Hong Kong taxis

Hong Kong’s winning taxis

They might have put their fares up lately, but Hong Kong’s taxis are still the best in the region.
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Fans of Hong Kong's taxis at the Rugby Sevens (AFP)
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<div style="text-align: left;"> Fans of Hong Kong's taxis at the Rugby Sevens (AFP) </div>

The silver-and-red taxis that criss-cross Hong Kong island are cheap and abundant — and a big hit with our readers, who voted them ahead of their rivals in Singapore and Tokyo in last week’s web poll.

We were prompted to ask the question after seeing a Hotels.com ranking of the best taxis in the world, which placed Hong Kong and Tokyo equal third worldwide, followed by Singapore in fifth. London and New York topped the ranking.

The voting in our poll was slightly different, with Hong Kong out in front, followed by Singapore and Tokyo. We think that makes sense. Hailing a cab is far easier in Hong Kong than most other cities in Asia, and they are cheap (marginally less so recently) and generally get you to where you want to go, often quicker than strictly necessary. It also helps that Hong Kong is a small, densely populated city.

Singapore has that advantage too, but taxis there are more expensive, harder to find and beep annoyingly on the airport run. Queues can be oppressively long (and hot), hailing a cab from the street is apparently some kind of secret art and the drivers seem to fall asleep even more readily than their counterparts in Hong Kong.

Tokyo’s taxis are a pleasure to ride in. All three cities use the same model of car — the Toyota Crown — but the deluxe Japanese version seems like a different vehicle. A bit of cleaning makes a world of difference, as it turns out, though most people would probably pick a cheaper cab over a cleaner one if given the choice. And Tokyo’s cabs are definitely not cheaper. They are also not always an easy option for visitors to the city. It definitely helps to know the route.

The Hotels.com survey revealed a couple of interesting findings about the Asian taxi industry: Hong Kong punters are the most generous, it said, with 48% claiming to always give a 20% tip, while Koreans are the least chatty, with 37% saying they hate making small talk.

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