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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Where is the cheapest — and most expensive — city in the world to take a taxi?

Clue: It's not the UAE, and we don't even come close

Ramon Peñas Jr / The National
Ramon Peñas Jr / The National

It's one of the first things you notice after you arrive in the UAE. After the sweltering heat and the impressive skylines, a cab ride through the city — depending on where you've come from — usually yields a remark from a newbie about how reasonable the cab fares are.

It might surprise you then, that the UAE is not one of the cheapest countries in the world to take a taxi. It doesn't even make the top 25.

If you're about to hop in a cab in Cairo though, you're in luck. The Egyptian capital has taken out the top spot in the 2017 Taxi Price Index, which ranks the cost of taking a cab in 80 of the world's most well-known cities.

Compiled by online car dealership Carspring, the European company acknowledges its methods aren't watertight — having gathered much of its data from official online websites for each city — but the results nonetheless tell a story many might have predicted.

A number of factors were taken into consideration in the listing — the cost of hailing a taxi, the cost per kilometre, the cost of waiting time, a typical fare for a taxi from the airport to the city centre, and even what car model is most popular with cab drivers — to assign a score to, and rank each city.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, major western European centres cluster around the bottom of the rankings with London, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Tokyo, Geneva and Zurich reiterating why you should be utilising the public transport networks in each of these cities.

However, if you're about to take a trip to Cairo — hail away. A trip to the airport will cost you, on average, Dh15.28, and the average cost per kilometre is just Dh4 - which is Dh15 cheaper per kilometre than in Zurich.

Mumbai, Jakarta, Bucharest, and Mexico City round out the top five places where taking a taxi won't set you back much more than a public transport ticket elsewhere in the world.

Coming in at number 26, Dubai is the only emirate to be included in the index.

Wedged in between Tallinn, in Estonia, and Budapest, in Hungary, Dubai earned it's spot on a variety of factors the index, most notably for its cheap airport to city centre fares and it's relatively competitive prices per kilometre.

At cost per kilometre, Dubai came in at number 20 on the list, with each kilometre costing passengers Dh2.05. However, it fared much worse in the initial hiring flag fall, with a steep average of Dh10.72 earning Dubai a fairly run-of-the-mill number 45.

Where the UAE does succeed, however, is apparently in the price of a trip from the airport to the city centre. In this category, Dubai comes in at an overall number 5 in the world, with a trip from Dubai International to the city centre costing an average of Dh30.2. However, the survey does not say exactly where in the city this bargain taxi fare will get you to, and it is assumed the Dh25 airport opening fare was not included.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London is well on its way to taking out the top spot as the world's most expensive places to take a cab. With an airport to city centre price tag of Dh263, and a charge per kilometre of Dh4.80, the English capital is in good company at number 75 on the list — beaten only by Helsinki, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Geneva and Zurich.

Coming in at a hefty Dh18.90 per kilometre, a whopping Dh255.10 from the airport to the city centre, and an eye-watering Dh301.8 wait time per hour - the Swiss moneymaking mecca of Zurich is more than worthy to hold the 'most expensive' title.

Unless you're in Tokyo that is, and only ever travelling between the airport and city centre, in which case avoid cabs at all costs — unless you can afford the Dh690.8 price tag.