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Hong Kong - Taxis
Taxis in Hong Kong are color-coded. Their colors depend on where they are operating. Taxis are not meant to operate outside of their designated locations. There are currently more than 15,000 red urban taxis that are operating in Hong Kong and Kowloon. In addition to those, there are close to 3,000 green taxis in the New Territories and around 50 blue ones on Lantau Island.
Red taxis operate in most places in Hong Kong, except for the Tung Chung Road in Lantau Island. The new Territories are served by the green taxis while the blue taxis travel on Lantau Island. If there is a red taxi with a rectangle on its dashboard then it might be going to the other side of the harbor. In these cases, it might only charge the tunnel’s one-way cost.
Taxi fares in Hong Kong are metered. They start at HK$15 for the first two kilometers. After that, the price is HK$1.40 for every 200 meters. There are also tunnel fees and luggage fees, although the luggage fees are not mandated. Pets generally cost an additional HK$5. In the New Territories, fares start at HK$12.50 for the first two kilometers and are then HK$1.20 for every 200 meters onwards. It is not necessary to tip the driver, although most drivers will probably round up the fare.
It is legal to flag down a taxi on the street. To flag one down, you must place your hand in the roadway and wave. A taxi will not stop in a no-stopping zone which is characterized by a yellow line down the curb. If you need to get to Kowloon or make the return trip back to Hong Kong, it is suggested that you make a dipping motion with your hand. This symbolizes traveling under the harbor. If a taxi is out of service, the “out of service” light should be on.
There are organized taxi lines available at some locations. These are generally prevalent in tourist sites, shopping centers, and hotels. Most of these are orderly and just require you to get in line behind the last person and wait your turn.
Most taxi drivers speak at least a little bit of English. Those who do not should be familiar with the city and place names. It can be helpful to write down the name of the street or location where you are going and show it to the driver. In some instances, the driver might have you talk to the dispatcher if there is a communication problem.
It is suggested that passengers pay their fares in cash. In some of the newer taxis, credit cards are accepted. However, this is not always the case so it can help to have cash ready. Octopus Cards are not accepted by taxi drivers.
Some taxis may charge extra for luggage while others will not. Many of the taxis are attempting to be more accessible for the disabled. For instance, some have automated voiceovers for the hearing impaired. These alert the passenger to different things, including the amount of the fare and when their stop is approaching. Some of the taxis are handicap accessible as well and suitable for wheelchairs. More changes in taxis are expected for the future to make an even larger number more appropriate for the disabled.
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