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Using Uber in New York City

Updated: April 27, 2023

This post is about using Uber in NYC. We include information on how to take an Uber from the 3 major airports.

We also compare Uber cars and yellow taxis. Lastly, we provide information on the many ways you can travel around the city.


Uber is a completely legal and authorized car service in NYC. They are also safe to take.

Uber drivers must undergo an extensive background check, including a criminal background screening.

Uber has a review system where customers can rate their driver. If a driver gets too many low ratings, Uber will stop using that driver.

If you don't yet have an Uber account, download the app, create an account, and get ready to order a car when you need one!


You can request Uber cars at any of the major airports, JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark. 

Below we list the estimated price from each airport and compare it to regular yellow taxis.

We also include information on where to meet your driver at each of the airports.

Lastly, we share links to our posts on the different ways to travel to/from each airport in New York City.

Estimated fares from the airports to Midtown Manhattan


  • UberX - $62
  • Taxi - The fare between JFK and Manhattan is a flat fare of $52. During “rush hours” (4-8 pm weekdays, excluding holidays), there is a $4.50 surcharge. Also, tipping is customary. Check out our guide to Tipping in New York City.

For other forms of transportation, see our post on how to get from JFK Airport to Manhattan.


  • UberX $47
  • Taxi - approximately $70 + tolls + tip

For other ways to travel from the airport, see our post on how to get from Newark Airport to Manhattan.


  • UberX - $40 plus tolls
  • Approximately $40 plus tip and tolls (though can be higher depending on traffic)

For other ways to travel from the airport, see our post on how to get from LaGuardia Airport to Manhattan.

How to Get an Uber at the Airport

Uber asks you to request your Uber only when you are ready to depart the terminal.

When entering your location, select your terminal and door number so your driver knows where to find you.

JFK Uber Pick-up Locations

  • Terminals 1-4: Outside of arrivals or baggage claim
  • Terminal 5: Outside on the departures level

Newark Uber Pick-up Locations

  • Exit on the Arrivals level. Follow signs for “Ground Transportation and Passenger Pick-Up”
  • All Uber cars pick up passengers here

LaGuardia Uber Pick-up Locations

  • Terminal A - outside of arrivals or baggage claim
  • Terminal B - exit from the upper level. Follow the green “Car Services” signs to the blue-covered walkway. On Level 2, please wait for your driver in the designated lane
  • Terminals C and D - head outside on the departures level


Uber cars and yellow taxis have some similarities. Both charge fares that are based on a combination of time and distance. 

Both add bridge or road tolls on top of the fare. Both allow for tipping.

When it comes to the differences, Uber wins hands down over yellow taxis.

One huge advantage of taking a yellow taxi is that it is SO New York! Be sure to read our post on taking a taxi in NYC

Fare Predictability 

Uber provides fare estimates (though it is not 100% guaranteed because road conditions might change during your ride). Still, the fare is predictable.

Yellow taxis do not provide an estimate and fares can fluctuate greatly based on traffic congestion.

Yellow taxi rates can be wildly different for the same exact ride, based on how bad traffic congestion is.

You don’t know what you are in for until it’s too late and you find yourself stuck in a traffic jam. Meanwhile, the fare meter keeps on ticking!

Surge in Fares at Peak Times

While both will cost more during peak times, taxis charge a flat rate for designated “rush hours” (4-8 p.m. weekdays, excluding holidays).

On the other hand, Uber’s price increases are not based on designated hours. Rather, Uber’s rates increase based on the demand for Ubers at the time of your request.

That might be rush hour, or at any other time of the day when, for some reason, more people are requesting Ubers.

Still, you will have a price estimate so you know in advance the approximate cost. Again, Uber’s predictability wins.

Number of Passengers

Yellow taxis cannot, by law, take more than 4 passengers. If you are a family of 5 or more, download the Uber app!


Sometimes it is simply impossible to find a taxi, especially if you are not in a central location.

In that case, UBER of your better option. Though if it is raining, your best bet will be the subway!

Size of Vehicle

Yellow taxis do come in different sizes, but you cannot request a bigger size. 

You can stand on the sidewalk with your arm in the air and wait for a larger taxi, but that could be a very long wait.

Ubers offer several sizes if cars and you can choose before you book your ride.

The bigger the vehicle, the higher the fare will be.

Form of Payment

Uber does not accept cash. You are charged after the ride to the credit card you have on file with Uber on the app.

This can be convenient, especially if you are from a foreign country and don’t have easy access to cash.

However, taxis do take credit cards as well as cash.


There are so many ways to get around NYC, including the subway system, city buses, hop-on, hop-off bus tours, boats, ferries, bicycles, and even a sky-tram!

You can find out more on these different ways of getting around by reading our post How to Get Around New York City.

Here is information for specific modes of transport.

By subway:

By bus:

By boat:

By bicycle:

By air:

By foot:

Don’t forget though that New York is one of the most walkable cities in the world. That’s why we offer so many different walking tours.

Our guided walks are free to join and operate on a pay-what-you-like basis, which means you decide what a tour was worth or what you could afford (even free) when the tour is over.

We also offer self-guided and GPS-enabled audio tours of every neighborhood that you will likely visit as a tourist in NYC.

Check out our homepage or look at our schedule to see what we have available when you are here.

About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: April 27th, 2023
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