On the meter: Where is the cheapest in Asia to catch a cab?

A taxi sits on the street in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Source: Phuong D. Nguyen/Shutterstock

ACROSS Asia, taxis remain a vital mode of transport for millions of locals and tourists alike. Even with rideshare app companies fighting legal battles with governments across the region, old school taxis don’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon.

As it turns out, many Asian cities are among the cheapest to get a cab in the world. A few, however, are painfully expensive. The newly released 2017 Taxi Price Index by Carspring, a UK-based online car sales website, ranked 80 of the most visited cities globally by how much it costs to get around by taxi.

The index ranks cities according to the standard price of a 3km-ride. It also compares the typical cost of a taxi from the airport to city center, initial hire fee, waiting cost-per-hour, as well as noting whether Uber is on offer and the typical model of cab in each city “to give you an idea of what you’re likely to ride in and how to spot an unlicensed driver.”

India’s largest metropolis Mumbai is officially the second cheapest place to get a taxi in the world (and the cheapest in Asia), beaten by a slim margin by the Egyptian capital Cairo. In Mumbai, hopping into a cab is stunningly cheap at just 42 cents. You’ll fork out a ridiculous US$1.44 for a 3km ride.

Getting all the way from the airport to the city center in Mumbai will set you back just US$4.44, as per kilometer it costs 32 cents and the waiting cost per hour is US$1.87.

Long down the list at number 78 – above only Geneva and Zurich, two of the most expensive cities in the world – is Tokyo, Japan. Here, a white-gloved driver might pick you up in a Toyota Crown Comfort but beware – a lift from the airport to the city will cost a jaw-dropping US$189.91.

A white-gloved driver might pick you up in Tokyo in a Toyota Crown Comfort. Source: Vassamon Anansukkasem/Shutterstock

Going 3km in Tokyo will set you back US$15.95 – much more than in London, Los Angeles or Melbourne.

SEE ALSO: Baby steps in being more affordable, Tokyo lowers taxi fares

Indonesia’s capital Jakarta comes in third, with its Toyota Vios Limo-driving cabbies charging around US$10.31 from the airport to the middle of town. Initial hire fee is just 51 cents, while sitting in one of the megacity’s notorious traffic jams won’t break the bank, costing only US$3.37 per hour.

The Thai capital Bangkok sits at No. 7 just above Kuala Lumpur (KL) in neighboring Malaysia at No. 8. You can expect to pay US$11.07 to get from Bangkok’s airport to the center, while in KL this is a bit dearer at US$19.68. Once in town though, getting 3km in KL will only set you back US$1.89.

Taxi in Shanghai, China, in March 2016. Shanghai is the largest Chinese city by population. Source: astudios/Shutterstock

It will cost US$2.09 to get 3km across Vietnam’s northern capital of Hanoi – ranked 10th – while in the Indian city of Bangalore ranked No. 11, it will cost US$2.17. For all their wealth, the Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai are ranked No. 15 and No. 17, a 3km-ride costing US$3.08 and US$3.52 respectively.

In Singapore, ranked 20th, a 3km ride costs US$4.01, while in Seoul and Hong Kong the same trip costs around US$6. Far pricier is hopping in a cab in the city at 48th place, Sydney in Australia, where going the same distance will cost you US$8.30; a trip from the airport will set you back US$38.22.

“We hope our research helps travelers prepare for safe, fun and budget-friendly travel in whatever ride best suits them,” Carspring CEO Maximilian Vollenbroich said.

This story first appeared in Asian Correspondent