How long do taxis run: Passenger Frequently Asked Questions — TLC

How to Get a Taxi in NYC

This post has the information you need on how to get a taxi in New York City — known locally as «hailing a taxi cab»

We compare taking a taxi to taking either the subway or an Uber. 

Read our master post on how to get around NYC for more options.

  • How Much is a Taxi Ride?
  • How to «Hail» a Taxi
  • Taxi vs. Uber
  • Taxi vs. Subway
  • Passenger’s Bill of Rights
  • Things to Do in NYC


New York Yellow Taxis do not offer a flat rate other than to certain airports.

You will be charged by a meter counting time and distance. Once you are in the taxi and it starts moving, the meter starts running.

The meters are generally very accurate. Don’t let a driver tell you a price other than what the meter says!

Base charges

  • The base fare of $2.50.  
  • There is a $0.50 New York State tax surcharge.
  • From 4 pm to 8 pm on weekdays, you will pay an additional $1.00. 
  • From 8 pm to 6 am, you will pay an additional $0.50. 

Once the meter is running

  • When the taxi is moving, you pay $0.50 per 1/5 of a mile (moving at or above 6 miles per hour.
  • If the taxi is sitting still or must slow down due to traffic, the charge is $0.50 for 2 minutes of time stopped or traveling below 6 mph.


  • There is no charge for luggage and no per passenger surcharge. Yeah!
  • Any tolls for crossing bridges or tunnels that charge, you pay for.  Note that the bridges between Manhattan and Brooklyn are free. It is doubtful you will be going through the tunnels or bridges with fares unless you are going far out of the city or to an airport.

Methods of Payment Accepted

  • You can pay with American cash, though a driver will not usually take bills over $20. So if your fare is $12, try not to give him/her a $100 bill. They most likely have the change.
  • Taxis accept credit cards! The machine is located in the passenger section of the cab so you don’t give your card to the driver. The credit card machine has all the instructions to follow, explains what you are being charged and even tells you how much tips would be (10%, 15%, 20%) so you don’t have to do the math! If you want a receipt you must ask the driver for one.
  • At night, it can be dark in the back of the taxi, making it difficult to see inside your purse or wallet to find your cash or credit card. Feel free to ask the driver to put the light on in the back seat. They are happy to do so if you ask.

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If you were satisfied with your driver, then a 15% tip is standard.

If the driver was exceptional, friendly, and didn’t drive like a maniac, 20% is a very nice tip.

If your driver was really awful, did not follow your instructions, was rude, and did drive like a maniac, you don’t need to tip.

Check out our guide to Tipping in New York City to know in advance what customary practice is. 

Airport Fares

  • Flat fares from Joh F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) to Manhattan are $52. No other charges, no meter is running. But you should tip.
  • If you are traveling to Newark Airport, you may want to look at the public transportation options available. It can be quite costly. You will be paying the metered fare and on top of that, an extra $17.50 surcharge, and also tolls for a tunnel. It is not as bad coming to Manhattan from Newark. 

We highly recommend that you take a look at our in-depth post on traveling to and from airports in New York City.


The easiest way to get a cab is to have someone else do it for you if you are in a scenario that allows for that.

If you are staying at a hotel, the hotel doorman likely has a strong whistle and the perfect arm wave. Many hotels have cabs waiting outside at the ready to pick up a fare.

At the airports, there are specific lines for taxis.

However, when you are out and about seeing the sights, you will need to hail that taxi yourself. 


How to tell if a taxi is available

On the top of taxis are small lit panels with the taxi’s medallion number on it.

How the panel is lit indicates if the cab is available, already has a passenger, or is off-duty. These are the rules:

  • If only the center light (the taxi #) is lit, the cab is available.
  • If no lights are lit, the cab is occupied. You’d think you can tell that just by looking, but it’s easier when looking down an entire street to use the light system, then testing your long-range vision to see if a person is inside!
  • When the entire panel is lit, the cab is off-duty and not picking anyone up. The side lamps actually say OFF DUTY if you are close enough to read them.
  • Sometimes an off-duty taxi will pull over and ask you where you are going. If it is along their route home anyway, they may take you. The driver must still use the meter even if they are off duty.

Get in the taxi and THEN tell the driver where you are going. 

