No Ride Share Apps Here
The taxi situation in Iceland is not what it is anywhere else. I don’t think that ride sharing apps like Uber or Lyft are specifically banned, but there is about zero chance that anyone who can drive others would be willing to do so at such a cut rate price. A taxi driver who I have had several times has explained to me what it takes to be a taxi driver in Iceland.
Because of the time involved they would not be willing to give up their rather well off incomes to work for something like Uber or Lyft. My driver told me that most drivers are earning $6,000 – $7,500 as a starting salary, where he is making a little over $11,000 each month.
One thing you will notice immediately is that it will cost you 700 ISK ($5.22 USD) just to sit in a taxi. Often they will start the meter before you can even get the door open. So any extra time like loading your luggage in the car, or as they eyeball your phone for where you want to go for 30 seconds will start adding up quickly. You will also want to be waiting for your ride and moving to them quickly once you see them.
Once I had a driver go to the building next to mine and I didn’t see him. He sent me a message that he had started the meter. If you get a driver like this who has an attitude after showing up at the wrong place it will be rare as I’ve only had this happen once so far out of a few dozen taxi rides. I’d just let them keep the meter going if they wont clear it and call a different one.
If you can’t guess by the monthly salaries of the drivers, the fair is going to be expensive just about anywhere you go, just like everything else is in Iceland. A ride from the airport to town will cost you from $125-150. I am told that you can as for a flat rate with some taxi companies to go from the airport to town for only about $100, but I have not been able to confirm this. I suggest taking the bus from the airport to the bus station as it is far cheaper!
A ride that was 8.6km (5.3 miles) cost me nearly $40. Public buses are available, and the price per ticket is 480 ISK (about $3.50 USD). You just need to be willing to wait up to 30 minutes (Sunday schedules are the worst) for the next bus. Now you will understand why people are riding bikes and scooters even over ice and snow in the winter months!
As with any country you should always be on the lookout for potential scams or warning signs that things are not right. I’ve only ever heard of one person who claims they were in an illegal taxi, so they do not appear to be common.
Popular Taxi Companies
Phone 588 5522
BSR Taxi (Currently no app, but they’ve assured me since February 2020 it will be available soon)