The TLC Factbook was last published by the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission in 2014. In the last two years, the taxi & for-hire industries in New York have changed substantially. Street Hail Liveries (SHLs, known commonly as green taxis), which first appeared in 2013, now provide more street hail service in areas across the city outside the core area of Manhattan. In 2014, the TLC committed to significantly increasing access to medallion taxis and SHLs by mandating that large portions of these fleets convert to wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Conversion—which has already begun—will happen over a period of years and will make New York City’s fleet the most accessible in the nation. Also during this time, more passengers began using smartphone apps to arrange for-hire service. All of these changes have brought new travel options to passengers.
TLC continues to make additional data publicly available. In 2015, TLC published medallion taxi and SHL trip records online, which thousands of users download each month, and in 2016, we added monthly FHV trip data. Data from this Factbook are available at nyc.gov/tlcfactbook.
TLC Regulated Industries
Medallion, SHL, and FHV Daily Trips
Daily Average Trips
Highest & Lowest Trip Dates, 2014 & 2015
Together, medallion taxis and SHLs conducted approximately 474,000 trips per day over 2014 and 2015. Trends are relatively stable during a typical work week, with both taxi types reaching daily peaks between 6 PM and 8 PM each workday, when around 9% of the weekly trips for each service take place. For the week overall, medallions reach their peak on Fridays at 8 PM, while SHLs reach their peak on Saturday nights between 8 PM and midnight.
App-based FHVs performed an average of 146,000 trips each day in the second half of 2015. Trip peaks occur at times similar to SHLs, with more trip volume occurring in the evening hours and a weekly peak in trips happening on Saturday evenings. Overall, nearly a quarter (24%) of app trips occurs between the hours of 8 PM and midnight. Both SHLs and app-based services perform more of their trips than medallions during the evening shift change that typically occurs between 4 PM and 6 PM each day. During this time, 9% of weekly medallion taxi trips occur, while 11% of both SHL and app trips occur over the same period.
The top 50 traditional FHV bases represented together performed an average of nearly 52,000 trips per day in the last quarter of 2015. For these FHV bases, the busiest time is actually the morning rush. Around 12% of their trips occur between the hours of 5 AM and 8 AM, compared to medallions with 7%, SHLs with 5%, and app services with 7%.
When examining the distribution of trips by borough, medallion taxis continue to pick up passengers primarily in Manhattan: 92% of medallion trips originate there. An additional 4% of medallion trips start at the airports, with the remaining 4% of trips starting elsewhere in the city. SHL service is spread throughout the boroughs, with 38% of trips starting in Brooklyn, 28% in Northern Manhattan, 28% in Queens, and 6% in the Bronx. Over twothirds (70%) of app-based FHV trips start in Manhattan, with 18% of trips starting in Brooklyn, 7% starting in Queens, and 3% starting at the airports. Service from the top 50 traditional FHV companies is concentrated in the Bronx, where 42% of the trips begin, as many of the companies are located there. Outside of the Bronx, 20% of the trips begin in Manhattan, 17% of trips begin in each Brooklyn and Queens, and 3% begin at the airports.
Millions of people land at NYC’s two airports every year, and these travelers depend on reliable taxi service to reach their final destinations. At either airport, medallion taxis are able to transport passengers waiting at taxi stands, and SHLs and FHVs are permitted to pick up for pre-arranged trips.
In 2014, medallion taxis transported around 20% of all passengers arriving or departing at LaGuardia Airport (LGA). SHLs, which are authorized to drop off street-hailing passengers at airports, transported less than one percent of all passengers at LGA. At JFK Airport, medallions taxis transport a lower percentage of passengers (8%), while the Airtrain at JFK transports roughly 12% of passengers.
At different times of day or days of the week, airport pick-ups make up a varying proportion of all passenger trips performed by medallion taxis, app-based FHVs, and traditional FHVs. In the mornings, between 5 AM and 8 AM, 4% of medallion taxi trips begin at the airports, and 3% of app-based FHV trips and 2% of traditional FHV trips at this time start there. Between 3 PM and 6 PM, 6% of medallion taxi trips start at the airports, while 5% of traditional FHV trips start there and just 4% of app-based FHV trips start there. When business is slower elsewhere between 10 PM and midnight, 6% of medallion taxi trips and 5% of both app-based FHV trips and traditional FHV trips begin at one of the airports.
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
Percent of Trips Started by Time of Day
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.
Place of Birth & Place of Residence
New York’s diversity is well represented within its driver population. Together, drivers represent 167 countries around the world. The top countries where drivers were born are Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, the United States, Pakistan,and India.