That may sound odd, but taxi drivers don’t usually want to leave Manhattan to take people to Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx.

But taxi regulations (see the section below) require a driver to take you to wherever you want to go, even if it is inconvenient for them.

If a taxi driver asks you through the window where you want to go before you are in the taxi, they might say no and drive away.

So, get in the taxi and then say where you are going.

It’s okay to be general with your destination when in Manhattan

In Manhattan, taxi drivers know most streets and certainly popular destinations.

For example, if you say take me to the Empire State Building, they will know it’s at 34th Street and 5th Avenue.

It is also ok to tell the driver the intersection, for example, «the corner of Canal Street and Broadway». 

These days taxis are equipped with GPS devices. So, no matter your destination the driver can figure it out.

Outside of Manhattan, the driver will likely rely on GPS directions — or if you know, by all means, tell them! 

No more than four passengers allowed in a taxi

This is the law. Don’t try to hide that 5th person scrunched up in a ball on your laps. The driver cannot take you.

If there are 4 of you, feel free to have someone sit in the front passenger seat — just ask the driver first.

If you have a child, by law, anyone over the age of 7 requires a seat and a seatbelt. Younger travelers can sit on someone’s lap. 

Enticing a taxi to choose you as their next passenger

No, you don’t have to ‘show a little leg’ like in the old movies. You can use hand gestures though.

For example, if you are just going a short distance, hold out your arm and make your hand into the letter «C». This signals to drivers that you’re only going a short distance.

If you are going to the airport, instead of holding up one arm, hold up both arms and flap your arms like a bird.

Onlookers will think you are crazy, but a driver will know you want to go to the airport and that means more money for them.

Difference between a yellow taxi and a green taxi

Yellow cabs are the official, and iconic, taxis in NYC. 

Green cabs are new to the city, since 2013, and the program was created to serve areas of New York not commonly served by yellow medallion cabs.

Yellow taxis swarm Manhattan. Go to Brooklyn or Queens, it is not likely you will see any yellow taxis. But now you will see green taxis! 

Green taxis are allowed to pick up passengers in northern Manhattan (north of West 110th street and East 96th street), and anywhere in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens (excluding the airports).  

They can drop you off anywhere without restriction. Green taxis have another feature not widely known: you can call one in advance or use their app to see if one is nearby!

Watch this video about green taxis, but will also help you understand the taxi system in general.


If you are not familiar with UBER, it is a private, app-based car service company that can sometimes be a good alternative to using a yellow taxi.

The Uber app enables you to see if a UBER car is near your location, and will give you the estimated fare when you enter your destination.

A yellow taxi can’t give you an estimate since it’s based on a meter-based system.

With UBER if you see that a driver is nearby, and the price looks right, you confirm your request and your drive comes right to you. (Learn how to use the app by clicking here.)  

So how do taxis and UBER cars compare to each other? When might one be the better choice?

  • Availability If you just cannot find an available taxi, then UBER (or Lyft) will be your best bet.  Warning: If it is raining, your best bet will be the subway! 
  • Price  New York taxis are on average $1.40 less than the cheapest level of UBER. For short tips, locally, it won’t make much difference For longer trips, UBER is better because you can get your estimated cost in advance.
  • Location If you are somewhere that taxis don’t frequently travel, using UBER or another carshare service is ideal. You can’t hail a cab when there aren’t any driving by!
  • Safety If safety is of major concern to you, take a yellow taxi.  Both taxi and UBER drivers are screened and background checked, but yellow taxis are much easier to follow up with, should something go wrong with your ride.
  • Ease of Use  This depends on your comfort level with technology versus street smarts. If you are a techie type, you will love using UBER. If you are more street-smart, hailing a yellow taxi will be a cinch!
  • Fun-Factor  Taxi cabs win hands down! What trip to New York is complete without living dangerously on the edge for a minute, standing a little too far into traffic, with your arm high in the air, yelling, «TAXI!»

TIP:  Not many people know this, but official NYC taxis also have an app, called Curb, that lets you can book a ride even up to 24 hours in advance.

Curb also offers you the chance to pick what size taxi you need (4-doors or SUV sized). You can also pay by credit card in the app or with cash in the car.  Available for iPhone & Android.


