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Taxis are a great choice for traveling short distances throughout the city, and fares are relatively low, but must be paid in Hong Kong dollars. They are available for passengers will have a red FOR HIRE flag raised in the windshield during the day, and a lighted TAXI sign on the roof at night. Taxis are easily hailed in the street, but they can’t pick up or drop off passengers in restricted areas marked with double yellow lines.
At peak hours, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., opt for a taxi stand, located at bus terminals and hotels. Not all drivers speak English, so it is a good idea to have your destination written down in Chinese or ask someone at your hotel to tell the driver where you would like to go.
Red, Green and Blue Taxis
Taxis come in different colors to indicate their area of service: Red (Urban) is for most of Hong Kong, except for Tung Chung Road and the south side of Lantau Island; Green (N.T.) is for the rural areas of the New Territories; and Blue is for (Lantau Island). All cars can go to and from the airport.
For more information related to cost of using Hong Kong's cheap taxi services, visit the Hong Kong Transportation Department website.
Payment and Tipping
Most taxis accept cash only, although a small number have recently installed octopus scanners on a trial basis. Credit cards are not accepted. The driver may not have sufficient change to break a 500 or 1000 HKD note (and not required by law to do so), so have smaller bills on hand.
It is customary to round up the fare to the next dollar when you pay. It is not necessary to tip more, although drivers would certainly appreciate the additional tip.
While most taxi drivers are law abiding and honest, there are some bad apples around. So be cautious when hailing a taxi.
Taxi Driver Identity Plate
The law requires a Taxi Driver Identity Plate be mounted securely on or against the dashboard to the left of the taximeter flag unit and facing the front seat passenger.One should not board if no such Plate is displayed.
Universally Accessible Taxis
If you are a wheelchair user or you are travelling with one, you may consider booking a Diamond Cab. It mainly runs in the Kowloon region but is also available at other areas for a surcharge. It can accomodate two wheelchairs and has a contractible electric ramp at the back. More information can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or through your travel agent/ hotel.
If you plan to stay on Hong Kong Island and/or Kowloon only, renting a car may not be needed due the close proximity most local destinations within the city are to each other. Hong Kong has an excellent public transporation system between the MTR system and extensive public bus coverage. In built up areas parking can be a problem and the public car parks may not be ideally located for your destination. Most hotels also do not have any car park facilities so it may be a problem leaving your car somewhere overnight.
Renting a car is more convenient if you are staying in or are planning to visit The New Territories. There are some very nice drives and you can reach parts that are not covered by public transport. As car rental is not very popular, there are only a few companies offering the service. From the international providers, only Avis or Hertz have offices both in Hong Kong and Kowloon. Some hotels can also assist you in renting a car from one of the few local operators.
Always check the car carefully before driving off for scratches and bumps and if available take an excess reduction policy.