Taxis are very rarely the cheapest way of getting around a city. But exactly how not cheap they are varies pretty widely – and not necessarily in the way you'd expect.
The data in this infographic, produced for us by Statista, is taken from the UBS Prices & Earnings report, an annual survey that the Swiss bank pumps out to show how global and clever it is. It shows the average cost a three mile (5km) trip in selected cities around the world: the bigger the bubble, the higher the fares.
Often, with pricing measures like this, you'd expect a clear correlation with wealth. The richer the city, the higher the fares.
And, at the extremes, that’s what you get. The cities where fares are highest – Oslo ($32.10), and Zurich ($27.59) – are located in two of the richest countries in the world (Norway and Switzerland respectively, but you already knew that). By contrast, the cheapest fares on the map – Kiev ($1.59), New Delhi ($1.54) – are located in relatively undeveloped Ukraine and India.
In between that, though, thinkgs break down a bit. At $7.31, the price of a three mile journey through Tokyo is barely half the price of many comparable developed world cities. And rich Hong Kong ($3.65) is still cheaper to get around by cab than the Chinese capital Beijing ($4.42), despite the fact the former has had a developed economy for longer.
Fares in London look surprisingly low on this measure – at $10.09, cheaper than any other city in Europe or North America. What gives, one may wonder? (At least, one will, if one has spent any time there recently.) $10 is about £7 – surely that can't be the price of a three mile black cab ride?
Well, no, it isn't. Three miles is about the distance from Paddington to Vauxhall. According to the helpful and informative TaxiFareFinder.com, that journey would set up back nearly £19, before tip.
That’s because the UBS data clearly includes other types of taxis too – minicabs, Uber and so forth. In other words, London is only so low because its taxi market is so competitive. Despite what the LTDA may wish us to think, a proper black cab still represents terrible value.