The choice between taking a taxi or traveling by subway comes down to a few factors: the size of your group, the distance you are traveling, the time of day/night, and your budget.

  • If you are more than 4 people, it’s the subway for you. You can also consider taking two taxis, but it’s not so easy to get two taxis at the same time.
  • If you are in a rush and it is «rush hour» (8-10 am and again 4-6 pm) take the subway. It might be crowded but the trains will be running frequently to accommodate people going to work. Plus, the street traffic will really slow you down in a taxi.
  • Take a taxi if it’s late at night. Although you’d be amazed how many people are on subways, even at 3 in the morning, it’s best after 11 pm to take a taxi, especially if you are not used to the subway. Also, the subway lines are often rerouted after 11 pm or midnight so that repairs can be made. It can be quite confusing so opt for a taxi.
  • The cost factor is a bit harder to gauge. If you have an unlimited ride card, why pay for a taxi when you have already paid for the subway. If however, you have a pay-per-ride card, do a little math. A subway ride is $2.75 per person. A taxi has an immediate base fare of $2.50, then you pay for the milage. Better off with the subway generally. But…if you are four people, don’t have unlimited subway cards, and are going a short distance…»TAXI!»

TIP: Our guides to navigating the subway system and which MetroCard to buy will help you enormously!


In New York, these are taken seriously, though most New Yorkers are too distracted to care, and cab drivers are pretty good about following the rules.

As a taxi rider, you have the right to:

  • Direct the destination and route used 
  • Travel to any destination in the five boroughs of New York
  • Air-conditioning on demand
  • A courteous, English-speaking driver who knows the streets in Manhattan and the way to major destinations in other boroughs
  • A driver who knows and obeys all traffic laws
  • A radio-free (silent) trip
  • Smoke and incense-free air
  • A clean passenger seat area and a clean trunk 
  • A driver who uses the horn only when necessary to warn of danger
  • You have the right to refuse to tip if the above are not complied with.

Truly, taxi rides in New York are part of the fun of being in the Big Apple. Drivers can be very welcoming and entertaining.

Make the most of your ride in an iconic yellow taxi cab!

Related Posts:

  • How to Navigate the NYC Subway
  • Which NYC MetroCard is Best?
  • Which NYC Airport to Fly Into?

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Updated: November 4th, 2022

First Taxi Ride? 7 Things You Should Know About Taxis

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You’ve seen them before: those yellow cars with the light on top of the roof that says “taxi” in bright, bold letters. Your knowledge about taxicabs and drivers comes from an extensive career of watching movies or television shows. Or maybe your taxi smarts come from travel stories your friends and family have told you over the years.

But you’ve never been inside a taxi, and you know that you’ll need one sooner or later. Whether you have to travel to another state or a foreign country, you anticipate taking a cab from the airport to your hotel, office, friend’s house, or another location.

Whether you’re about to take your first cab ride or hop in the cab for what seems like the thousandth time, use the following tips to enjoy more of your taxi experience.

1.Call ahead.
You might feel intimidated or shy to hail a taxi, especially if you’ve never ridden in cab. Rather than waving your arms and missing ten taxis in a row, call the cab company and ask for a taxi to meet you at your pick-up location. This way, you’ll never have to wait for a ride to your next location.

You can also ask the dispatcher for a fare estimate ahead of time. You’ll know roughly how much your ride will cost before you even leave your house, office, or the airport.

2.Know the cab company’s name.
In case you encounter an issue during your drive between locations, you’ll need to know to whom you should speak or report the problem. You can ask the driver about the cab company, and make note of it on your phone or a piece of paper. Also record the taxi number and the driver’s name if at all possible.

If you accidentally left one of your belongings inside the taxi, you’ll also know whom to contact. Most cab drivers deliver forgotten items to the Fleet manager. You’ll likely find your missing item at the cab company’s office.

3.Know your location ahead of time.
When you visit a city, you should know the exact address of where you want to go and give it to the cab driver. If possible, you should also know which landmarks are nearby, just in case the cabbie isn’t familiar with the location. If your cab driver doesn’t know where to go, don’t be afraid to use the GPS on your phone to guide him or her to your destination.

4.Look for the flag or light.
If you’ve never ridden in a taxi, you might not know how to tell an occupied cab from an available one. Look for the flag or light. If you see a raised flag on the cab, then the taxi is empty. At night, taxis use lights on top of the vehicle to alert passengers that the cab is available.

