Hong Kong taxi prices ranked 44th globally, higher than UAE and lower than Palestine

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11th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) According to data analysis, Hong Kong’s taxi prices rank 44th out of 95 regions worldwide. While it may not be as expensive as European and American countries known for their high cost of living, it is still more expensive than competitors such as Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

The last fare increase in Hong Kong taxis took place in July 2022, with an increase ranging from 11.5% to 13.8%. The current fare increase request is mainly driven by rising costs such as fuel, maintenance, and insurance, which have significantly reduced drivers’ income. It is also possible that after each fare increase, taxi owners raise the rental fees, thereby eating into the drivers’ earnings. So, is taking a taxi in Hong Kong expensive or not? According to data collected by Numeo, which compares taxi fares in 95 regions worldwide while considering different fare calculation methods and types, the average cost per kilometre for a 10-kilometre journey in Hong Kong is approximately $1.28. This places Hong Kong at the middle position, ranking 44th, below Palestine ($1.36), but higher than the UAE ($0.82), which gained attention due to the “Dubai Prince incident” and ranks 65th.

Unsurprisingly, Switzerland and Luxembourg, known for their high cost of living, top the list with prices reaching $4.43 per kilometre in Switzerland, which is 3.5 times higher than Hong Kong’s fares. Countries like Germany (12th), Australia (20th), the United States (27th), and the United Kingdom (36th) also rank higher than Hong Kong. Notably, Japan, a popular destination for Hong Kong residents, ranks seventh with a fare of $2.63 per kilometre.

However, there are some surprising results that challenge common stereotypes. Jamaica, a small country in Central America and the Caribbean, ranks fourth globally with a taxi fare of $3.24 per kilometre. The local taxi service mainly serves high-spending tourists due to the dominant tourism industry. In West Africa, Nigeria ranks 24th with a fare of $1.79, higher than both the UK and the US. Meanwhile, Venezuela, suffering from severe inflation, ranks sixth globally with significantly high taxi prices. On the other hand, Southeast Asian countries generally have cheaper taxi fares, with Thailand ranking fourth after Hong Kong at $1.1 per kilometre. Singapore, considered a competitor by the Hong Kong government, ranks 70th globally with a fare of $0.74, while mainland China ranks 83rd.

Considering the above results alongside Hong Kong’s high per capita GDP, the city does not seem expensive compared to other developed regions. Hong Kong residents have a relatively strong ability to afford taxi fares. However, why are Hong Kong people giving up on taxis? The taxi service in Hong Kong is well-known for its subpar quality, as even Singaporean media have written articles about it. Taxi drivers often provide various excuses for refusing passengers, such as considering the distance too far or too close or avoiding trips across the harbour, which leaves passengers feeling helpless.

Since Uber entered the Hong Kong market in 2014, taxi drivers have harboured deep resentment towards the company, frequently accusing it of operating “illegal taxis” with unlicensed vehicles. The police have taken action in response, conducting undercover operations in 2015, resulting in the arrests of five Uber drivers and temporarily suspending some of Uber’s services. In 2017, the police arrested 28 Uber drivers, convicting them of “driving a motor vehicle for hire or reward without a permit.” Their subsequent appeal to the Court of Final Appeal was also rejected. However, it seems that Uber’s reputation among passengers remains unaffected. In 2020, Uber introduced Uber Taxi, which reportedly increases driver income by 20-30% and offers free training courses to attract drivers. This initiative received praise from pro-China media outlets, with headlines such as “Uber has advantages, taxis should not rush to pick up passengers.” According to Uber’s data in 2021, over 216,000 individuals registered as Uber and Uber Taxi drivers, while Hong Kong has over 200,000 licensed taxi drivers.

Here are the top 50 countries ranked by the price of a taxi fare for 1km (Normal Tariff) according to NUMBEO:

  1. Switzerland – $4.43
  2. Luxembourg – $3.26
  3. Kuwait – $3.25
  4. Jamaica – $3.22
  5. Albania – $3.20
  6. Venezuela – $2.70
  7. Japan – $2.63
  8. Netherlands – $2.61
  9. Belgium – $2.61
  10. Mauritius – $2.53
  11. Qatar – $2.33
  12. Germany – $2.28
  13. Denmark – $2.18
  14. Malta – $2.17
  15. New Zealand – $2.13
  16. France – $1.98
  17. Austria – $1.95
  18. Iraq – $1.95
  19. Colombia – $1.86
  20. Australia – $1.86
  21. Sweden – $1.85
  22. Cyprus – $1.85
  23. Mexico – $1.84
  24. Nigeria – $1.79
  25. Costa Rica – $1.78
  26. Panama – $1.75
  27. United States – $1.74
  28. Uruguay – $1.69
  29. Saudi Arabia – $1.66
  30. Italy – $1.63
  31. Ireland – $1.63
  32. Finland – $1.63
  33. Peru – $1.62
  34. Norway – $1.59
  35. Chile – $1.59
  36. United Kingdom – $1.57
  37. Canada – $1.55
  38. Ecuador – $1.50
  39. Bolivia – $1.45
  40. Jordan – $1.41
  41. Palestine – $1.35
  42. Spain – $1.30
  43. Czech Republic – $1.29
  44. Hong Kong (China) – $1.28
  45. Kenya – $1.23
  46. Hungary – $1.22
  47. Slovenia – $1.18
  48. Thailand – $1.10
  49. Slovakia – $1.09
  50. Greece – $1.09

Please note that the prices listed are in USD.