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For those on a tight budget, a taxi ride in places like London, England is a luxury. Not so in Manhattan where taxis are cheaper, faster and much more fun. They're all metered too and as if to underline how above board they are, the drivers' name, photo and identity number are prominently displayed.

Another sign inside the cab guarantees to get you from any part of Manhattan to JFK airport for 30 dollars or under which given the distance between the two, is fair. On top of which goes the customary 15 per cent or so tip and toll charges along the way. The journey will probably set you back about 36 or 37 dollars either way. The vehicles are surprisingly large inside (big enough for three, maybe four), clean and the seat belts work too. All reassuring signs.

A ride in a yellow New York taxi is a must. Thousands operate in the city. Just flag one down in the street, then prepare for what some who've ridden in one describe as a bit of a roller-coaster ride. In and out of the traffic you'll weave, at times at breakneck speed. After all, you've paid the driver to get you from A to B as soon as possible, haven't you? Particularly exciting is a fast aggressive ride along the main East or West Side Highways.

New York taxi drivers will not be rude to you; they're not thugs who don't care whether you're in the back of their cab or not. Those that I've encountered are polite and helpful. They will be rude on the road though, to other drivers who get in the way of them earning their living. The result is a fast, rather adrenelin-inducing journey. New York taxi drivers know the city extremely well too and will drop you at the nearest point to your desired destination.

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