How to Get on Cash Cab

We’re fans of the Discovery Channel’s Cash Cab. Yeah, we figured the show was probably largely faked… but we didn’t think about it.


Then we learned that Cash Cab was largely faked. No real surprise (After all… how do they get the exterior shots? What about the crazy insurance liability for carrying cash in-cab?)… So we decided to track down a first-hand account of what it’s like to be on Cash Cab:

Without giving away too much, I was a contestant on Cash Cab in late May, 2006. There was a screener that approached my group talking about a “reality show” and how we were just what they were looking for. We were inside a bar at South Street Seaport and kind of in the bag at the time. After the front company arranges a spot for us to get a ride to the destination of the reality show, Ben’s cab conveniently shows up. There is quite a bit that is cut out during the taping, I guess to keep the show at a “G” rating. I was told that it is 50/50 random/staged pick-up (I am thinking nighttime is random).

Anyway, the cash is fake (you are mailed a check), the street side is not staged, and there is SOME slack in the red-light challenge (as soon as the cab moved, we hit a red light, Ben said it didn’t count).

There is a guy that hangs out in the passenger seat who controls the ceiling lights and monitors how many strikes you have. Before you get excited, the guy in the passenger seat doesn’t get in until Ben reveals you are in the cab. If you pay attention, the Toyota Sienna is chased by a utility van.

So all you have to do is hang out and be witty at bars across from New York tourist destinations? Sounds good to us.

Image via: Polis