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Taxi traps in Hong Kong

by anonymous

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1. Some things you ought to know about taxis

Since HK had the took over, quality of taxis service to foreign tourists for their Hong Kong tour are gradually declining. They are trying to cheat unsuspecting tourists by charging the passengers higher price than the meter, or simply insist on accepting US dollars to what's on the meter, etc. Or any variation to that. This is absolutely illegal! Do not give in, just pay what's on the meter in HK dollars, write down their license plater number, and demand for a electronic receipt. If they threaten you, just have your phone ready to call 999, HK police take this very seriously.

Another thing to be aware of is your luggage at the booth behind the taxi, there has been reports that sometimes when passengers left the vehicle after payment and about to retrieve the luggage at the back, the car took off! A very different kind of "Robbery". To avoid this, if there are two of you, have one of you still in the car while the other gets the luggage. If alone, that will be hard one, I guess if you are really paranoid, seat at the back together with it.

Unique Suggestions: Anyway, to solve all the above mentioned problems, when boarding the taxi, make sure they see you are copying down their license plate number, those "drivers" will be aware of you doing this, and may not be as brave to pull their tricks on you, although not entirely guarantee, but at least it is worth a try. Always appear calm, have your cell phone ready and remember, 999 can be a life line for any such situations in HK.

Fun Alternatives: in HK, all taxis MUST pay by the meter ONLY in HK dollars, absolutely no such things as haggling or sharing your rides with anybody. Walk away from any taxis that do not follow these rules.

2. Taxi Scam

We were ripped off by a taxi driver when we returned to our hotel. I suppose being westerners we were easy targets. When we got to the hotel the driver tried to charge us $300 for a taxi ride from Kowloon (famous Hong Kong sightseeing destination), which foolishly we paid. When using Taxis in Hong Kong we would recommend;

1. ALWAYS ( and this applies to other countries too) get your taxi driver to drop you at the main entrance of the hotel. If you are dropped at the side or back entrance there is no hotel staff member available to you if you have a problem.

2. Always have a card to show your driver where the hotel is, specifying a drop off at the main lobby.

3. Be suspicious immediately if the driver pops the boot and you have no luggage in there. In our case he drove off with his boot open, so we could not identify his number plate.

We still had a great time and you will too!

3. To Airport Express Station, not the airport

On your departure from Hong Kong (famous destination for China travel deals), the quickest and cheapest way to get to airport is by the Airport Express, no matter how much the taxi driver insists. However, the easiest way to get to the Airport Express Station in Hong Kong or Kowloon are by taxis. On that short ride, the taxi driver will try their best to convince you to take the taxi ride all the way to the airport with him.

Unique Suggestions: A typical single travel journey from either Hong Kong Island or Kowloon Airport Express Station to the airport is about $80-$100HKD. A taxi ride is about $300+, not including the bridge/tunnel tolls and any extras the taxi driver wants to rip you off on. The Airport Express is fast ~20mins, whereas depending on traffic, a taxi ride may be more than 1hour. You can check-in your luggage for most airlines at the Airport Express Station, so you only have your carryon on the ride to the airport.

Fun Alternatives: Tell the taxi driver some story that you have to get to the Airport Express Station, like you bought the Airport Express return ticket already, or you are meeting up with other people at the Airport Express station.

4. Taxi is not a taxi

When arriving at HK airport, a guy came up and said he'd take us to the taxis. When he grabbed a cart for our luggage and started pushing it, I figured he was a fixer (note: HK does not have taxi fixers like some other countries). We followed him and the taxi signs, but then he took a turn and went out toward the private car pick-up. There were a couple of vehicles with 'taxi' logos on the doors, so I didn't think anything of it. He loaded our stuff into a "taxi", wouldn't take a tip, and off we went. We were told a taxi from the airport to TST would be about HK$350. When we pulled up at the hotel, the driver asked for HK$1280.

Unique Suggestions: We said we wouldn't pay $1280 because we were told a taxi was $350. He said that was for a taxi, not a private car. He called the "fixer" and after arguing paid HK$980 (since we wanted our luggage back).

Fun Alternatives: If you're on this site, then you already know what the real taxis look like in HK. The HK International Airport site also has maps and photos of the cab stands.

For more via Hong Kong city guide.

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