What are all those taxi and for-hire ride surcharges?

There was a time when all New Yorkers had to calculate when riding in a cab in New York City was the base fare (currently $2.50 for yellow taxis) and then the increments (50 cents per one-fifth of a mile when traveling above 12 mph or per minute in slow or stopped traffic). 

However, these days the list of fees, taxes, and surcharges for your ride in a taxi, black car, Uber, or Lyft has gotten long and complicated.

Former Taxi and Limousine Commission chair Matthew Daus worries all these charges price out regular New Yorkers.

"If you need to go to the hospital and you need to be driven in and it's not an emergency, and you're coming from Maspeth, Queens, or East New York," Daus said, "and you're making $50,000 a year, you can't afford to take a taxi cab or a green cab."

FOX 5 NY decided to break down all the surcharges we could find on receipts so you know what you're paying and why. In total, we found eight types of surcharges and taxes:

  • Improvement Surcharge
  • Congestion Surcharge
  • MTA State Surcharge
  • Black Car Fund Surcharge
  • New York Sales Tax
  • Airport Access Fee
  • Rush Hour Surcharge
  • Overnight Surcharge

Here is the breakdown of each charge, not all of which apply to all rides or at all times.

Improvement Surcharge

This 30-cent charge on all yellow and green taxis is for the Taxi Improvement Fund, which helps pat for accessibility upgrades, including fulfilling the mandate to have enough accessible cabs on New York City streets.

Congestion Surcharge

This surcharge, which took effect in 2019, adds $2.50 per ride in yellow taxis, $2.75 per ride in green taxis and for-hire cars, and 75 cents per passenger for shared rides for all trips that start, end, or pass through Manhattan south of 96th Street.

MTA State Surcharge

Established in 2009, this 50-cent charge goes towards the MTA.

Black Car Fund Surcharge

This 3% surcharge on rides in for-hire vehicles goes to the Black Car Fund, a nonprofit that administers workers' compensation insurance and other benefits for drivers who are members. 

New York Sales Tax

This tax combines New York state and local taxes and is itemized only on for-hire rides.

Airport Access Fee

This fee is $1.25 for taxi pickups only at LaGuardia and JFK airports and $2.50 in for-hire drop-offs and pickups at LaGuardia, Newark, and JFK airports.

Rush Hour Surcharge

Metered-fare rides in yellow taxis and green taxis between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays (excluding holidays) cost an extra $1, which goes to the driver. 

Overnight Surcharge

This is a 50-cent fee between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. every day for rides in yellow taxis and metered-fare rides in green taxis. The money goes to the driver.