How to Calculate Taxi Fare

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A taxi can be a very convenient way to get around a city that you have never visited before. When the cab pulls up to you, you might notice information about the pricing for that particular taxi company. Unless you are fortunate enough to get a “flat fare” taxi ride, you will also see your rate increasing inside of the taxi as you make your journey. By knowing everything for which you are being charged, you can calculate a cab fare estimate.

Start off by learning the entry fee for that particular taxi company. This is how much you will have to pay for simply getting into the taxi. For this example, assume that the entry fee is $2.

Know the unit fee for the cab company. The unit fee is how much money your rate will increase. Most taxi fares include two unit fees: one for distance and one for time spent in the taxi. In this example, assume that the unit fee is 25 cents for every quarter of a mile traveled and 25 cents for every minute spent in the taxi. We'll also say that you're in the taxi for five minutes.

Guess the distance of your trip. Unless you have a map handy, you will not know the exact distance. Therefore, you will need to “guess-timate” the distance. In this piece, assume that the distance is three miles.

Add any surcharges. You may need to add an additional amount to the overall taxi fare if you are traveling at “peak time.” In this article, we will say that your surcharge is $1.

Complete the math equation in order to calculate your taxi fare. In this article, you would add the $2 entry fee plus the distance unit fee (.25 x 12 (the three miles) or $3) plus the time unit fee (.25 x 5 minutes or $1.25) plus the surcharge (the $1). When you add the $2 entry fee, the $3 distance fee, the $1.25 time unit fee and the $1 surcharge fee, your total taxi fare is $7.25.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pricing information for a taxi company can be found on the side of a taxi car, inside of the car and on the official company website.
  • Remember that you can only at best estimate your taxi fare before riding in the cab. Road construction, congestion and accidents will all change the total fare for that particular ride.
  • Remember to add any additional fees when calculating your taxi fare. For example, you may be charged an additional $1 for each passenger riding along with you. You will also be charged for any tolls while riding in the taxi.

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