We’ve debated this topic many, many times with friends: When trying to hail a cab, is it smarter to walk in the direction in which you intend to go when you get in the cab, all the while looking awkwardly behind you in hopes of getting a cabbie’s attention, or to stand comfortably in one place and wait for a cab to approach?
Where I hailed him: Lower East Side Where he hails from: Brooklyn Years as a cabbie: 3 Previous profession: Karate instructor
An hour or so. Mostly the waits are longest at night, when it’s slowest, so if I can’t find someone I just go towards some place where there always seems to be people. Port Authority, something like that. It’s a gamble, figuring out where to get people. If there’s no one there, I usually just stay there and park until someone shows up. No use wasting gas trying to find someone.
Where I hailed him: Midtown Where he hails from: Ivory Coast Years as a cabbie: 1.5 Previous profession: Always a driver
15-20 minutes. Something like that. Not too long. Unless people have you go way out into Brooklyn or Queens, there’s usually someone nearby. You just have to pay attention to who’s standing still on the sidewalk, see if they’re signaling.
Where I hailed him: West Village Where he hails from: India Years as a cabbie: 5 Previous profession: Worked in a stockroom
Not long at all. In a lot of neighborhoods, especially around here, you generally only need to go a couple of blocks before you find someone after you let someone off. Sometimes, if the person is going somewhere popular, you let them out and someone else comes right in. That’s the best, but it doesn’t happen every time.
Where I hailed him: East Village Where he hails from: Bangladesh Years as a cabbie: 5 Previous profession: Student
Half an hour, 40 minutes. You just cruise around. When the weather is nice you get fewer fares. In one day I take about 20 or 30 fares. The average fare is probably seven or eight dollars, so you have to take that many.
Where I hailed him: Bryant Park Where he hails from: Pakistan Years as a cabbie: 15 Previous profession: Always a driver
Usually I work for eight hours at a time, but sometimes nine or ten if there are fewer fares. Sometimes you go to JFK or the Bronx and there is no fare coming back and it takes a while to get another one. Usually not more than one hour.