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While there are some 18,000 taxis in Hong Kong, heavy daytime traffic in Central and Tsim Sha Tsui means they aren't the best option. Outside these areas, or after dark, they're much more useful. Drivers usually know the terrain well, but as many don't speak English, having your destination written in Chinese is a good idea. You can hail cabs on the street, provided it's a stopping area (i.e., not on double yellow lines). The white "taxi "sign is lit when the cab is available. Note that it's sometimes hard to find a taxi around 4 pm, when the drivers switch shifts.
Fares for the red taxis operating in urban areas start at HK$18 for the first 2 km (1½ mi), then HK$1.50 for each.2 km (.1 mi) or minute of waiting time (so fares add up fast in bumper-to-bumper traffic). There's a surcharge of HK$5 for each piece of luggage you put in the trunk. The Cross-Harbour Tunnel, Eastern Harbour Crossing, and Western Harbour Crossing all incur surcharges of the toll plus HK$10 or HK$15 return toll. The surcharge for crossing the Tsing Ma Bridge over to Lantau is HK$30. Passengers must pay the toll amount for other tunnels and roads.
In the New Territories taxis are green; on Lantau they're blue. Fares are slightly lower than in urban areas, but while urban taxis may travel into rural zones, rural taxis can't cross into urban zones.
Passengers are required by law to wear a seat belt when available. Most locals don't tip; however, if you round up the fare by a few Hong Kong dollars you're sure to earn yourself a winning smile from your underpaid and overworked driver. Taxis are usually reliable, but if you have a problem, note the taxi's license number, which is usually on the dashboard, and call the Transport Complaints Unit.
In urban areas it's as easy and safe to hail a cab on the street as to call one. There are hundreds of taxi companies, so it's usually best to get your hotel or restaurant to call a company it works with. If you need to call one yourself, try Hong Kong Kowloon Taxi. Note that there's a HK$5 surcharge for phone bookings.
Transport Complaints Unit (2889-9999.)
Hong Kong Kowloon Taxi & Lorry Owners Association Ltd. (2572-0097.)
Road Co-op Lost Property (1872-920.)
Kowloon Taxi Owners Association (red taxi booking) (2760-0411.)
Lost Property on Taxis Hotline (24 hours) (1872-920.)
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