As NYC re-opens it’s important to support local businesses which have been struggling. That includes NYC-based car services which have served both residents and visitors since long before app-based ride services surged into town from Silicon Valley.
These mostly family-owned businesses will thrive again if you use them.
Plus, you’ll be keeping the money here in NYC, instead of supporting Silicon Valley millionaires and Wall St. hedge funds.
NYC-based car services offer lower prices than the Silicon Valley companies, and the same late-model vehicles, including hybrids and SUVs.
Plus, NYC-based car services hire only professional, experienced drivers who know NYC and don’t need to rely on GPS to find an address or the back route to the airport when the highway is gridlocked.
NYC-based car services also give you the choice to order your vehicle by app or the old-fashioned way – dialing instead of texting to speak to a real live person to order your car.
What a concept! Speak to a real live dispatcher who knows the city and its traffic patterns and can advise you on the best pick-up time for wherever you are going.
And that real live person can take your credit card info so you can prepay on the phone and not even bother to sign anything when you are in the vehicle.
Your credit card stays on record for the next time, and you get an actual receipt via email for each ride you take – just as with services owned by Silicon Valley millionaires.
All those things make locally-based NYC car services more convenient and often less expensive than those Silicon Valley companies.
And since many car service drivers maximize their income by working both for a NYC-based company and one of the Silicon Valley companies, you are not taking work away from a NYC driver – you are giving him or her more work.
By using a NYC-based car service, you are keeping the money in NYC instead of sending it to Silicon Valley or to Wall St.
NYC finally capped the number of Uber and Lyft drivers, and limiting these app-based drivers from “deadheading”, or cruising empty around Manhattan, so it’s time to take another look at NYC-based car and livery services.
The recent regulations are on top of new minimum wage rules also enacted in 2019, along with a congestion charge for all for-hire vehicles and yellow taxis below 96th Street in Manhattan.
If you are tired of surge pricing surprises, drivers not familiar with NYC or with the English language, or with sending your money to Wall St. investors, check out these reliable, professional NYC-based car services, some of which also have a national presence.
NYC-based traditional black car and neighborhood livery drivers can take mobile payments and send you an email receipt.
And unlike those Silicon Valley companies, the NYC car services also take that old-fashioned hand-held payment system called cash.
BTW – I always give a cash tip, even when I pay by credit card, so drivers don’t have to wait for the payment cycle from the car service company or from the credit card company.
NYCOTC Recommends These NYC-Based Car Services
Dial 7 has been providing reliable car service at reasonable prices for more than 25 years. I use them regularly, too, and recommend them.
They also have partners in other cities, including Los Angeles.
Dial 7, like its chief competitor Carmel, offers discounts for non-peak airport service if you ask, and their telephone operators know traffic patterns and can advice you on the proper timing for your trip.
You can also order a car via their app, the same way you would order an Uber or Lyft ride, and pay electronically or with cash.
- Phone Number: (212) 777-7777
Carmel also has been providing reliable car service at reasonable prices for more than 25 years. I use them regularly and recommend them.
They offer discounts for non-peak airport service – just ask.
They also have partners in other cities, including Los Angeles.
Their experienced telephone dispatchers know traffic patterns and will tell you if your requested travel time to the airport is not enough, or just order a car through their app, the same way you would an Uber or Lyft ride, and pay electronically or with cash.
- Click on the ad to make a reservation.
Based in Chelsea, and serving the AllState is in a great location to easily get to anybody in New York City in a reasonable pickup time.
Their drivers look and act professionally, and they offer discounts for regular riders.
- Phone Number: (212) 333-3333
Other NYC-Based Car Services to Consider
If you are eco-minded, this is the car service for you. Elite Green’s fleet strictly is exclusively fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles, including the Lincoln MKT and Mercedes S550.
For security, personal account riders cannot enter a vehicle without a voucher.
- Phone Number: (866) 696-5966
Wiro is the best car service you’ll find for your money in NYC. Of all the companies on this list, Wiro is the most consistent, which is a huge plus in a city where being five minutes late will enrage a lot of customers.
Drivers often arrive early and will call and text you when they are near. With low prices and high courtesy, Wiro is the way to go.
- Phone Number: (718) 775-2611
Based out of Park Slope, Arecibo car service serves the entire tri-state area and has the tagline “we’ll be there in 5 minutes.”
We wouldn’t always count on that to hold 100 percent true, but they are good about always being prompt. Arecibo offers standard, luxury, minivan, and SUV vehicles.
- Phone Number: (855) 428-0222
Based on the Upper West Side, New Family services the entire city, specializing in Upper Manhattan and Bronx. But – like all local car services – they’ll take you anywhere in town, including to the airport.
- Phone Number: (212)749-7777
- No website, but positive review on Yelp
Primarily a corporate service, Carey also transports non-corporate individual passengers, although at rates slightly higher than Carmel, Dial 7 and AllState, in part because drivers are uniformed and vehicles are more likely to be higher-end luxury sedans and SUVs.
- Phone Number: (800) 336-4646
NYC on the Cheap has an affiliate relationship with one of the companies mentioned in this article. When you purchase through the ad, NYC on the Cheap receives a few pennies. That helps keep us in the business of saving you money.
This article was published first in 2019 and is updated and republished periodically, including for Summer 2021.