Travellers vote HK taxis third best in world
Hong Kong taxis are the third best in the world, behind London and New York, a poll of tourists by a hotel agency has found.
The survey by Hotels.com, for which nearly 5,000 travellers in 23 countries were interviewed, found 28 per cent liked London taxis the best. New York cabs won 9 per cent of votes, followed by Hong Kong with 7 per cent.
Tourists were especially impressed by Hong Kong cabbies' knowledge of the city and the cleanliness of the taxis, the survey found.
While London and New York have been in the top two places for four consecutive years, it is the first time Hong Kong has made it to the top 10. Local cabbies attributed the improved service to higher fares and younger, better-educated drivers.
'With the increased flag falls and better economy, taxi drivers are earning more, so they are happier in their jobs and provide better services to their passengers,' Lai Ming-hung, chairman of the Taxi and Public Light Bus Concern Group, said.
He said cabbies were now earning HK$400 to HK$500 a day, compared to HK$200 when the financial crisis hit in 2008.
Lai said some taxi drivers would need to become friendlier and avoid cheating tourists, to further improve their impression of Hong Kong taxis. 'Some drivers are cheating tourists by starting their meters long before the tourists get in from airport terminals. This has to be curbed.'
Wong Wing-chung, chairman of the Northwest Area Taxi Drivers and Operators Association, said the city's cabbies had been offering a good service, and the quality had improved in recent years as they had faced competition from cheaper operators.
'There were times when business was not good and we had to be friendly and helpful to our passengers to fight back. This then became a habit,' he said.
Wong, who has seen an increase in tourists taking taxis over the past two years, said there were more younger drivers now, and as they usually had higher education levels they were able to communicate better with tourists.
He said the industry was looking for more comfortable cars to further improve the quality of service.
The survey also found Hongkongers rated taxis in Guangzhou to be the worst in terms of safety, quality of driving, cleanliness and availability.
New York cabs were named the most available but their drivers worst for geographical knowledge, while taxis in London, where the minimum fare is GBP2.20 (HK$28.30), were rated the most expensive.