Getting from La Guardia to Washington Heights
October 31, 2017 8:28 PM   Subscribe

Visiting New York for a long weekend. Please enlighten me as to the plusses and minuses of Uber/Lyft vs. Taxi for getting to and from La Guardia. I'll be staying in Washington Heights. Coming in on a Thursday afternoon, leaving early Tuesday morning.
posted by gteffertz to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Getting picked up from LaGuardia is a pain. Taking a cab from there is fine/better, in my experience. Taking a Lyft to LaGuardia is totally fine, though.
posted by limeonaire at 8:55 PM on October 31, 2017

If you land in terminal B, to get a ride share from LaGuardia you have to take a bus to a remote lot for pickup. That's been enough to dissuade this United flyer. Taxi lines can be long but move crazy fast. Not sure about other terminals. Flying out/being dropped off shouldn't be any difference from a taxi.

One nice feature in NYC cabs is that some take Curb and Arro apps for payment, even if you flag it on the street.
posted by Bunglegirl at 9:07 PM on October 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

I live in Washington Heights. In terms of getting from the airport, it's down to your own preferences/thoughts about the ethics of Uber/Lyft. Taxi ranks are generally easier to use.

For getting to the airport, you should assume you won't be able to hail a taxi. You'd have to phone one, but I must admit I've never done that (and just taken the bus to LaGuardia). Broad Dyckman is a car service/taxi company in the neighborhood. There are others--there happens to be a Broad Dyckman cab that parks on my block, so I've written down that number. I've used Lyft for getting to JFK (emailed receipts mean easy expense submission) and would assume 8-10 minutes to be picked up.

If you're staying close to one of the hospitals, I imagine it might be possible to find a taxi on the street, but I would ask whomever you're staying with or meeting. (I'm guessing you're either staying with a friend or going to some Columbia event.) You do see taxis in Fort Tryon Park going to/from the Cloisters, but I wouldn't count on finding one when I needed one.
posted by hoyland at 9:07 PM on October 31, 2017

I always take a Lyft to and from LGA now. To get picked up, you just have to go to the 'ground transport' place before you call for one. In my experience, you will wait much longer for a yellow cab and it will often be more expensive.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:33 PM on October 31, 2017

Pro-tip: at LGA and JFK use Juno. Almost always cheaper than Lyft or Uber, which are in turn much cheaper than cabs. As Bunglegirl says, car services at LGA Terminal B are a bit of a headache because of the remote lot. But the taxi rank is painful too (at the far west end of the terminal and the line can be long) -- overall still better with an app-summoned car.

You cannot call a (regular) taxi in New York, and as Hoyland says street hails of cabs in Washington Heights are very unreliable. The old-school livery services are super inconsistent in quality and pricing. Just go with June, or Uber/Lyft if Juno doesn't have anything (as it may not in Washington Heights depending on the time of day).
posted by MattD at 10:32 PM on October 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

Honestly? If you have carryable luggage, that’s a very doable trip on public transportation. The M60 (regular city bus, nothing special) picks you up at Terminal B, and then it’s maybe a half hour on the bus to get to the A train at 125th and St Nicholas. Not hard at all.
posted by LizardBreath at 3:51 AM on November 1, 2017 [10 favorites]

The M60 (regular city bus, nothing special) picks you up at Terminal B

The M60 now has Select Bus Service. Which is slightly faster (you pay your [regular] fare curbside, it skips a few stops) and there are luggage racks. The comfort level depends on which terminal you come into. It picks up at B, C, and D, but depending on time of day it can be quite full by the time it gets to D. That's the main potential drawback to the bus route if your luggage is light. Standing all the way to the first subway connection in Manhattan is not necessarily the most fun thing.
posted by praemunire at 4:04 AM on November 1, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'd take a cab; public transit will be a hassle unless you're traveling light and alone (and honestly, even if you are, speaking from my ample cheapskate experience).

Or, Dial 7 if the cab line is super long. They tend to have decent coupons as well.
posted by jacobdezoet at 5:00 AM on November 1, 2017

If you take the bus, note that ON THE BUS there is not an option to use cash. It’s $2.75 in quarters. If you take a select bus service you might be able to use cash or card curbside but I’m not sure.

A one week unlimited metrocard might be worth your while for three days if you’ll be doing a lot of transit trips. I don’t know if you can get metrocards at the airport but that’s something to look into if you’re traveling light.
posted by bilabial at 6:06 AM on November 1, 2017

If you take a select bus service you might be able to use cash or card curbside but I’m not sure.

On Select Bus Service -- which the M60 and the Q70 are now exclusively -- you must pay curbside, with either a MetroCard or coins (no bills), and keep your proof-of-payment slip with you.