5.Pay with cash or card.
If you’re not sure how to pay for your cab fare, don’t worry. You can pay in cash or you can use your debit or credit card. However, most cab drivers accept only major credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, or Discover.

If you pay in cash, carry small bills with you so that you can pay your exact fare. If you have larger bills, make sure the driver has change before you pay him or her.

6.Recognize a licensed taxi.
Some unlicensed drivers operate illegal taxicabs and look for passengers desperate for a taxi. These drivers tend to charge outrageous cab fares and don’t follow the same regulations as licensed cab drivers do.

Always check the cab for a licensed sticker and meter. Some taxis might have the licensed sticker stamped onto the rear window. The licensed sticker tells potential passengers that the taxi has official state vehicle certification.

7.Remove your belongings first.
Every once in a while, you might come across a forgetful cabbie. He or she may accidentally drive off before you’ve removed your luggage from the trunk or back seat. The best way to avoid runaway suitcases, purses, or backpacks, is to remove your items from the cab before you pay the cab driver. He or she won’t leave you until you’ve paid your fare, so this method allows you the chance to collect your possessions.

Now that you know how to approach taxis like a pro, you can feel comfortable hailing a cab any time. Keep these tips in mind as you hop in a taxicab for the first (or even for the hundredth) time.


How Yandex.Taxi algorithms distribute cars in the city — Yandex Go on vc.


A few months ago, Yandex.Taxi developed and launched a system that offers each driver who has just completed a trip an individual route, predicting demand and effectively distributing all cars around the city. This allowed drivers connected to the service to increase their daily income by at least 20%.

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Lev Feofanov, head of the experimental products group, wrote a column for the company’s blog on about how the hint system works.

Lev Feofanov, Yandex.Taxi

Driver’s income depends on efficiency

Yandex.Taxi, like any online travel booking service, has two categories of users — drivers connected to the platform and passengers they carry. For both, it is important that the service is reliable, fast and affordable.

The only difference is that for drivers this is not just an application, but a source of income — either main or additional. Therefore, it is important for them to spend as much time as possible with the client — the less he travels «idle», the higher his income per shift.

Today, even in large cities, a driver is with a passenger for no more than two thirds of the working time. This is just the time when he earns. The remaining third of the shift in total, he waits for an order or goes to the client.

To increase the driver’s income without increasing his time on the line, we optimize the efficiency parameter — this is the proportion of time on the shift that the driver spends directly with the passenger.

Drivers often find it difficult to make decisions

To maximize the useful mileage of Yandex.Taxi, there are many algorithms. The platform can search for an order for the driver along the chain: even before the end of the current trip, the system selects the next order for him — not far from the place where he is now taking the passenger.

Unfortunately, such orders are not always found: for example, if the current order ends in a remote area of ​​the city, then there may well be no one willing to order a taxi.

In such situations, the driver has to make his own decision: to stay and wait for the next passenger, or to move to another area in the hope of getting an order there.

The first way — to wait for the order — does not guarantee that it will appear quickly. You can stand for five minutes, or you can stay fifty (for example, at night). The second — to decide where to go — does not guarantee that there will be orders in the area where the driver decides to go, so gas and time can be wasted.

In many ways, the driver relies on his subjective experience. For example, he knows that at lunchtime there are a lot of orders at the university, in the mornings it is worth working in sleeping areas, from where people go to work to the center, and in the evening it is better to be in the center to take people from work.

To make life easier for drivers, we started helping them make these decisions. A few years ago, we began to show a map of increased demand. Directly in the Taximeter driver application, they began to designate areas in which there are more customers than drivers — that is, there are a lot of orders and, as a result, a temporary multiplier is in effect.

But the innovation did not solve the «problem of choice» globally. Often there are situations when there are several areas with high demand near the driver, and there are also traffic jams on the route. How to make the best decision without wasting time and fuel in vain?

Practice has shown that this is difficult — most often, drivers in such a situation remain waiting for the next order at the place where the passenger was dropped off before, even if there is an area nearby where there are not enough cars and high demand.

