credit-card machine is “broken:”

Play dumb, and try it anyway
“When they tell me upfront, I say ‘Okay.’ Then when they turn off the meter, I swipe my card and act like I misunderstood. It’s never once been broken.” —Kimberly Fusaro, passenger


How to tame a speed demon:

Pretend you’re with child
“I’ve told taxi drivers that I’m pregnant and nauseous so I need them to drive less crazy. It seems to work, and as a bonus they don’t talk to me because they know I’m feeling sick.” —Patty Adams Martinez, passenger


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