Which cities have the cheapest taxi rides?

by on November 3, 2010 at 2:36 pm in Economics | Permalink

The ten cheapest are:

$0.90 – $1.58 Delhi, India
$0.97 – $1.28 Mumbai, India
$1.04 – $1.73 Cairo, Egypt
$1.14 – $1.71 La Paz, Bolivia
$1.17 – $1.87 Manila, Philippines
$1.22 – $2.03 Mexico City, Mexico
$1.23 – $2.94 Panama City, Panama
$1.23 – $1.68 Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
$1.24 – $1.86 Fez, Morocco
$1.29 – $1.94 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I am surprised that Panama City and KL make that list, otherwise it fits with the Bela Balassa hypothesis about cheap services in low productivity countries, or at least those with low productivity laborers at the margin, such as Mexico.  Panama City has quite a large percentage mark-up for time spent in traffic.  The most expensive rides are in Zurich, Switzerland and then Oslo, Norway.  I recall seeing a small pizza for sale in the Oslo airport, priced at $35.  The full list is here.

dirk November 3, 2010 at 11:12 am

Sure, but don't take the cheap taxis in Mexico City — take the more expensive car from your hotel. The cheap ones aren't so cheap once you average in the robberies.

Adam November 3, 2010 at 11:36 am

This post leaves out Chiang Mai, Thailand where taxis proper are pretty expensive, but also rare. Everyone gets around with rot daengs, which are covered pick-ups that roam the streets and act just like taxis but will take you anywhere in town for 20 baht/person (around $0.60), even if you're riding alone.

Rahul November 3, 2010 at 12:05 pm

@Arik:

You hardly saw any "liveried" taxis outside of Mumbai. There's plenty of taxis in the rest of India but they are hard to spot to a casual observer since they lack a distinctive color and a meter. The rates are negotiated on a per-case basis. In some cases you can distinguish them by their unique color of license plates (Transport authorities require commercial vehicles to be registered separately). But not the illegal ones.

The competition between taxis and auto-rickshaws is intense. The taxis have been steadily loosing business. The taxi-unions are strong and they have forever lobbied the government in retaining archaic laws: e.g. There is a north-south dividing line in Mumbai and auto-rickshaws are prohibited from going into "downtown" and surrounding areas by a archaic law.

Roughly the cost of an auto-rickshaw is half that of a taxi for the same distance.

S. O. November 3, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Most Chinese cities would easily make the top 10 (considering that even Beijing got to #11).

Rahul November 3, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Let people wax eloquent the virtues of the Scandinavian welfare states; but I never want to live in a country where a small pizza costs $35. I just cannot understand how people can enjoy living in such a place!!

kzndr November 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Damascus, Syria is also incredibly cheap. I’d put it in the Cairo range or lower. And, unlike Cairo, there are meters, making it easier to avoid the tourist surcharge.

iolanthe November 3, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Ammann is also very cheap.

As a matter of interest, why list the countries for all these places? If you don't know where Kuala Lumpur, Delhi or Oslo are I would have thought your geography is so limited that adding the country is not really going to give you any more additional information.

Roger Ong November 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Last time I was in KL, the taxi ride was nowhere near that cheap.

bartman November 3, 2010 at 8:18 pm

They have Dubai at $2.72 – $3.27, but when I lived over there, the Abu Dhabi cabs were about half the price of Dubai. I could get get a 3 km ride for about 5 Dirhams ($1.35), and sometimes the 20 km ride to the office could be had for $4.

Lombok, Indonesia was insanely cheap: a 20-minute ride from the airport to Senggigi Beach was 15,000 Rupiah when it was 10,000 Rupiah to the dollar.

spencer November 4, 2010 at 4:21 am

Shouldn't cab rides, like haircuts, be some function of the minimum wage that reflects the opportunity cost of the driver?

Rahul November 4, 2010 at 9:30 am

@IVV

Very true. Makes me wonder if the original American immigrants were very un-original or extremely nostalgic.

Steve Jobs November 4, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I am looking for cities that belong to those oil rich countries and compare their taxi prices with the rest of the list but haven’t found one. It would be interesting to see if their taxi prices would be cheaper since oil is cheap on those countries.

Marc November 26, 2010 at 10:42 pm

I'm not sure where he found the Ho Chi Minh City prices, but his pricing seems slightly outdated. I just returned from three weeks over there, and it seemed to me a 3km ride was about 50k VND, which is closer to $2.50. Probably a combination of local inflation and the fact that the dollar hasn't appreciated as much against the Dong as some other currencies, but still–it was more expensive this year than last by about 15%.

BTW Tyler–haven't seen many reviews out of Eden Center from you lately. You avoiding Vietnamese food?

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