How many taxicabs are in New York City?

Here is the answer to a tough question I got in my Accenture interview:

According to the comprehensive New York City Taxicab Factbook, published by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, as of March 2006 there were 12,779 yellow medallion cabs prowling the city.However, an additional 22,900 car-service vehicles, 10,400 “black cars,” and 4,200 limousines also race around the streets, re-enacting scenes from “Road Warrior.” So that makes more than 50,000 automobiles schlepping Big Apple residents from the Bronx to the Battery and back again. And yet, just try to find one in the rain. 

Some other cab culture tidbits from the Taxicab Factbook:

  • In 1907, 65 taxis serviced the entire city
  • In 2005, 942,900 drivers were licensed to drive cabs
  • The average fare is $8.65 and 2.8 miles ($10.34 with surcharges and tips)
  • New York’s fare is 11th highest among the 14 U.S. cities with 1,300 or more metered cabs
  • In 2005, drivers averaged $158 in take-home pay per shift
  • Drivers from Pakistan and Bangladesh make up 14% each of total cabbies; those from Haiti and India 10% each; those born in the U.S. 9%
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