The jury's still out on just how the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission is going to handle increased demand in Brooklyn for those wonderful cruising yellow medallion cabs that are so easy to flag in Manhattan.
But one thing's for sure, cabs are in demand in Brooklyn.
Street Smart Tips about Yellow Cabs & Brooklyn
If you use yellow taxis to get around the New York's five boroughs; within Brooklyn, or from Manhattan to Brooklyn, here are seven "do's and don'ts" to smooth your journey:
- DO Help Your Cabbie Get to Your Brooklyn Destination: Cab drivers must know how to get to any destination in New York City, including Bushwick or Flatlands in Brooklyn, right? Wrong. According to the Taxi and Limousine Commission, yellow cab drivers are supposed to “know” Manhattan, be “familiar” with "major destinations" in Brooklyn (no, this does not include your boyfriend's mother's house in Bensonhurst) and have a map. Taxi drivers are not permitted to refuse you service just because they don’t know where they are going in, say, Brooklyn.
- DON'T assume a cabbie has GPS! GPS is, surprisingly, not mandatory. TLC (NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission) rules require drivers "to know the lay of the land," a curiously archaic-sounding requirement that reinforces the notion that the outer boroughs are high desert, which only an awesome cowboy could navigate.
- DO Complain if Your Cabbie is Talking on their Cell Phone: Everyone's had the experience of a cabbie yammering away while making terrifying lane changes at supersonic speeds. Is this OK? Clearly not. They're not supposed to be using a phone, period — including a hands-free unit.
- DON'T Forget the Car Seat for Your Child:
Q: Suppose I'm traveling with my kids in a taxi, going to the Barclays Center or coming home from a big holiday shopping expedition to Brooklyn. What are the rules for child safety seats and seat belts in taxicabs?
A: Passengers with children are encouraged to bring their own car seats, which the drivers must allow passengers to install. You, not the cabbie, are responsible for your buckling up.
- DON'T Take No for an Answer When You Request Multiple Stops: There are four of us going to four different destinations. Must a cabbie take us? Yes! Drivers are not permitted to refuse passengers with more than one stop, according to the TLC. So if it makes sense financially to share a cab back home to Brooklyn late at night with some pals but everyone is going to a different address, the cabbie must take you. If not, call 311.
- Don't Crowd Stuff a NYC Cab Like It's a 1960s Volkswagen: You can't really fit 17 people in a taxi, recorded in at least one Guinness Book of World Records for car stuffing. But how many people can you squeeze into a yellow taxicab going to Brooklyn? Don't expect to stuff more than either 4 or 5 passengers, and that depends not on whether they are super skinny, but on the number of seats in the taxi. Note: If you have a child under 7 who fits on another passenger's lap, he or she can squeeze in, too. Can a passenger sit in the front seat of the taxicab if there's no room in the back? Yes, but you are supposed to sit in the back unless there's no room.
- DO Tell Your Local NYC Elected Official To Revisit Elmo and the Talking Taxi: Retro fun! Whatever happened to those great tapes of ELMO and Brooklyn celebs like Beverley Sills and Joan Rivers from the Talking Taxi years? Having some celeb remind you to buckle up was more fun that the current dreary stale old news in the cabs. If you'd rather have retro Elmo, write the mayor...start a petition online...revive the "Talking Taxi" features of yesteryear!