tip? (nyc) taxi vs. car (hyphens)
May 17, 2005 12:12 PM   Subscribe

NYC: How much, if any, are you supposed to tip car-service drivers?

With the exception of contracted car services paid for in advance by an employer, I had always assumed that you tip a car-service driver the same as a cab-driver. Recently, however, I've seen someone who is an otherwise beyond-excellent tipper pay a car-service driver just the stated amount with no extra tip. There's something about how the rate often seems improvised and how the amount is usually such an even number ($10, $15, $20) that makes me think my non-tipping friend might be in the right.

Bonus question: are car-service drivers paid differently than taxi drivers? Would this have anything to do with it?

Bonus bonus question: Look at all this inconsistent taxi-driver and car-service hyphenation. Is any of it proper?
posted by nobody to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (7 answers total)
I'm sure that the quoted rate would most likely be sufficient--especially as many drivers, at least in my experience, are the business owner--but I tip a few bucks anyway, especially if it's last minute or if I've just hailed one on the street. I'm happy to part ways with $5 or so if it means doing a solid for someone who has a fairly dangerous job.
posted by incomple at 12:23 PM on May 17, 2005

Best answer: Most services will tell you the tip is included, but how much the driver really sees totally depends on the actual service you use.

The high-end services, like Carey, etc., have a pretty generous "real" tip built in to the fare, because they really don't want drivers bugging senior execs for handouts. The drivers can actually get in trouble for accepting cash tips--they're definitely supposed to tell you "No" if you ask (but most of them will still gladly palm a tip if you slip it to them). For those types of outfits, I'll just leave it at the built-in tip unless the driver's exceptionally helpful or congenial, and then in that case I'll slip him a few bucks.

Lower-end services will generally stiff the drivers, so if you're not using one of the really expensive agencies, they almost certainly deserve some tip if they do a good job. As a general rule, $10-15 is perfectly generous for a trip to the airport or something like that, where they're helping you a bit with your bags, etc., since they are making _something_ off the built-in tip.
posted by LairBob at 12:58 PM on May 17, 2005

Best answer: All about word compounding:
In order to avoid confusion, compound modifiers are generally hyphenated: fine-wine tasting, high-school teacher, hot-water bottle, minimum-wage worker, rare-book store, real-life experiences. If there is no possibility of confusion, or if the hyphen would look clumsy, omit the hyphen: bubonic plague outbreak, chemical engineering degree, temp agency employee.
It's definitely taxi driver and cab driver, without hyphens. I'd probably avoid the phrase car-service driver where possible, it's somewhat awkward.
posted by grouse at 1:20 PM on May 17, 2005

I drove for Carey while I went through school. If memory serves, drivers got 10% of the stated fair plus a sub-minimum-wage hourly rate. There was not an automatic tip, and we were told not to expect a tip but to graciously accept any gratuity offered.

I would say you should tip the driver at least a couple of bucks if they do a good job. If you change the itinerary en route, a tip is absolutely expected. If they called to headquarters to announce a stop so you could grab a pack of cigarettes, your bill and the drivers take would increase. If they spare you the extra charge, reward them.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 3:51 PM on May 17, 2005

Add on question, if I may. What is the expected percentage to tip a cab driver in NYC? I mean for basic, standard service - picking a route to avoid traffic backups caused by collapsing walls would naturally be extra.
posted by darsh at 5:55 AM on May 18, 2005

Add-on answer: 15 percent for New York taxis, give or take, and not less than a dollar.
posted by werty at 7:05 AM on May 18, 2005

Avid cab-user that I am, I have always heard and followed the rules that cab drivers get 15-20% and car service about 10%. Hourly payment to the drivers is higher to car service drivers, hence the difference in tipping.

Oh and I always round up. And give extra for horrid weather, holidays and trips outside Manhattan. Cabs and car services make my life so much easier that I would rather over than undertip.
posted by altobarb at 11:59 AM on May 31, 2005

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