Fares & Shifts


Medallions & SHLs
More and more passengers continue to pay by credit card for trips in medallion taxis and SHLs, which all have credit card readers. In 2015, nearly 62% of trips in medallion taxis and over 45% of all trips in SHLs were paid for by credit card. This is an increase from 2014, when 58% of medallion taxi and 41% of SHL trips were paid by credit card.

The hourly income of a taxi driver varies by the time of day and week with changing demand for service. In 2015, the average hourly gross income by a medallion driver was $30.41, including metered fares and any evening or overnight trip surcharges and not including tips, down from $31.23 in 2014. In 2015, the average gross earnings per hour by an SHL driver were $20.63, down from $21.32 in 2014.

For both medallion and SHL drivers, the evening hours are the more lucrative. For medallions, hourly gross income is highest on weeknights, especially Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. For SHLs, hourly gross income is highest on Friday and Saturday nights.

Gross driver fare income is based on currently available trip data and does not include additional forms of income. For example, medallion taxi drivers driving wheelchair-accessible vehicles and participating in the Accessible Dispatch Program receive additional income for trips completed, and SHL drivers working through a base receive income from prearranged trips. Both also receive income from tips.

Metered Rates of Fare, 1990 to present


Medallions & SHLs

Many medallion drivers historically work shifts on a schedule set by medallion fleet owners. On an average weekday, the morning shift for a medallion taxi begins at 6:30 AM, and the evening shift begins at 5:15 PM. On weekends, the morning shift typically begins at 9:30 AM, and the evening shift typically begins at 5:15 PM. Medallion taxis are most active for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday shifts.


Over two-thirds of SHL owners drive their own vehicles, with about half leasing the vehicle out some of the time. Since leasing arrangements are coordinated with the vehicle owner and not a fleet owner, most SHL drivers have flexibility on when to start a shift. With this flexibility, SHL drivers still prefer specific periods over others. The average morning start time on a weekday is 7:45 AM, and the average evening start time is approximately 5:30 PM. On weekends, there is no clear start time as drivers gradually hit the road throughout the morning. On weekend evenings, drivers start at approximately 6:00 PM.


Popular morning work hours for SHL drivers are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Evening shifts are most popular on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.


In 2014 and 2015, the number of medallion taxis on the road between 7:00 and 11:00 AM was generally lower on Mondays than for the rest of the week. On Mondays, the average number of taxis on the road was 10,856, whereas for the rest of workweek the average was 11,758. The day with the most medallion taxis on the road in the morning tends to be Thursday, with an average of 11,836 active taxis. Similarly, Thursday is also the day with the highest rate of occupied medallion taxis, reaching a peak occupancy rate of 56%.


On evenings between 5:00 and 7:00 PM, there are more active and occupied medallion taxis, especially at the end of the workweek. Fridays are the most active, with an average of 12,133 medallions on the road, 67% of which are occupied. This is closely followed by Wednesdays and Thursdays, with slightly fewer cabs on the road but with similar occupancy levels.


Another especially busy time is on weekdays from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, when many medallion taxis are changing shifts. During this time when fewer taxis are on the road, those that are active are occupied at a rate between 50% and 67%. This high percentage suggests that the taxi supply is not meeting passenger demand.


As a result, the TLC introduced the Taxicab Leasing Pilot in October 2015. The pilot will test whether lease flexibility will increase service levels and driver income.

Percent of Trips Started by Time of Day

Up Next: TLC Drivers by The Numbers

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