How to help drivers make decisions

In such situations, our new algorithm now comes to the aid of drivers. He finds a personal optimal route to the area where he is most likely to expect the next order. We call this algorithm «Explorer».

In order to understand how to optimize the movement of drivers, we built a virtual city and transferred there the real algorithms that are used to distribute cars and calculate fares in our service.

Thousands of virtual passengers have brought «life» to the city: each of them moves about his own business — exactly as real citizens do.

With the help of a machine learning team, we were able to recreate the behavior of an ordinary driver, who relies on his experience of moving around the city, and information currently available from a service such as Yandex.Taxi. The more days such a driver works, the more knowledge about the city he accumulates, the better his decisions become, and the more he earns at the end of his virtual shift.

We then added a professional driver to the virtual city. He knows everything about the city: where are the best orders, when will there be increased demand, in what area it will arise, how long it will last, how to get to it the fastest. As a rule, such a driver earns significantly more than the first one for the same time spent on the line.

We repeated this simulation for several real cities at different times of the year and received a huge amount of data — with their help, we better understand the difference in the earnings of a «regular» driver and an «oracle» who knows everything in advance and adheres to the optimal travel strategy.

What remained to be developed and tested was a recommender system that would allow ordinary drivers in a real city to achieve the same efficiency as their exemplary counterparts in the simulation.

How the driver allocation algorithm works

Dividing the city into thousands of small districts, we collect data on the number of users in them at the moment, look at historical indicators, get information about traffic congestion and upcoming events — for example, mass events. This is how we predict demand and calculate the required number of taxis that can satisfy it.

Having determined the volume of demand for the next few hours, we have to find all the drivers nearby and recommend them to move in the best way between areas.

For example, we know that about 150 users will need a taxi in Khamovniki today after 19:00. Nearby, 70 drivers will complete their orders, so we have to find 80 more in order to meet demand and avoid multipliers.

Next, mathematics comes into play: in order for the calculations to be accurate, several inputs must be taken into account at once. For example, that the driver is not obliged to follow our recommendations: if we send the offer of «Explorer» to 80 drivers nearby, it is not certain that they will all agree.

In addition, it is necessary to predict as accurately as possible how many drivers this proposal will be sent to, so that the required number of taxis ready for orders will be at the exact time and in the right place.

And also take into account the distance that the driver will travel in order to minimize the cost of an empty trip and select only those offers that will be beneficial for him.

After considering all these scenarios, we send an offer to the required number of drivers. When they start moving towards the specified point, we try to find orders for them along the way. These are orders that they can take without deviating too much from the route, and earn money even for this trip.

Income of a driver with «Explorer» increased

Already the first pilot launches of Explorer have shown that drivers who follow the offers from the system began to earn an average of 20% more without increasing the length of their work shift.

Moreover, we have noticed that the technology has made life much easier for newcomers to the service. It used to take a few weeks for new drivers, who didn’t work in a taxi and didn’t know all the peculiarities of the city, to start navigating and gaining experience. For example, about at what time and in what area the demand is increased. Now the conductor helps to “catch up” with more experienced colleagues already on the second or third day of work.

The conductor makes the service more attractive for drivers: both for those who have a taxi — this is their main job, and for those who consider it a part-time job.

On the basis of the same technology, a new product will soon appear, which will allow drivers to specify the desired work schedule and receive in response from the system the best route for the entire shift, completing it with an order towards home. In other words, the earnings of drivers will become more predictable, and the work itself will become less stressful. After all, there will always be a personal assistant nearby who helps to optimize the route.

Explorer now helps drivers increase their earnings, but this technology has a much wider application. In the future, it may be applied to drones.

Companies around the world are busy creating unmanned vehicles: Alphabet, Uber, Yandex have their own developments, car manufacturers have entered the race. However, designing autonomous vehicles that can recognize road markings and navigate roads on their own is only one part of the challenge.

Next, we need to teach these machines to make decisions — when and where exactly to move, in order to get to the next passenger as quickly as possible and take him as quickly as possible. And at that moment, when there will be more such cars on the roads, the one who will be more efficient in managing such an unmanned fleet will win.


There are still many tasks in our team that we need to help solve. Join:

How to order a taxi in Budapest — prices, tricks, tips

How to order a taxi in Budapest, fares, whether there are Russian-speaking taxi drivers — this post is devoted to the answers to these questions. And I’ll start with the most important. There are no taxi applications familiar to many such as Uber, Gett or Yandex.Taxi in Budapest. Let’s figure it out.

