Best Car Service Open Thread

Subways and buses are nice, but if you’re just not in the mood a friendly neighborhood car service is but a phone call away.  Which local livery service do you use? Have any stories negative or positive? Comment away!

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  • jw

    ARECIBO – reliable and much lower cost than the ones in the heights….although the cars are not as nice

  • disgruntled

    I’ve generally used Prominent Car Service (on Henry near Fascati’s) – they also go under a different name – but the last few times, they’ve either been 15 minutes too early, or 20 minutes late. The cars are generally ok, but the smell on the inside is hit or miss. Really looking for another service.

  • H Fink, Jr

    for practically free trips, or those requiring a van – Family Car in PSlope
    for cheap, quick trips – Arecebo is always “5 minutes” away
    for something a bit classier, Blue Car has always been reliable

  • Nancy

    Church Avenue Car Service. Extremely quick to the Heights, and a good price.

  • Andrew Porter

    The place next to Fascati’s has been less than perfect. Once really needed to get to the ER, and they assured me they had change for the big bill I had. But got to the hospital and suddenly no change, so had to give them lots more money than the trip actually cost.

    Also, they’ve got that horrible “we don’t need no stinkin’ permits” sign covering the wall of the store above the window. Maybe they could try to fit into the neighborhood better, yes?

    Also, several times was assured the car was outside my building, but it was actually on another street at building with same number.

    Phone numbers for alternate services wd be appreciated.

  • Sad Henry

    I used to use a place on Montague for years; generally flawless service, with nice cars. It was great until I was forced to get in a yellow cab because one of their drivers showed up late when I was in a rush. I called to notify them/apologize, and the dispatcher flipped out, screaming at the top of his lungs that I should never call them again. Unfortunately, I did call again, to attempt another apology, and politely express my confusion and displeasure with the dispatcher’s over-the top reaction. He freaked out like a scorned lover, and hung up on me after screaming random insults for another minute. After several years and hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, they dropped me. Since then I’ve been using the place next to Fascati’s. Their cars are to say the least, not nice. The first time I used them, a van without T&LC plates showed up. When the guy said he was from the car service, I didn’t believe him. After some thought, I figured that a car service using an unmarked van for kidnapping random customers would be a pretty elaborate and unlikely scam, so I got in. That day, and since, their service has been relatively inexpensive, efficient, and the drivers are always friendly and courteous. The cars are almost always raggedy, though.

  • James

    After my third bike was stolen, I started using Eastern, going to Park Slope, or other neighborhoods, on a daily basis. Aside from the driver who was speeding and ran a red light (the cops nabbed him), I have been pleased with their service, which I used consistently for two years.

  • casarden

    I recently called Prominent for friends who were visiting from France and needed a car to Newark. The driver showed up 10 minutes early, and my friends were running 5 minutes late – when they got into the car, the driver began to drive and then proceeded to tell them they would be charged an extra $20 for being 15 minutes late (which they weren’t) as well as another $20 for overweight baggage (they had 4 bags total). Since we had not been told of either additional charge when we made the reservation, they argued and tried to negotiate the price, at which point the driver erupted at them and proceeded to say they could get out if they didn’t like it. He then pulled over and left them on the side of Tillary Street with their four bags to hail a cab. NOT a good way to end their trip, to say the least!

  • Ronni

    I find the car service next to Fascati’s to be overpriced and just plain rude

  • CJP

    Agree with the posters about Cadman car service, or whatever name it now goes by. They billed themselves under “new owners.” Just remember a couple of years ago getting quite frustrated, during a particularly nasty winter storm, when the rate they were charging to Kennedy or LaGuardia was more than double what the rate was at the time, which was probably around $30.

    We can have a fair debate about whether doubling your rates to $60 in the midst of a nor’easter is price-gouging or simply an exercise in unregulated free markets and ultimately a willingness to serve customers even in terrible weather. I put them in the price-gouging category.

    Bottom line is we found some other car service that was willing to do it for the regular price and sadly, rather than remember the “good” car service who bailed us out, I remember the “bad” car service and have not used them ever since, even though they had a banner up for the longest time saying “under new owners.”

