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What’s With the Green Taxis in NYC?

Green taxis in NYC

Have you ever wondered to yourself, “hey, what’s with the green taxis in New York City? Aren’t they supposed to be yellow? If so, then this article is for you. Here’s a quick look at what certain NYC taxis are green. Turns out there’s an explanation. Let’s dive in!

Green Taxis in New York City

(Table of Contents)

History of the Green Cabs in NYC

As you know, New York City is a very popular place. More than 65 million per year visit New York and most of those visitors tend to explore (and stay in) Manhattan.

As such, the city’s other four boroughs often get neglected. Services, such as cabs, become less available to people that work and play outside of Manhattan (and the popular areas in Brooklyn). Hailing a random taxis is way harder in the heart of Queens compared to Midtown.

The lack of taxis in the less-visited areas seemed unfair to residents (imaging needing an emergency ride to the hospital!)

In the summer of 2013, the City of New York created a program to mitigate a discrepancy in taxi service for the less visited parts of NYC — Harlem, Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn. The new program rolled out green cabs in NYC that officially became known as Boro Taxis.

Per NYC’s Transportation & Limousine Commission (TLC): The goal of the Boro Taxi program is to improve access to street-hail transportation throughout the five boroughs – especially for persons with disabilities and people who live or spend time in areas of New York City historically under-served by the yellow taxi industry.

What’s the Difference Between Yellow and Green Taxis in NYC?

The biggest difference between yellow and green cabs in New York City is the starting point of the ride. Think of it this way: Yellow cabs have no restrictions, they can pick-up and drop-off wherever the passenger wants (as long as it’s a safe location, of course). Green cabs, on the other had, have some rules.

Green cabs can only pick up passengers in Harlem (south of West 110th St and East 96th St), Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn. They can drop off the passengers wherever needed, The green taxis can drop passengers off anywhere in New York City (all five boroughs).

How Does the Green Taxi Program Work?

A green taxi can pick up passengers outside of Manhattan but it can’t pick up passengers within Manhattan. Boro Taxis can be street-hailed or scheduled in advance, as long as the pick-up point is outside of the Manhattan exclusion zone.

Apart from the pickup location and color, all other features of the green NYC taxi are identical to the yellow taxis. Boro Taxis are equipped with credit/debit card readers, meters, roof lights and cameras.

Map of the green Cab program (Manhattan Exclusionary Zone)

Here’s a map from the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC). The green region denotes permitted pick-up locations and the yellow and gray sections denote where green cabs cannot pick up passengers.

Image courtesy TLC

Are NYC Green Cabs Cheaper Than Yellow Cabs?

No, the metered fare for a green taxi in NYC is the same as the metered fare for a yellow taxi.

Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +3 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.

And there you have it! I hope you found this quick guide to the green cab in New York City helpful. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions!