How to Share a Cab with Strangers

What's the social etiquette of the shared cab ride? No talking, to touching, no cell phones—pretty much exactly like the subway during morning rush hour—reports the Times in a piece today about the city's ur-shared taxi stand at the subway no-man's land of 79th and York. For the last 20 years, commuters have been sharing rides (at $6 a pop) between the UES and Wall Street. But now similar stands will be coming to other places like Penn Station and Grand Central.

So what's the original shared-cab spot like? Behaving in a manner that gets us dubbed as unfriendly by fresh faced Midwesterners, riders rarely talk to one another. Instead, they take the ten-minute swoop down the FDR in silence, reading the paper, spacing out to their iPhones, or reading their emails. (Again, see: subway, every morning). The only thing that's different about the shared cab ride than the solo taxi trip is that everyone wants to ride shotgun. Sitting up front with the cab driver is, apparently, preferable to sitting knee to knee with an investment banker. (And really, what grown-up wants to sit bitch?)

Another quirk of the shared cab experience, at least on the UES, is that you have to be commuting to Wall Street to enjoy it. Brokers have elbowed out everyone else stranded on York, forcing them to haul ass to Lexington, or take their own cab. "There were fights," says a resident. "People said that they were pushed by the Wall Streeters when they tried to get in line." As a result, with so Wall Streeters out of a job, the stand is quieter these days . "This place used to be packed at 6," says a cabbie. "Now no one shows up until 7:15."

Stand That Blazed Cab-Sharing Path Has Etiquette All Its Own [NYT]