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NEW YORK (PIX 11) – Ben Wellington, of the data analysis website ‘I Quant NY’, was looking into data on NYC cab fares when he saw a few things that seemed odd.

Numbers and statistics from the NYC Taxi and Livery Commission, which regulates many aspects of the industry, show a majorioty of riders use the suggested tip buttons to pay for the ride.

First, he noticed there were lots of people who tipped 21% but very few who tipped 19%. A large portion of tippers fall into the 20, 25, or 30 percent range because of the suggested tipping scale.

Wellington found that suggested tips for some rides are calculated based on the fare amount, surcharge, taxes and tolls.

The problem is that some taxis calculate the suggested tip before taxes and tolls.

Payment systems by Creative Mobile Technologies (CMT) included the tax and tolls in the suggested tip while Verifone (VTS) leaves it out. So depending on the software, your cab could be charging more for the same ride.

In 2013, the extra tips could have added up to $5.2 million, or about $200 for each driver using CMT.

Those who were listed as tipping 21% were probably tipping 20% of the fare and surcharge, but when you add tax and tolls it gets a little bump.

Taxis in New York City have been split about 50-50 on who uses the CTM or VTS software.

Wellington suggests the TLC require a uniform system. The TLC is not expected to visit this issue. Current NYC regulations do not address any formula for suggested tipping buttons. Taxis are required to allow customers to manually select any tip amount and have a button for 20% (what that amount is based on is not specified).

Representatives from Creative Mobile Technologies (CMT) say their formula is based on the total cost of the trip. A Verifone representative tells PIX11’s Greg Mocker they are checking into the issue. Word on the street is they may adopt the same method.

Here’s information from the TLC about a cab ride in the boroughs:

  • Onscreen rate is ‘Rate #01 – Standard City Rate.’
  • The initial charge is $2.50.
  • Plus 50 cents per 1/5 mile or 50 cents per 60 seconds in slow traffic or when the vehicle is stopped.
  • In moving traffic on Manhattan streets, the meter should “click” approximately every four downtown blocks, or one block going cross-town (East-West).
  • There is a 50-cent MTA State Surcharge for all trips that end in New York City or Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange or Putnam Counties.
  • There is a 30-cent Improvement Surcharge.
  • There is a daily 50-cent surcharge from 8pm to 6am.
  • There is a $1 surcharge from 4pm to 8pm on weekdays, excluding holidays.
  • Passengers must pay all bridge and tunnel tolls.
  • Your receipt will show your total fare including tolls. Please take your receipt.
  • The driver is not required to accept bills over $20.
  • Please tip your driver for safety and good service.
  • There are no charges for extra passengers or bags.