Taxi Rider is a game about driving a taxi and getting customers to their destination in time, similar to the arcade concept of SEGA's Crazy Taxi series. The player is employed by a local taxi firm set in the fictional Nijiiro, as well as the adjoining areas such as the residential Dream Hills, the Coast Amusement Center and Dragon Peak.
Unlike the Crazy Taxi games the goal is not to earn as much money as possible within a fixed time limited. Instead, a quota must be earned before the end of the shift and the ultimate goal is to earn one million yen. Each shift takes up a single day and can be set during the day or at night. By completing shifts various upgrades can be earned affecting the vehicle's maximum speed, handling or acceleration. The signboard can also be replaced, increasing the range in which customers can get in the taxi. New areas are also gradually opened up with way. Sometimes customers provide optional challenges such as transposed steering or reaching the destination without stopping.
The game's HUD shows the current time of day, profiles of the passengers, takings and the quote, the remaining time to reach the destination, a top-down min-map and the speed. A big red circle around the taxi shows when customers can get in and large arrows appear to show the general direction of the destination. At any point you can pause the game and return to the office. Compared to the Crazy Taxi games the pace is slower and it does not include tricks or stunts, with the exception of nitro boosts.