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Frequently Asked Questions About Taxi Flag Drop Fees

If you need a ride to the airport, from a hotel, or even to the grocery store, you may be looking to hire a taxi cab. As you look over the fees that a cab company charges, you may notice a fee called a flag drop fee. If you are not familiar with taxi cabs, you may have many questions about this type of fee. Getting answers to the questions you have will help you to understand the importance of this fee for the taxi cab company.

What is a Flag Drop Fee?

A flag drop fee is a flat fee amount that any passenger will have to pay a taxi cab to get a ride. This is in addition to any mileage or wait time that you may be charged for. Generally, you will see the rates listed for a tax cab similar to this: $2.75 + $0.28/per 1/10th mile +$50/hour wait time. The initial amount in this equation is the flag drop fee. You will be charged this amount even if you don't travel a full mile. The second amount is the amount you are charged based on the distance. Some companies will list the amount per mile, while others will break it up into portions of a mile. The last amount in the equation is the per-hour wait time. This is charged when you are sitting in traffic, at red lights or if you ask the cab driver to wait for you because of a flight delay or while you shop. Some companies may list this per minute on their fee listings, rather than per hour.

Why Do Taxi Cab Companies Have a Flag Drop Fee?

Taxi cab companies began charging flag drop fees as a way to ensure that they were making a profit on all customers. Some customers may only need to use a taxi cab to travel a short distance. For example, the elderly may need a ride to the pharmacy just a few blocks away because they can't walk. Or someone may need a ride home from the grocery store with all of their groceries. In these instances, a cab company may not make money if they go out of their way to reach the customer and drive them a short distance. The flag drop fee helps ensure that even a short drive is profitable for a taxi cab company.

How Much is a Flag Drop Fee?

The flag drop fee, also sometimes referred to as a flag pull or meter drop, varies from city to city. In most cities, the amount that a taxi cab company is required to charge is determined by the entity that oversees taxi licenses and laws. However, the fee generally ranges from $2 to $4. In Boston, the flag drop fee is $3.50. In Chicago, the fee is $3.25. Dallas has one of the lower drop rate fees, with the fee being $2.25, while Sacramento has a higher-end fee of $4. And New York City has a sliding fee that changes based on the time. You can expect to pay $2.50 until 4 p.m. The rates raise to $3.50 from 4 to 8 p.m. and then decrease slightly to $3.00 after 8 p.m.

It is important that you understand how a taxi cab company will determine how much you will be charged for a ride. When you ride in a taxi, you will be charged a taxi flag drop fee. This is in addition to any mileage and wait time you are charged. In addition to your fare, it is customary to tip a taxi cab driver. It is customary to tip 15 percent of the bill plus $1-$2 for help with luggage. Keeping all of these fees in mind will help you properly budget for your taxi cab ride.