5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Taxi in Boston

by Jules on February 14, 2014

1. Price: Fortunately for you, Boston cab fares are regulated by the city. This means that you can avoid the unpleasant task of shopping around for the best rates, as all taxis will charge you the same amount for identical rides. Boston taxis currently charge a $2.60 initial fee and .40 for each 1/7 mile thereafter, with an idling/waiting rate of $28.00 per hour.

2. Trip Distance: Unfortunately for you, the prices quoted above make Boston cabs the most expensive in the country. There’s no getting around it: With a 3 mile trip averaging over $13, taking a cab in Boston is more costly than taking one in almost any other metropolitan area, including Los Angeles, New York, and Las Vegas. Bearing this in mind, you might want to consider alternative modes of transportation if your destination is further away. Public transportation in Boston covers a large swatch of geography, and is relatively inexpensive ($1.50 for the bus, $2.00 for the subway, and $2.00-$11.00 for the commuter rail) when compared to taxi fares. Another viable option is biking. Since starting the Boston Bikes campaign in 2007, Mayor Thomas Menino has been working to make Beantown more bike-friendly by adding multiple lanes and racks across the city. If you do not have a bike to call your own, you can always rent one at one of the rapidly multiplying Hubway stations sprinkled about the city.

3. Ways to Pay: Every cab in Boston is required to have a credit card processing machine installed. While this certainly saves you the hassle of having to have cash on hand to pay your fare, don’t be surprised to encounter drivers who will tell you that their machines are broken. Although this is not usually the case, if you have cash available the drivers most certainly prefer this form of payment. Another way to pay for your fare is through vouchers. Businesses and universities often have voucher accounts set up with cab companies, and receive a bill at the end of the month. It does not make much sense to have a personal voucher account, unless you plan on taking cabs daily.

4. Sedan Alternatives: For those looking for a little more variety in their cab options, there are choices beyond a plain-vanilla four door sedan. Limo: While clearly not a mode of transportation the budget-conscious would indulge in, there are a few reasons to book a limo outside of prom night. For one, if you are meeting your driver after a flight, he will check your arrival time every 30 minutes to assure you are picked up at the correct time. Secondly, your ride will be comfortable and stylish. Most importantly however, seeing a chauffeur holding a placard with your name on it always has the effect of making you feel like a big shot. Just be prepared to shell out a significant amount for your ride (roughly $100 for a ride from Logan Airport to Brighton.) Pedi-Cab: If the weather is nice, and you are looking to relax and enjoy your ride, a pedi-cab makes a lot of sense. Besides being able to feel good about reducing your carbon footprint, riding in a pedi-cab will allow you to interact with friendly passersby and get a real feel for the beautiful city of Boston. Although there are no meters on pedi-cabs, the general recommendation is that passengers should pay between 1.5-2X the fare of a regular cab ride covering the same distance, seeing as they being transported with manpower rather than horsepower. You can also book an hour-long tour for $95. Water Taxi: If you’re interested in trying out your sea legs, and your destination is relatively close to Boston Harbor, a harbor taxi is a good choice. Covering areas in East Boston, Charlestown, and South Boston, fares range from $10-$20.

5. Ways to Hail: If you are getting picked up in a high density area, oftentimes it makes sense to simply hail a cab from the street. However, if your ride is originating outside the boundaries of typical cab routes, or if inclement weather is keeping you from venturing outdoors, you will want to call or use a smartphone app in order to fetch yourself a taxi. Hailing apps are often more convenient than calling the dispatch directly, and can provide you with extra features such as the ability to track your arriving cab in real time. When choosing a hailing app, it helps to keep in mind that not all apps are created equal: Some charge higher fees than others, especially during the peak hours of 8-9 AM and 5-6 PM. This can result in making the most expensive cab ride in the country even more burdensome on your wallet, so buyer beware!

This post is provided by the creative team at Pingup. Pingup makes taxi hailing and booking applications, you can connect with them on Google+ here.

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