TLC Analysis Shows Outer Borough Taxi Riders Are Big Tippers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New Yorkers living in the outer boroughs tip their cabbie more than their fellow, frugal counterparts in some swanky parts of Manhattan, according to an analysis by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

The city tabulated the tip data by using information from all credit-card payments during a week in January. That data was divided into three categories that included overall tip percentages, rush-hour tipping and Saturday night drop-off tipping.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones Reports

The analysis, which was broken down by the New York Post, indicated that overall riders in some of Manhattan’s most well-to-do neighborhoods, including Gramercy Park, SoHo and the Upper West Side, tipped 19 percent, less than the city average of 19.1 percent.

On the flip side, those riders traveling from Manhattan to neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, tipped above average, especially when Saturday-night drop-offs are factored in.

The average tips for Saturday night between 10 p.m. and midnight break down like this:

Prospect Heights — 21 Percent
Greenpoint –– 20.3 Percent
Park Slope — 19.9 Percent
Fort Greene — 19.8 Percent
Caroll Gardens-Red Hooks — 19.7 Percent

TLC Commissioner David Yassky told 1010 WINS on Monday that riders traveling to “Prospect Heights, Greenpoint, Hunters Point, Sunnyside tip above average,” adding he believes it “reflects the fact that passengers are grateful for the service.”

Yassky said the same trend holds true going the other way — going from the outer boroughs to Manhattan.

“The high-tipping neighborhoods where the taxi is picked up tend to be outside Manhattan,” he said.

While some have asserted that the high tipping is essentially a bribe to get cabbies to take them to the outer boroughs, Yassky dismissed the notion.

“I don’t think ‘bribe’ is the right way to put it — I really do not,” he said. “I do think that recognizing the fact that service in the boroughs is much less available than in Manhattan, passengers are grateful. To me, that’s what’s going on here.”

Yassky also said that the TLC was working at better policing of rules that require them to take passengers anywhere in New York City.

“We’ve stepped up enforcement by putting testers out on the street to flag down taxis and if they refuse to go to Brooklyn or Queens, they get a ticket,” he said.

The statistics did cut Manhattan riders some slack and indicated riders in the borough weren’t completely holding back.

Those heading to back to the Upper East Side on Saturday night tipped an average of 19.4 percent and when it came to weekday rush-hour tipping, Midtown took top billing with an average of 22.2 percent.

“New Yorkers as a whole, I think are generous and respect that taxi drivers work real hard and do tip generously,” Yassky said.

How much do you tip your cabbie?  Let us know in the comments section…

  • gotacomment

    Yassky may not think taxi drivers need to be bribed to get them to take a fare to the outer boroughs, but those of us who live in said hinterlands know better. My husband and I have had to take drivers to taxi court at least four times in 10 years because they refused to take us from Manhattan to our home in Queens. We don’t live in the far reaches of the borough either, but fairly close in Long Island City. After dropping us off they can take a straight shot down Crescent Street to get to the Queensboro Bridge and back to Manhattan or whip over to nearby LaGuardia, where they’re sure of a fare, so we don’t see where the hardship is. We even had to take one driver to court because he wouldn’t take us to a destination blocks away in Queens–Manhattan or nothing, he maintained. If you don’t want to take people where they need to go and get paid for it, why are you driving a cab at all?

  • Lou Bracate

    As a native NY’er who drove a cab for 5 years, (stopped in 2011) , Manhattanites especially 20 and 30 something yuppies and upper east and west siders, are the worst tippers imaginable.

    Blue collar NY’ers, Jersey and Long Island are way better tippers…. I actually had to say something to them upon getting a dollar tip on a 20 dollar ride. Half of them dont even get embarrassed

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