Fare value

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 October, 2011, 12:00am


Ever felt like you've been taken for a ride by Hong Kong's (usually honest) taxi drivers? IPhone owners can now install an app that will give them an idea of whether their fare is fair.

Taxi HK, developed by mechanical engineering student Caleb Chiu, simulates red-taxi meters and uses the iPhone's GPS capabilities to track the distance travelled by the user to calculate the fare. It also takes waiting time into account.

Although he points out the fares are purely for reference, Chiu is confident of the app's accuracy.

'After testing the app in many locations and in various types of vehicle, I found it is fairly accurate once a GPS signal is found. Some inaccuracies do occur, but these are due to the iPhone's GPS limitations,' says the 20-year-old, who is now studying in Britain. 'Given a good signal, the calculated fare will only differ from the actual fare by HK$1.50 to HK$3.

'Taxi HK is my first app and I wanted it to be useful and informative. But I also wanted to culturally promote the city in which I have spent most of my life,' he says. 'Taxis are among the iconic symbols of Hong Kong, in the way London has black cabs and New York has yellow cabs, but after speaking to many people abroad I discovered not many knew what they look like.'

Although the app currently only calculates urban (red) taxi fares, Chiu is creating updates that will work for Lantau (blue) and New Territories (green) cabs.

Grab HK Taxi at the iTunes App Store for 99 US cents.