Taxicab colours, Hong Kong – 香港的士

Despite red taxis are an iconic sight in Hong Kong, the fact is that each area and set of islands of the city has its area-based service with its own distinctive color code.


While sedan chairs were once the only public transport available in the colonial Hong Kong, nowadays they are replaced by relatively modern Toyota Crown Comfort, the very same model used in Japan (some even have the same automatic driver-activated rear door opening).

The red ones serve through Hong Kong‘s island, including the airport, except Tung Chung Road. They also have the highest fares, starting at HKD$22.

Photo by Neerav Bhatt, Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Taxis serving Lantau island and the airport area are blue, with a starting fare of HKD$17; the green ones run in the New Territories as well as a specific road in Lantau, and the starting fare at HKD$18,50.

Hong Kong has only a couple of scams involving their taxis, one needing a drunk foreigner and the other, of course, is about inflated toll fares. Be sure to check the readers (as below) when hopping into a cab. There are two sets of numbers on the meter, one for the fare and the other, in small numbers, is for the extras like carrying luggage and going through tunnels (there are tolls). Some drivers obscure the second reader with black tape and then punch in a few hundred extra dollars at the end without warning. Needless to say, this trick is done with unsuspecting tourists and inebriated customers.

Along with the taximeter, each driver has to have his/her taxi driver license on the dashboard, stating name and ID, and the fares in a yellow sticker, as seen above, although some drivers have their dashboard so pimped up that anything is hard to find..!

Photo by Mario Sixtus

As a closing, just mention that it is illegal for a Hong Kong cab driver to refuse to take you somewhere unless they have a valid excuse (smell, safety, hygiene, excessive intoxication…). If despite these preventions you suspect you have been had, call 999 (Hong Kong’s police number).

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