    I think car services, like movers, haircutters or airlines, can be an iffy proposition. What’s great for one customer on a random day in July may turn out to be somone else’s worst experience ever on a random day 3 months later.

  • CJP

    And just wanted to say that I too have had good experiences with Arecibo! JW nailed it at the top on price, service and condition of the cars.

  • wineaway

    Great thread..thanks for posting, everyone.

  • Cormac

    I loved Arecibo until they picked me up in a used police car converted into a livery vehicle. I felt like I had been arrested rather than paying for a car service.
    I generally use Heights Limo, but sometimes their drivers get lost finding my street (which is not really that difficult to find).

  • taxi!

    I’ve always been impressed with the fact that Legends has car seats for the kiddies, but I still call Aricebo for the cheap ride … I do avoid Court Express because I’ve found them to be late late late too often.

  • CallMeTony

    I’m surprised, several mentions of “Prominent” car service, But no mention of Promenade. “Prominent” occupies (occupied?) the same space on Montague that was home to Promenade car service for years. After Promenade moved to DUMBO, Prominent moved in, I guess adopting the name to snag Promenade’s regulars. Promenade is still around and my wife and I use them a lot. They’re generally reliable. I can’t say I haven’t had minor complaints or wondered whether the grass might be greener (or the Town Car blacker?) elsewhere. I hoped to read about a real gem in this thread but I guess Car Services are a bit like airlines; each is the subject of somebody’s “worst traveling experience ever”.

    I have two tips to share: (1) find one service that is at least acceptable, and develop a relationship where you are viewed as a regular customer, or (2) find a good driver with a nice car and see if they’ll “free-lance” for you. I’ve had a couple of drivers explain that they’d love to develop a few steady clients and cut their dispatchers out of the process when possible. Not sure if this is entirely ethical, and I haven’t resorted to this yet.

  • Cormac

    So what is the verdict? What is the best car service for Brooklyn Heights?


  • steve

    I have used Blue Car many many times and find that they are never late and very good at tracking my arriving flights so that if I get delayed, they know when they should be at the airport.
    They’re at the corner of Atlantic and Court.

  • Luke C

    The Tillary & Clinton intersection – who needs a car service when there is a cab every 60 seconds there?

    Plus, I refuse to use Prominent on Henry at Orange. They treat the street like their own parking lot and endanger the residents by double-parking and spot-sniping. Other business don’t abuse public space to run their business…

  • Bob

    We’ve used Promenade for 3-1/2 years for all airport trips.
    In all that time, only one driver was so rude and arrogant,
    when we complained, they put his car on a “no” list for us.
    Agree with CMTony: they know us, they are nice to us and
    our OOT guests, and they show up almost always early or on
    time. (okay, one time 20 min late.)

  • CJP

    Anyone use the coupons that come in the mail or in the paper? And how are the car services in accepting their own coupons?

  • brooklynkid

    Most of the car services are fine with accepting their coupons, but it’s a good idea to let them know you’ll be using one when you reserve the car, and not spring it on the driver as a surprise. He may not be aware of the existence of the coupons, so make it easy on yourself and let the dispatcher know ahead of time.

    I agree that Promenade is reliable, clean, and professional, usually sending spotless, respectable cars. (Though I do giggle when I think of one notable exception a couple of years ago: I had some rather stuffy relatives come in from out of town, and Promenade picked us up from the RIver Cafe in an ancient, wheezing station wagon with at least two colors of paint, no air-conditioning, sprung upholstery, and redolent with cigar smoke and other smells of ungenteel provenance, along with an equally picturesque and odiferous driver.My very formal uncle pretended not to notice anything amiss as he heaved himself across maroon naugahyde oozing yellowing foam through its gaping wounds: he didn’t bat an eye ). If you don’t mind the occasional peculiar vehicle, though, I also recommend Family Car Service—they are out in Park Slope but will often pick up in the Heights. They are absolutely dirt cheap, hands down, the best bargain in town. The drivers are for the most part delightfully pleasant, courteous, and the cars are clean if sometimes eclectic. There is the occasion language barrier (Spanish) but it’s usually nothing unworkable. Another “I-remember-when” yarn: the car services originally evolved in the Heights and around Brooklyn because yellow cabs would rarely if ever venture across the bridge from Manhattan. If anyone read Jonathan Lethem’s book “Motherless Brooklyn”, his description of the shady car service in Cobble Hill is frighteningly accurate to anyone who lived here in the Abe Beame ’70’s. Colorful characters, to say the least, but I’ll take an air-conditioned town car over “interesting” car service any day, certainly in this heat.