Nearly one-quarter (24%) of medallion taxi drivers are from Bangladesh, compared to 19% of SHL drivers, 10% of app-based FHV drivers, and only 2% of traditional FHV drivers. Most traditional FHV drivers were born in the Dominican Republic, where 50% of these drivers originate. Over onetenth of both SHL and app-based FHV drivers also come from the Dominican Republic, compared to only 1% of medallion taxi drivers. App-based FHV drivers are most commonly born in the U.S.: 9% of app drivers were born in the U.S., compared to 5% of traditional FHV drivers, 4% of medallion taxi drivers, and 3% of SHL drivers.
TLC-licensed drivers reside both in the boroughs and periphery of New York City. The largest group of drivers resides in Queens (53% of all drivers). Brooklyn holds the second most popular choice of residence, at 24%. This is followed by 16% of medallion drivers living in the Bronx, 8% in Manhattan, and finally, 2% in Staten Island. The remaining 15% of drivers live outside of the city: 6% on Long Island, 6% in New Jersey, and 2% in upstate New York.
Gender Breakdown by Service
Age & Gender
Males make up an overwhelming majority of drivers in all industries. Less than 1% of medallion drivers are female. Slightly more SHL and app-based FHV drivers are female (2% and 3% respectively), while the top 50 traditional FHV companies have the highest female representation, with 4% of active drivers.
Drivers of app-based FHVs are far younger than their counterparts in other industries. The median age for app-based FHV drivers is 39, compared to over 40 for the other three driver types examined. Over a third of app drivers are under 35 (36%), compared to medallion drivers (21%), SHL drivers (21%), and traditional FHV drivers (24%). Over 30% of drivers from the top 50 traditional FHV bases are 55 or older, compated to 29% of medallion taxi drivers, 26% of SHL drivers, and only 13% of appbased FHV drivers.
The largest age group of medallion taxi drivers and the traditional FHV drivers is between 50 and 54 years old. For SHL drivers, the largest group is between 45 and 49 years old. For app-based FHV drivers, more drivers are between the ages of 30 and 34 than any other age group.
Age Distribution of Drivers by Service
Rise of the App
History & Regulations
The TLC is dedicated to improving access to safe and plentiful taxi and for-hire vehicle service, and embraces new technologies that prove effective in achieving its goals. In recent years, as the use of smartphone applications (apps) for customer service and entertainment have flourished, the TLC has also seen an influx in the number of companies wanting to conduct their businesses using apps.
This has presented both opportunities and challenges, and the TLC promulgated regulations that strike a balance between permitting TLC licensees and technology companies to operate apps in regulated industries, while ensuring that important safety, transparency, accountability, and availability goals are met.
Total E-Hail Requests with Outcome by Month
App Use in Medallion Taxis and Street Hail Liveries (E-Hail)
In January of 2015, the Commission passed rules allowing passengers to use TLC-licensed apps to electronically hail (E-Hail) medallion taxis and Street Hail Liveries (SHLs) and to pay for their rides following a two year-long pilot program. Data evaluated by TLC during the pilot suggested that E-Hail apps increase the efficiency by which passengers and drivers are connected in certain lower-trafficked areas and do so without negatively impacting the FHV industry or the general taxi hailing public. Adoption by passengers and drivers grew over the pilot, with fulfillment rates going up as customers became more experienced users.
In 2014, 41% of e-hail requests went unfulfilled, a percentage which shrunk to 18% in 2015. E-hail requests can be fulfilled by both medallions and SHLs, but SHLs tend to fulfill more requests. Of the fulfilled requests in 2014, 64% were fulfilled by SHLs and 31% were fulfilled by medallions. In 2016, 74% of requests were fulfilled by SHLs, with 20% fulfilled by medallions.
During the pilot, a much greater proportion of E-Hails occurred outside of Manhattan’s Central Business District as compared to all taxi trips, a trend that has become more pronounced as more SHLs (who are unable to pick up passengers in the Manhattan core) have begun using E-Hail apps.
App Use in For-Hire Vehicles (E-Dispatch)
Around the same time that the TLC was developing its E-Hail pilot program, technology companies and TLC-licensed businesses were also exploring how apps could be used to arrange a ride with a black car or livery service. When apps first arrived in the city in 2011, TLC outlined a framework that allowed app companies to either become a TLC-licensed base to dispatch vehicles or work with an existing TLC-licensed base to dispatch that base’s affiliated vehicles.
This framework was later codified in June of 2015 with the passage of Dispatch Service Provider rules. The TLC was a leader in codifying requirements for app based dispatch to ensure safety, accountability, and consumer protection. For example, all apps must operate through one touch or voice activation, surge pricing must be transparent and provided at the start of a trip and every app must maintain a privacy and security policy.
