How Taxi Rates Work For First-Time Users

If you have never taken a taxi before, make sure you understand how taxi rates work before you jump in your first taxi. Here is a quick guide to how taxi rates work for first-time riders.

First Drop Or Pick-Up Rate

As soon as you get in the cab and give the driver your destination, you are being charged. Most cab companies charge what is known as a first drop or pick-up rate. Essentially, as soon as you get into the cab, you owe the driver a base rate just for them picking you up. This ensures that the cab company makes money even if they are only taking you a quarter of a mile or a couple of minutes away.

The first drop or pick-up rate can range anywhere from a dollar to a couple of dollars; the rate is determined by each company, and should be posted inside of the cab where you can see it.

Per Mile

Most cab companies charge a per mile rate. Some cab companies break their rate down into smaller units, and may charge a rate for every quarter or half a mile instead. Make sure you know if the rate being charged is per mile, per half mile or per quarter mile.

Additionally, it is important to note that the per mile rate is charged while you are moving. Most companies will have something posted to the effect that this is the rate they charge if they are moving at least X miles per hour, generally somewhere between 5 to 15 miles per hour.

Wait Rate

Cab companies attach a mileage to their per hour or distant rate because they have a separate rate for waiting in traffic. This is called a "wait rate." You will be charged a wait rate if your taxi is going below the miles per hour listed in their distance rate.

For example, if the cab company charges $3 per mile while moving at least 10 mph, you'll be charged the wait rate for any amount of time that the cab is not moving at least 10 mph.

The wait rate is generally either listed as a per hour or per minute rate.

Weekend & Rush Hour Surcharges

Finally, watch out for surcharges. Many cab companies charge more during peak hours. Some cab companies just add on a set rate to your overall charge, such as $2.00 for use during peak hours. Other companies increase their distance and wait time rates during peak hours.

When you get in a taxi, make sure that all of the above rates are posted. If you have any questions about the rates, ask the driver before they pull away from the curb. If you are not comfortable with the posted rates being charged, get out and find a different taxi. Contact a local taxi service, like Airport Taxi Service, to find out their rates in your area.