My friend who has lived in the city much longer than I have claims that when you take a car service, you don't need to tip because the tip is built into the price. This doesn't sound right to me (or to many others who always tip car services). Is there any glimmer of truth? She's not just cheap, as she always tips well in regular cabs and restaurants and such.

2004_07_ask_taxi meter.jpg
In our experience, car service rates do tend to be slightly higher than those of yellow cabs. In some areas, like the outer boroughs, yellow cabs are hard to come by and one often has no choice but to take a car service rather than a yellow taxi. At first we thought maybe the rates were higher due to the lack of competition, but then we learned the rates were regulated. According to the
New York City For-Hire Vehicle Fact Book
, "For-hire vehicles have been regulated by the New York City Taxi and Limousine commission since passage of Local Law 76 of 1987." So why the higher rate? Ask Gothamist called up our favorite Brooklyn car service, Battery Car Service, and asked them how they arrived at their rates. “There are different zones,” we were told. “There are flat rates for travel to areas within each zone.” (Note that not all car services opeate this way: the TLC rules also allow car services to charge metered rates). Gratutities, he added, are up to each individual customer and are not a part of the set rates.

We’re not sure where your friend got the idea that she shouldn’t tip car service drivers at all. After all, the person driving the car is trying to earn a decent living, just like a yellow cab driver. If a driver provides good service, he deserves a tip - whether he’s driving a yellow cab, a livery cab, a horse-drawn carriage, or a pedicab.

Ask Gothamist believes that big tipping equals good karma. When in doubt, tip. If you're not sure if it's enough, err on the side of generosity and tip more. So make sure to tip your car service driver well and tell your friend to do the same.

Want more tipping advice? Ask Gothamist previously weighed in on take-out tipping.