New York City is back on top of the tourism map, which means many visitors are traveling between LaGuardia, JFK and Newark Liberty airports and Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island.
LaGuardia Airport transportation can be as little as $2.90 per person for public transportation or as much as $100 for a car service for one-way transportation.
As a native and lifelong New Yorker, these are my recommendations for the most reliable and affordable car services and licensed taxis, to help you save money and prevent you from being scammed into paying much more than what you should be paying.
This comprehensive guide gives you all your choices to and from LaGuardia Airport.
Take a licensed yellow taxi for a metered trip to your destination.
Note that a taxi to and from LaGuardia is a metered fare, while a taxi to and from JFK has flat fee of $70 in either direction.
NYC taxi trips to Newark Airport have a different set of rules, because EWR is in New Jersey, not New York City, which is in New York State.
Depending on your location in Manhattan (where most visitors stay), the fare will be around $40 – plus mandated NYC and NY State surcharges, tolls and tips. So expect your trip will be more like $50-$55.
These are the add-ons and surcharges as of January 2024:
- Plus 50 cents MTA State Surcharge.
- Plus 30 cents Improvement Surcharge.
- $4.50 rush hour surcharge (4pm to 8pm weekdays, excluding legal holidays).
- Plus New York State Congestion Surcharge of $2.50 (Yellow Taxi) or $2.75 (Green Taxi and FHV) or 75 cents (any shared ride) for all trips that begin, end or pass through Manhattan south of 96th Street.
- Plus tips and any tolls, such as the RFK/Triborough Bridge or Queens Midtown Tunnel.
- To or from Lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge are currently toll-free.
New in 2023 is an additional $5 surcharge to drop-off or pick up at either JFK or LaGuardia.
E-Hail – NYC Taxi Apps
There are several E-Hail apps which allow you to reserve a NYC taxi online with a binding rate if you request one.
These are the E-Hail apps currently participating:
- If you request a trip through the E-Hail app, the meter will not be turned on for the duration of the trip.
- Each E-Hail company sets its own rates and will give you a price prior to sending a trip request.
- If you received a binding fare quote, you will pay the fare that you accepted.
- E-Hail companies are still allowed to send you metered taxis, instead of offering a binding fare quote.
- Consult the E-Hail company if you are unsure which type of trip you are requesting.
- The upfront fare quote should include all charges, but the fare may change if you change your destination or if there are any unexpected tolls or taxes.
- If you feel you have been overcharged, file a complaint with 311.
- Each app has an option to tip the driver. As always, you can tip your driver in cash.
Everything else you need to know about NYC taxi fares and other taxi regulations is on the official NYC government website.
Your best public transit option from LaGuardia Airport is the FREE LaGuardia Link Q70,
Catch the FREE Q70 at LaGuardia terminals B or C. If you arrive at Terminal A, take the free airport shuttle to Terminal B.
It travels nonstop between the airport and Jackson Heights, Queens, connecting with the E, F, M. R and 7 lines. to Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx and elsewhere in Queens.
- Take the E, F, M, R to Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue, or the 7 to 74 St-Broadway.
- Exit the turnstiles and make a left rather than exiting the subway station through the doors on your right. You can board an airport-bound Q70 bus there.
More information on the MTA website page specific to LaGuardia Airport.
You can also ride one more stop to Woodside for the Long Island Rail Road (scroll down for LIRR info).
Or, take the M60-SBS for $2.90, including a free transfer to the subway or another bus.
- Take the M60 to the Queensboro Plaza stop and transfer to the N or R
- Take the M60 to Manhattan to transfer to the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or A on 125th St.
New Direct Train Link to Penn Station or Grand Central Terminal
You can buy a CityTicket from Woodside to Penn Station for $5 during off-peak hours and $7 during peak hours.
All aboard to Grand Central Madison! The Long Island Rail Road’s new east side terminal opened in January 2023 with special Grand Central Direct shuttle service.
Trains run seven days a week between Jamaica and Grand Central Madison. This service is in addition to the current Long Island Rail Road schedule.
Here’s how Grand Central Direct shuttle service works:
- During the AM and PM rush, trains will run hourly in the peak direction (westbound in the morning, eastbound in the evening).
- These peak trains stop at Woodside to provide service for Port Washington customers.
- At midday, trains will run every half hour, with one train running express between Jamaica and Grand Central, and one train making all local stops at Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, and Woodside.
- The first train will depart Jamaica at 6:17 a.m., and the final train will depart Grand Central at 8:04 p.m.
- Between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., trains run every half hour, with one train running express between Jamaica and Grand Central, and one train making all local stops at Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, and Woodside.
You can find more details on Grand Central Direct trains in the TrainTime app.
A one-way ticket costs the same as a one-way ticket between Jamaica and Penn Station. During off-peak hours, you can use a $5 CityTicket on Grand Central Direct trains.
The current LIRR schedule remains in effect, and there are no changes to existing trains to Penn Station and other destinations.
Long before app-based ride services surged onto the scene from Silicon Valley, NYC had a thriving local car service industry, and still does, including family-owned businesses.
NYC-based car services offer similar competitive prices and late model cars to the Silicon Valley companies Uber and Lyft, and competitive with NYC taxi prices.
Most NYC-based car services are small, family-owned businesses.
Plus, NYC-based 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.
Some NYC-based car services have both local phone numbers with 212 and 917 area codes, and toll-free numbers.
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 those app-based services owned by the Silicon Valley millionaires.
Unfortunately, even some of the local car services have begun to charge more for peak demand times, but nothing like the surge pricing charged by the Silicon Valley companies. Plus, you are told up-front, so there are no expensive surge pricing surprises when you get the bill.
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 imports, you are not taking work away from a NYC driver – you are giving him or her more work.
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. That applies also to licensed NYC taxis.
Carmel has been providing reliable car service at reasonable prices for more than 25 years, and I have been using them that long. 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.
Dial 7 also 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
Based in Chelsea, 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
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
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, Brooklyn, Arecibo 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, primarily with bi-lingual Latino drivers.
- Phone Number: (212)749-7777
- No website, but positive review on Yelp
Operated by a father-daughter combo. Prices are higher than other car services recommended here, but it gets high marks from followers on Facebook.
- No website
- Facebook page which includes phone number
This article has been has been updated for ecoXplorer and re-published periodically, including in Jan. 2024 with new rates.
The original and updated articles are both (C) Copyright Evelyn Kanter.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and the author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is the President of IMPA, the International Motor Press Assn., and a former Board member of SATW, the Society of American Travel Writers.
Contact me at email@example.com.
Also follow my NYC website, www.nyctravelguru.com.