What is the Cost of Limo Service in New York City?

January 23, 2014

- Posted by Stephen Chapek

Limo Service Cost New York City

A lot of our clients contacted us to ask about the cost of limo service in New York City. As this is a very broad based question, the answer is going to depend on a variety of factors, which we will look at here.

Naturally, the longer amount of time you need a limousine for, and if you require multiple vehicles, then the more it is going to cost you. In addition to that, the higher level of service you expect, the more it is going to cost you. Most limousine companies charge by the hour, and the hourly rate will depend on a variety of additional variables.

The Cost of Limo Service in New York City By Vehicle Type

The main variable impacting cost is vehicle type. Entry-level limousine service starts with a regular black sedan or car service. The industry standard is the four-door Lincoln Town Car and yes, they are usually black.This is a very competitive field in New York City and there are literally hundreds of different companies you could choose from.

Car Service Pricing for NYC

Some companies only offer standard car service with the Lincoln Town Car. Others offer higher-end sedans, like your four door Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, and increasingly hybrid models like Toyota’s Camry sedan or Prius. However, many companies that provide car service also offer limousines as well so you have the possibility of upgrading with the same company. In most cases this will be a stretch limo, also normally based on the Lincoln Town Car platform.

On average, a black car service will normally cost you around $50 per hour. Airport runs typically cost in the neighborhood of $50-$90, with JFK and Newark costing more than LaGuardia, due to the longer distances.

As an interesting side note, many consumers do not realize that the Ford Motor Company discontinued the Lincoln Town Car in August 2011. Sadly, this classic was a victim of the Great Recession and wholesale restructuring of the American auto industry. This car was such a staple of the livery and limousine industry that there are still millions of them on the road nationwide, and many of them are still fairly new, so people still expect to receive these vehicles.

Ford didn’t really come up with a direct replacement for this full sized, rear-wheel drive vehicle, but many livery companies have replaced them with the Lincoln MKT, which is a station wagon/SUV hybrid (hybrid body style, not hybrid powertrain) which is taller than the Town Car and still has lots of interior room.

Many companies have also replaced the Town Car with a variety of SUVs, the Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Suburban/GMC Tahoe and Lincoln Navigator being the most popular. So the trend is moving towards larger vehicles, which also includes luxury vans and tall vans. The Mercedes Benz Sprinter, which is what we provide, is the exemplar in this vehicle range. Also, expect to see more imported luxury sedans like Audi and Mercedes in the car service segment, especially at the higher end.

The Price of Stretch Limos in New York City

The next step up is your stretch limousine and other customized vehicles. At one time, stretch limousines based primarily on Cadillac and Lincoln sedans were the norm, but now you also see just as many stretch limousines based on SUVs, like the Escalade and Navigator. Also stretch Hummers have become very popular for proms and other party occasions. They are practically a category unto themselves.  

The stretch limousines are very popular with clients for special celebrations, like weddings or bachelor parties and are not used as frequently with business travelers and airport transfers. But again, it is all about what you the consumer are looking for and what type of occasion it is and the impression you’re trying to make. The price point for SUVs, just the regular ones, are about the same for stretch limos, and the stretch SUVs are even more.  

For New York City, the average for this segment is around $80/hour, and that is usually a base rate. But prices can range anywhere from $70-$120/hour, with the nicer the vehicle, and more exclusive the limo companies charging on the higher end. Oftentimes tax, gratuity and tolls are extra and will be assessed on top of that hourly rate.

Luxury Van Limos Pricing for NYC

The next step up in limo hierarchy would be the super premium category, and this includes luxury vans like the Mercedes Sprinter, but also exotic/specialty cars, like Rolls Royces, Bentleys and Maybachs.

In this rarified realm, price is no longer the primary consideration for the consumer, it is more about the customer experience, a concierge level of service and the prestige that comes along with riding in one of the these vehicles. Prices obviously are much higher in the segment, ranging anywhere from $150-$250/hour and beyond. The average in this category is around $200/hour. As the adage goes, if you have ask the price, you probably can’t afford it! But for those privileged enough to afford these rates, a trip in one of these vehicles is a truly wonderful experience.

Brilliant Transportation falls into this last category and has pioneered the use of the custom converted luxury Sprinter vans in New York City and also on the West Coast. These Sprinter vans offer numerous advantages over black sedans and stretch limos, mainly because there is so much more utilizable space in these vans and the luxury appointments are first class. These are the types of vehicles that corporate CEOs, celebrities and other VIPs who aren’t worried about the price are currently enjoying in their travels. They are optimal for small groups (10 or less) and many models are also ideal for high-end corporate travel because they are often configured to function as mobile offices, or for the leisure traveler, the mobile lounge.

Our service is not for everyone, and we’ve helped many clients find other types of services before. Our pricing is premium but there are other premium services as well that offer different types of premium vehicles. If you would like to get a price quote, you can do so by clicking here.

We always recommend checking and comparing multiple companies before buying, so you should check out Empire CLS and Carey Limousines to compare and contrast premium prices, services, and vehicle types with ours before booking. Make sure to go with the best company that fits your needs and your budget.

Other Limo Pricing Variables in New York City

It is also important to remember when renting a limousine in New York City that there is an 8.8% tax on livery trips in-state so you will always be paying a bit more than the published base rate or fare for your vehicle. Usually when you request a quote, the limo company will include the tax in your estimate. For people traveling across boroughs or going to the airport, always expect to have to pay for whatever toll roads you encounter (these are usually settled before or after the trip).

Be sure to ask your limo representative if the tip is included in the price. Some companies charge a mandatory gratuity, usually around 15-20%, while other do not. Even if the tip is not mandated, your driver will expect one (although a good chauffeur would never mention this!) so it is good form to tip, especially when you have received excellent service.  

The last factor to consider, it is very common in the limousine industry to charge an hourly minimum, particularly for as-directed trips (as opposed to airport transfers). 2-3 hour minimums are not uncommon. This is because limousines don’t usually make as many trips in a day as a taxi would, and it takes longer to prepare for these trips as they are pre-arranged, than a car service or taxi ride.

So if you’re looking for a quick hop from one place to another, and you aren’t looking for high-end premium service, getting in a cab or going with Uber may be the best option for this trip.

Topics: New York

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The Brilliant Agency LLC
PO Box 9796, Jackson, WY, 83002

Luxury transportation experts focusing on special event transportation using Mercedes Sprinters, luxury mini buses, and coach buses in NYC and LA.