Taxi is the quickest and easiest way to get from JFK to anywhere in Manhattan. It’s also the most iconic. We cover other options, of course, but enough people come to NYC with a little anxiety about hailing a yellow cab that we felt it deserves a post of its own.
We’ve seen a few other sites with brief instructions, but to ease your stress, this tutorial comes with photos from each terminal.
Finding the taxi stand at JFK
Avoid the scams
One quick note is you should only hail a taxi from a taxi stand at the airport. There may be drivers offering limo service as you exit baggage claim. Ignore these people. Navigating to the Taxi stand is pretty easy otherwise.
What does a taxi stand look like at JFK
At every terminal, after following the huge signs on where to find the taxi stand you will find well-defined queues. Below is an example of what a taxi queue looks like.
When you approach the taxi stand, the agent will ask you where you are going. You can say Manhattan or Midtown or Times Square to the agent without giving a specific street address. You can also say Brooklyn or Queens or the Bronx if you’re not going to Manhattan. All they are looking for is if you should be charged the flat rate or not and then to generally give the driver an idea of where you are going. At this point, they will print out a ticket and tell you what taxi is yours. You can see in the image above the taxis are parked in front of TAXI 1, TAXI 2, TAXI 3 painted on the sidewalk. You can go stand where the agent tells you and the driver will take the ticket and you’ll be on your way.
Cost of a taxi from JFK to Manhattan
Taxis from JFK to anywhere in Manhattan, including Midtown, Port Authority, and Times Square, charge a flat fee of $52.00 during off-peak hours. During peak hours there is a $4.50 surcharge, which includes 4-8 pm on weekdays.
There is also a $0.50 state tax added to the bill and tipping is generally expected. I will usually tip between $10 and $15 for a trip from the airport, but otherwise around 15%.
Cost of a taxi from JFK anywhere but Manhattan
Newark Liberty International Airport
|EWR||$110 – $125 (including surcharge)|
What to say to your taxi driver
Once you are in the cab, the driver will ask you where you are going and at this point, it’s best to say your hotel name or a cross street. For example, you might say, “I’m going to the Knickerbocker Hotel in Midtown.” or “I’m going to the Crowne Plaza in Times Square.” Taxi drivers will usually know all of the popular hotels, but will occasionally need a cross street so it’s good to know this in advance. A conversation may go like this:
Me: I’m going to the Moxy Hotel in Times Square.
Driver: OK what’s the cross street?
Me: That’s at 7th and 36th street.
If you see the driver has a GPS, you can give them the exact address as well.
Other notes about a taxi from JFK to Manhattan
Four passengers are the limit for NYC taxi cabs, but minivans will allow 5. There is no standard make and model of a taxi cab, but yellow cabs are the only cabs allowed to pick up from JFK. You may also see light green cabs, known as boro cabs, in the city. These boro cabs are only allowed to pick up in the outer boroughs, hence the creative name.