This article is useful for those who want to travel within Budapest by taxi. I do not recommend taking a taxi from Budapest airport to the city. Expensive, there is a possibility of deception, you can’t ask a taxi driver for anything, since he doesn’t speak Russian. Better take a transfer and there are two options.

Transfer from KiwiTaxi

Transfer from Tripandme

5 ways to get from Budapest airport


  1. What taxis look like in Budapest
  2. How to order a taxi in Budapest9
  3. Budapest
  4. My experience of ordering a taxi in Budapest
  5. Questions and answers about a taxi in Budapest

What a taxi in Budapest looks like

Taxi service in Budapest is provided by several companies, including drivers who have opened an analogue of the Russian IP and work themselves for myself. But all taxi cars in Budapest must be yellow. License plates are also painted yellow. By these two signs, a taxi in Budapest is easy to calculate. Checkers must also be present.

Car doors usually contain information about tariffs, I will talk about them more below. Taxi drivers themselves are most often dressed in suits or at least shirts. Seeing a taxi driver in a shabby T-shirt in Budapest is nonsense.

Official taxi drivers have the right to drive in lanes designated for public transport. Almost all cars are equipped with terminals for paying for trips with a bank card.

How to book a taxi in Budapest

What options come to mind? I have such.

  • With a wave of the hand in the street
  • At the taxi ranks
  • Call
  • Via mobile app

The first option is discarded immediately. Hailing a taxi on the street in Budapest is not customary. The driver may stop, but he will definitely understand that you are a tourist and be prepared to pay more than fair.

Taxi parking lots are special parking spaces in Budapest that are only allowed to be occupied by taxi drivers. Marked with signs. We saw this and taxis standing in a row, you can approach any car. But, most likely, you will leave on what is worth the first.

Call – minimum knowledge of English is required. I’m talking about Hungarian. I will leave a few numbers of companies providing taxi services in Budapest.

  • City Taxi +36 1 211 1111
  • Budapest Taxi +36 (20/30/70) 777-7777 .
  • 6×6 Taxi +36 1 6 666 666.
  • Fő taxi +36 1 222 2222.

App is the most convenient way to order a taxi in Budapest for tourists. A few years ago, the well-known Uber was available to everyone. Trips on it were much cheaper than those of official carriers. They raised a fuss and even held several protests. The authorities took the side of the owners of the yellow checkers.

Now in Budapest, many taxi companies are launching their applications for ordering a taxi online. I will talk about one that is international. Formerly called Taxify, it now operates under the Bolt brand. Available on iOS and Android.

Where to stay in Budapest — an overview of the districts

How to order a taxi through the Bolt app

The plus is that the app supports the Russian language. Therefore, problems with ordering a taxi should not arise. When registering, you must provide a phone number and email address.

Enter your destination on the map and the system will show you the approximate cost of the trip.

There are two ways to pay: by card (you need to link it in the application) or in cash forints to the driver.

Taxi prices in Budapest

Taxi fares are the same for all services, including Bolt Taxi. At the moment they are.

  • HUF 700 – basic fare or landing fare.
  • 300 forints — 1 kilometer
  • HUF 75 – 1 minute of downtime (downtime is also considered to be driving at a speed of less than 15 kilometers per hour).

Is it possible to save money when ordering a taxi in Budapest? Yes! Install the Bolt app from this link and get a bonus. Or enter promo code PRRY7Z .

My experience of ordering a taxi in Budapest

I ordered a Bolt taxi (Taxify) through the application in Budapest several times. There were no complaints. I linked the card in the personal account of the application and I no longer give money to the driver. After the trip is completed, a check arrives in the mail, you can also see how much it cost in the application itself.

Questions and answers about taxis in Budapest

Is there a Russian-speaking taxi in Budapest

No, Russian-speaking drivers probably work in taxis, but asking for a taxi with such a driver will not work.

What is the cheapest taxi service?

There is simply no such thing as a cheap taxi in Budapest, since all taxi fares are regulated by law. They are ONE for all taxi services. The only way to save money is to use promotional codes (I left one for you above) and catch different promotions.

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