There are taxi services in almost all big cities in the world. You are bound to find services for taxi, whether you are looking at the big cities of the developed world such as London, New York, Tokyo or Sydney — or the big cities of the developing world, such as Mumbai, Jakarta, Lagos or Cairo. But as you try to understand taxi transport in the big cities, one thing you come to learn early on is the fact that there are huge differences in terms of how the taxi services operate. Thus, if you are visiting a new big city, you need to be aware of the fact that the taxi services in that particular city don’t necessarily operate in the same way as the taxi services in the city you are coming from.
It is worth noting, for instance, that in certain big cities, taxis are metered: meaning that you pay for the distance you travel, as indicated by the meter on the dashboard. This approach can be a bit confusing for someone who is coming from a big city where taxi services operate in a different way.
In certain other cities, taxi fares are arrived at by negotiation with the drivers. Thus, in these cities, you just tell the driver where you are going, and the driver tells you how much the fare there is. In most cases, you are allowed to haggle: where the taxi driver will mention a certain fare, and you offer him a lower fare, and you finally come to some sort of understanding at some point.
It is further worth noting that whereas the taxi services in some big cities are very safe, there are other big cities where the taxi services are not entirely safe.
Also worth noting is the fact that whereas the taxis operating in certain big cities are very comfortable, the taxis operating in certain other big cities are not very comfortable. You also need to understand the very basic fact that the world ‘taxi’ has different connotations: and there are certain big cities where some types of taxis are actually meant to be shared. That works under a scheme where people who are going to the same destination get into the same taxi, and then they share the fare. Under this scheme, the taxi can actually turn out to be a minibus or a van: carrying as many as 14 or even 28 passengers per trip!
I have had the opportunity to live in several big cities of the developed world. I have also had the opportunity to live in several big cities of the developing world. And based on my experiences living in the said cities, I feel that I am qualified to offer some insights on the key differences between the big cities of the developed world and the big cities of the developing world.
One key difference between the big cities of the developed world and the big cities of the developing world is in terms of order and structure. You generally find that there is a lot of order and structure in the cities of the developed world, whereas the cities of the developing world tend to be rather chaotic.
Another key difference between the big cities of the developed world and the big cities of the developing world is in terms of cost of living. In this regard, the cost of living in the cities of the developed world tends to be much higher than the cost of living in the cities of the developing world. But then again, you have to appreciate the fact that the earnings of the people in the developing world also tend to be low. Thus you look at the cost of living in the cities of the developing world against the earnings of the people who live in such cities, you come to realize that the real cost of living in such cities is (proportionately) much higher than that which is actually associated with living in the cities of the developed world.
Yet another key difference between the big cities of the developed world and the big cities of the developing world is in terms of access to public utilities. This is where you find that there is generally better access to public utilities in the big cities of the developed world. Conversely, the access to the public utilities in the in big cities of the developing nations is generally poor. In terms of public utilities, I am referring to things like access to electricity, access to piped water, access to roads and so on. Actually, the big cities in the developed world go a step further, and offer access to utilities like wi-fi hotspots. This means that if you happen to be in certain big cities in the developed world, and you wish to visit the paycheckplus website to view your pay stub, you can actually do so using a public wi-fi hotspot provided by the government. On the other hand, the way things work in the cities of the developing world is such that you could even end up being unable to access something as basic as running water to shower with.
Getting around big cities can be an expensive affair. Getting around the big cities can also be a cost-effective affair. Whether getting around any given big city will actually be an expensive affair or a cost-effective affair for you depends on how exactly you choose to get around. This is to say that there are certain ways of getting around big cities that generally tend to be expensive. Then there are certain other ways of getting around big cities that generally tend to be cost-effective.
In my experience, for instance, it tends to be very cost-effective to get around the big cities using public transport, wherever possible. Thus, for instance, getting around a big city such as New York on the subway can be much more cost-effective than trying to get around the city on a taxi. Similarly, getting around a city like London by bus is much more cost-effective than trying to get around the city by taxi. The challenge is, of course, in the fact that not all parts of the big cities are served by the public transport systems. Thus, you tend to find certain corners of the cities that are not served by bus or train routes. Or, in some cities, you tend to encounter a scenario where there are no public transport services past a given hour at night… This can force you to opt for much costlier modes of getting around, such as the taxis.
Another way of getting around the big cities that is, in my experience (and by common sense) very cost-effective is by foot. For short distances, there is no harm in walking from place to place. You also get a chance to exercise while at it.
There are some cities that are designed to be friendly to cyclists, and in such cities, getting around by bicycle can be very cost-effective: especially in the cities where the option of renting a bike is open.
Of course, these things vary from city to city. It is best to familiarize yourself with any given city, as you try to figure out what the most cost-effective way of getting around that particular city is.