London taxis ranked world's best, NY/Parisians the rudest

SYDNEY Fri Aug 6, 2010 2:29am EDT

Vehicles drive past a carbon counting sign on the Deutsche Bank building in New York June 18, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Vehicles drive past a carbon counting sign on the Deutsche Bank building in New York June 18, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - London taxis, with their friendly drivers who actually know where they are going, are ranked best in the world, according to an annual taxi poll.

The survey by travel website hotels.com found London taxis, despite being the most expensive, beat rivals across the globe to head the list for the third consecutive years, scoring a total of 59 percent in votes on several categories by travelers.

London taxi drivers were voted both friendliest and most knowledgeable. Drivers in the English capital must pass a rigorous examination called The Knowledge to earn their taxi license.

New York's yellow taxis came second in the list, scoring 27 percent which was up 10 percentage points from last year even though Manhattan's cab drivers tied with Parisian taxi drivers as the rudest.

Travelers said New York had the most available taxis.

Cabbies in Rome were voted the worst drivers in the world with almost one in 10 travelers thinking the Italian capital had the world's worst taxi drivers when it came to the quality of driving.

"Traveling by taxi is one of the first experiences that many travelers have upon arrival in a new city. In fact, the research found that cabs are by far the most popular method of traveling from the airport to their hotel," a spokesman for hotels.com said in a statement.

The global poll scored city based taxis for their levels of cleanliness, value, quality of driving, knowledge of the area, friendliness, safety and availability.

Rounding out the top five were Tokyo with a total score of 26 percent, Berlin with 17 percent, and Bangkok famed for its tuk-tuks scoring 14 percent.

Madrid's taxis were ranked sixth in the poll, followed by Copenhagen and Dublin with 11 percent and Frankfurt and Paris with 10 percent.

Taxis in Sydney fell short of the top 10, scoring badly in the areas of value for money, availability and knowledge of the area.

The survey for hotels.com, part of the Expedia group, was conducted among over 1,900 travelers between May 11-28 this year.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Dean Goodman)