As more and more companies started offering their own passenger-facing apps to book trips, TLC also saw a dramatic increase in the number of driver and vehicle licensees. From January 2014 to December 2015, the number of vehicles affiliated to TLC licensees that offer appbased service increased dramatically from around 5,000 to almost 30,000. From Janurary to December 2015, trips performed by the largest app companies collectively grew from around 69,000 trips per day to 168,000 trips per day.
Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicles and Accessible Dispatch
To ensure New Yorkers using wheelchairs receive reliable access to taxis, the New York State Legislature and New York City Council created the Wheelchair Accessible Medallion in 2002, which is required to be used in conjunction with a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV). There are currently 581 medallions that must be used with a WAV. In addition to these medallions, in 2016, additional medallions will be required to put WAVs into service, with a goal that half of all medallion taxis will be accessible to passengers in wheelchairs by 2020.
In 2014, medallion WAVs completed 4.2 million trips (to all passengers). In 2015, this number increased to 4.4 million, or an increase of 5%. SHL WAVs also saw a substantial increase in the number of accessible trips, from 1.6 million in 2014 to 2.7 million in 2015, an increase of 67%. In total, over 7 million trips were performed by both medallion and SHL WAVs in 2015. This represents an increase of 22% from 2014.
The Accessible Dispatch Program (ADP), managed by the TLC, provides wheelchair accessible dispatching services for medallion cabs. Medallion WAVs respond to trips originating in Manhattan with destinations in any of the five boroughs, Westchester and Nassau counties, or the three regional airports. Passengers using this service pay the normal metered taxi fare and incur no extra cost. In 2015, 47,000 trips were booked through the ADP.
ADP will be expanding soon to serve passengers in all five boroughs.
In February 2014 Mayor de Blasio released the Vision Zero Action Plan, which outlines actions the TLC, the Department of Transportation, the Police Department, other agencies, the public, and the private sector can take to end traffic-related deaths in New York City. TLC Vision Zero initiatives range from greater education about street safety to incentives for safe driving and enforcement against unsafe behaviors.
In 2015, over 36,000 crashes — ranging from minor fender benders to tragic fatalities — involved at least one of the 90,000 vehicles TLC licenses. On average, about 1,100 medallion taxis, 1,000 black cars, 700 liveries, 300 SHLs, and 100 luxury limousines were involved in crashes each month in 2015. Over time, crashes involving black cars have increased in line with the number of black cars rising from almost 22,000 at the end of 2014 to over 39,000 by the end of 2015.
Prior to the introduction of the Vision Zero Action Plan, TLC relied primarily on NYPD enforcement against safety violations, including distracted driving (e.g., cell phone use), failure to yield, and other moving violations. Beginning in 2014, TLC began targeting these behaviors and has been increasing traffic safety enforcement ever since. In 2015, TLC inspectors, including those in the TLC Traffic Safety squad formed in 2015 to focus specifically on traffic safety, issued 341% more traffic safety summonses than in 2013.
Education is also a key part of TLC’s Vision Zero efforts. TLC conducts in-person outreach to for-hire licensed drivers across the city to discuss Vision Zero, traffic safety strategies, and the “rules of the road.” At the end of each session, participating drivers sign the TLC Safe Driver Pledge. TLC staff has held a total of 279 Vision Zero meetings with drivers since the program began, including 252 in 2015 alone. Many of these meetings are conducted in both English and Spanish, ensuring the Vision Zero message reaches even more drivers. In 2014, TLC also introduced a new Vision Zero module to its required driver education, and in 2015, the Commission passed rules expanding this education program to include not only medallion drivers, but also tens of thousands of FHV drivers.
In 2014, TLC instituted the Safety Honor Roll to recognize TLC-licensed drivers who have outstanding records of safe driving over many years and millions of miles behind the wheel. The 2014 and 2015 TLC Safety Honor Roll drivers represent a truly elite group. The TLC reviewed all of its licensed drivers’ records and identified 295 drivers in 2014 and 256 drivers in 2015 who have, over five or more years, not had a single crash involving injury, a single traffic violation, or a single violation of TLC safety-related rules.
Crashes Involving TLC-Licensed Vehicles
TLC Safety Honor Roll Drivers
The 2016 TLC Factbook was a collaborative effort by Taxi & Limousine Commission staff.
Meera Joshi Commissioner
Office of Policy & External Affairs
Jeffrey Roth Deputy Commissioner
Rodney Stiles Executive Director of Policy & Analytics
Jeffrey Garber Policy Advisor for Technology & Innovation
Jason Gonzalez Assistant General Counsel
Ben Kurland Policy Analyst
Erika Leyva Deputy Director of External Affairs
Omar Quintero Analytics & Automation Engineering Manager
Sekou Sheriff Senior Policy Analyst
Celine Zakaryan Senior Policy Analyst
Design direction by Theadora Paulucci Policy Analyst