Transport fight club: Taxicabs vs Car rentals vs Ridesharing


It’s a great time for work and leisure trips, with more transport options now available to get from any airport to the nearest city centre. The true challenge now lies on which ride is the cheapest, safest and most convenient way to get enter a city from the airport. Is it the ever-reliable taxi, the personalised long-haul car rental, or the almost-instantaneous ridesharing service like Uber (or, if you’re in Asia, Grab or Didi Chuxing)?

GO Rentals, a 20-year-old vehicle hiring service based in New Zealand, presents a thorough analysis of each option. Taking a good long look at 85 cities across the globe – from Adelaide to Zurich, and everywhere in between – GO Rentals’ data ranks the cities based on price differences between each option, making it a particularly handy guide for first-time travellers to these places.

GO Rentals infographic
GO Rentals infographic on the best ride (note all values in NZ$), click to enlarge

So what’s the verdict? Well, ‘the best transport’ ultimately depends on the city. The data shows that Western European cities tend to have more affordable car rental rates than cab fare. The high-fashion Italian city of Milan is the best place to hire a car at £21.50, whereas a return taxi ride costs a whopping £144.74 (!). Car rental is also recommended when in Rome because it only sets you back £22.36, compared to a cab which costs £39.28 or even an Uber which costs £46.10.

What about its home country? GO Rentals ranked Auckland second in the list, at £106.97 per taxi compared with £19.18 per car rental; the firm notes that the difference is even greater than when it first published this report in 2014. This is also the same case for Christchurch, where a smaller price gap exists between taxi and car rental rates. Meanwhile in Australia, it’s only in Perth and Adelaide where hiring a car costs more than sharing a ride or jumping into a cab. In all of Australia’s other key cities, the average car rental costs £22.44, while the average cab fare runs upwards of £27.50 and the average ridesharing fee is upwards of £16.00.

On average, the Asian continent is a wildcard when it comes to all three transport options. The only Chinese territory with ridesharing in Hong Kong, one of few places in the world where it is less affordable to hire a car rental (a heart attack-inducing £104.40) compared to a cab (£26.03). Singapore is another island-city where it’s still easier to hail a cab or a Grab/Uber ride at less than £15.00 on average than to rent a car for £53.64, but this is due to national laws restricting and discouraging car ownership. By contrast, the other most expensive city in the world sees fares across taxicabs, Uber rides and car rentals at roughly the same point, at £46.59, £47.10 and £41.38 respectively in Tokyo.

The GO Rentals report has discovered that sharing a ride is significantly cheaper than hailing a taxi in many cities worldwide. For instance, a one-way cab trip is 163% more expensive in Birmingham in the UK than the same in an Uber car, at £40.59 in a taxi versus £15.42 in an Uber. But with the exception of select cities like London or Christchurch, it’s generally much cheaper to hire a rental car for the day.

GO Rentals also warns those who use its data that the report does not include additional fees like petrol, insurance and parking as these can vary by rental firm used, the city hired in, location within the city, and even the car model hired in terms of economy rates. It also recognises that hiring a car will incur additional cost, even if its report presents the most consistent data available for the countries analysed.

Read the full report with real-time currency updates at

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