There is no option to pay on the bus and if you get caught (unlikely, but I have seen inspections) without a proof-of-payment slip on these SBS routes you'll be fined.
posted by andrewesque at 6:30 AM on November 1, 2017

I would do Lyft or Uber, I have had some terrible experiences with yellow cab drivers at the NYC airports who literally do not know how to get ANYWHERE.
posted by cakelite at 6:57 AM on November 1, 2017

On a recent trip to NYC, I happened to stay in Washington Heights and fly out of LaGuardia. For whatever reason, my Lyft driver never showed up (the car initially showed as very close, and then kept getting further and further away on the map and the time that it said it would take to arrive). That's never happened to me before, so I'm sure it's very unlikely, but my point is that I ended up getting on the subway to go where I could get on the M60, paid for the bus with the Metrocard, and it went very smoothly, even though I'd never done it before and I was panicking that I wouldn't make it to the airport on time. Because it was Select Bus Service, it was fast. I recommend it.
posted by pinochiette at 7:37 AM on November 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Definitely map your destination address and see whether the M60 would work for you. Depending on your location, it might be a really great option. Truly, the one time I used it was my quickest, smoothest, genuiniely-pleasantest LGA experience, far better than cab, lyft, or even private car service.
posted by halation at 8:17 AM on November 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

whatever you do, do not get in one of the black cars that will try to poach you as you are walking to the cab stand. I made the mistake of doing this a few weeks ago and the price gouging was atrocious.
posted by cakelite at 8:22 AM on November 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yes, anyone who approaches you saying "Taxi?" is a scammer and should be ignored with extreme prejudice.

As others have said, you pay curbside with MetroCard or coins. According to this here map (search "Metro"), every terminal (except the nonexistent Terminal A) has a MetroCard machine. Those accept credit cards or paper money, too. Please do not confuse the SBS validation boxes (you stick your card in and get a little receipt proving you've paid the fare that you have to hang onto for the duration of the ride) with a MetroCard machine. The SBS validation boxes are literally at the bus stop. The MetroCard machines are inside.

Honestly, if you don't have a lot of luggage and aren't coming into Terminal D during rush hour, it's a perfectly reasonable trip and connects directly to the A, which will take you the rest of the way uptown. Way cheaper than a cab, way less exploitative than "ride sharing."
posted by praemunire at 10:45 AM on November 1, 2017

I live in Inwood, which is just north of Washington Heights.

If I am just too tired, or have too much luggage, or there's some other reason that I want to splurge on a ride, I use a car service. Someone else mentioned Broad Dyckman. I have never tried them, but I notice they do get good reviews on Yelp. I use First Class Car Service, which is closer to where I live than Broad Dyckman, and I have never had a problem with them. They have all my information (cell phone #, address) on file, so making a reservation by phone is easy. When the driver is outside, he will text me. I don't travel by air that much, but when I do, and use the car service, it has always been smooth and easy.

First Class charges a flat fee of $50 to LaGuardia, if you pay cash. It's a few dollars more (maybe an extra $5?) if you pay by credit card. I see on their website that Broad Dyckman has the same $50 fee.

So the only downside is the expense. If I am feeling frugal and don't have much luggage and am not in a rush, I do what others have been advocating: take the A train to 125th, switch to the M60, and get taken right to the terminal. It really is a pretty easy trip, for the money, if you have the time.
posted by merejane at 12:59 PM on November 1, 2017

Also, as to your specific question about Uber/Lyft vs. a taxi -- I have never gotten into the habit of using Uber or Lyft in the city, but I would say it is a better option than a taxi. As others have said, you have to flag a taxi down on the street. IF you will be staying near New York-Presbyterian Hospital, it would likely be pretty easy (as someone else pointed out) to get a taxi out front there. But just trying to flag one from the street -- that is definitely possible, but it is a matter of luck. You can't count on seeing available taxis just cruising by all the time. But if you do go that route, I imagine your best option is heading to Broadway.
posted by merejane at 1:04 PM on November 1, 2017

Thanks everyone for all of the local knowledge. I didn't know about Juno, and I didn't know that you can't call a cab in NYC. Although I have a preference for public transit, my spouse doesn't (especially with luggage).
posted by gteffertz at 5:24 PM on November 1, 2017

You can call for a green taxi. However, as far as I know, it's equivalent to phoning the car service that operates the taxi and you'd pay a flat rate, not the metered fare. (I also assume you'd get whatever car is available, which may or may not be a green taxi.)
posted by hoyland at 9:27 PM on November 1, 2017

Try to talk your spouse into taking the M60 to 125th and St. Nicholas. I've made this trip multiple times, and it is by far the best overall: best for price, reliability, safety, and convenience, while no worse for time.
posted by d. z. wang at 8:27 PM on November 2, 2017

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