Taxis in New York City are not that expensive, even after the recent 17% fare increase

Posted By on 25/07/2012

On July 12 the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a 17-percent fare increase for all taxis in the city. The Expatistan Cost of Living Index showed the price on that day of a 5-mile (8-kilometer) taxi ride in New York to be $16.13, so the increase will bring that price up to about $18.87.

What does that mean for expats in New York? Maybe not very much.

New York has a world-famous subway system that is one of the largest and most-used in the world. New Yorkers of all kinds, and many of the 50 million tourists who visit New York each year, ride it to get all over the city. Many New York residents already travel exclusively by subway, and a fare increase may encourage some who currently take taxis to ride the subway more. (With a monthly subway pass costing $104, it’s a good investment for anyone who would otherwise take even just a few cab rides a month.)

Additionally, many expats in New York come with jobs, often high-paying positions in finance or other global services. These jobs often cover transportation costs to and from work, so an increase in taxi prices might affect these expats’ companies as much as their personal budgets.

That said, any expat traveling through the city on a weekend has to pay for that herself, and few companies will subsidize their employees’ trips home from the theater. New York cabs carry tens of thousands of people a day, many of them expats in the city, and so the fare increase will add up to a significant cost to those who regularly take cabs.

And yet, New York’s cabs are one of the few things in the city that are not very expensive compared to prices in other cities. The new average taxi fare of about $19 will still be cheaper than taxis in many other cities. While New York taxis will become more expensive than those in São Paulo ($16.46) and San Diego ($17.26), they will still be much cheaper than taxis in some American cities, like Minneapolis ($29.87) and Milwaukee ($32.89), and still only about half the price of taxis in cities like Tokyo ($36) and Geneva ($42).

With New York’s real costs to expats being its astronomical rents ($3,520 a month for an 85-square-meter/900-square-foot apartment, according to the Cost of Living Index) and pricey entertainment options, expats living in New York may respond to $20 cab rides not by taking the subway more, but by skipping the theater once a month. After all, you can take a lot of $19 cab rides if you decide not to spend $293 to see a Broadway show.