  • Robert

    I take a car service regularly (almost every week) from downtown Brooklyn to the area airports. I started using Cadman Car Service, but they failed to show up after just a few successful trips.

    I moved to Arecibo and they were great for a couple months, but I’ve recently had problems with them. Three of the last four pickups that I requested has ended up as a no show. When I called, I was told each time that the “car was already there and left”. I think this is the standard response for no-shows (sounds better, I guess, than “I have no idea”).

    You can’t develop a relationship with Arecibo and you can’t even make reservations (call 5 minutes before I was always told). They’re a good choice if you forgot to reserve a car, but I really need a service where I can reserve a car and feel confident that they’ll either show up or call me if there’s a problem. I don’t mind paying slightly more and having a little less stress.

    Any suggestions??

  • PJL

    Great idea; hope to see something like this for more neighborhood services/businesses (e.g., dry cleaners, mechanics, etc.). I’ve used Prominent several times, reserving in advance, and they’ve always been prompt/courteous. They do seem to be slightly pricey though….

  • Del

    I used to use Cadman (or Heights Car & Limo, or whatever passport they’re going under these days), and they were fine–until the day they were late picking up my mother to go to the airport (when she called, the dispatcher kept saying they weren’t there yet), and when she went downstairs to look, the driver verbally abused her, claimed that she was 15 minutes late, and then proceeded to charge her a “waiting fee.” BTW, this last insult was delivered curbside at LaGuardia, where the driver locked the doors and held her hostage until she paid up. Do not use this service unless you want to find yourself dialing 911.

  • Matt

    I think court express on court st is a great car service. I always call them whether i am in the heights or Carroll Gardens, they always come and on time. I do have to say the drivers are a bit talkative sometimes, but nice and friendly. They are especially good with reservations. I usually make my reservations online with them. They call you to confirm rite away and then they call you the day of your pick up.

  • Carmen

    I am relieved to see what Del above wrote. I am shocked by the behavior of the these drivers. A cadman driver went down a one-way street the wrong way and when I told him, he called me a f@%*ing bitch and threatened me. Dangerous driving, aggressive yelling, and verbal abuse is not a way to keep a business going. The driver’s plate that threatened me is T492340C. I really hope they go out of business.

  • another jen

    Here are some bad experiences I’ve had with Cadman!
    – “waiting fee” (they showed up 15 mins before I had reserved the car, I fought this but got it back as a credit)
    – rude! I went in the storefront to ask about a price on a rainy night, declined because it was too high, and as I left they were like “Good luck with that! hahaha!”
    – cloud of pot smoke from the back room where a driver came out.

    That being said they have a couple of fantastic drivers, but not worth it.

    Family is good when you can get through, and my pick is Arecibo even though they’re really abrupt on the phone and often hang up while you’re asking the price. Carless beggars in a rush for the airport can’t always be choosers, eh?

  • another jen

    sorry to continue my rant but when I called to complain about the waiting fee to Cadman, they kept calling me “Sweetie.” You gotta be kidding me!

  • Mickey

    Cadman aka Riverside aka Heights Car has had signs saying “under new management” and/or “under new ownership” for about two years now. But until they get new drivers, the problems reported above will persist. I need to get to JFK on Wednesday — I’m going to take this all into account & order an Arecibo car! Thanks for the tips.

  • Jimmy

    Cadman needs to get rid of the toilet flower pot. Where’s the BHA on this?