Why Are Taxis in Iceland So Expensive
If you have ever taken a taxi in Iceland, no doubt you want to know, why are taxis in Iceland so expensive?? You may already know that ride share services like Uber and Lyft do not currently operate in Iceland. To be honest I’m not sure that they’re banned, or ever will be banned. I only know the reasons why they will never operate on the island.
To start, if you want to be a taxi driver in Iceland you must take a course. This course will cost you 400,000 ISK. In USD that comes to about $2,775. Then after you complete this course you are able to then receive your license which will cost you another 175,000 ISK, or about $1,215 USD.
You might think that after paying out nearly $4,000 that you would then be ready to go and start driving people around. With Iceland being Iceland, and the bureaucracy they have, you would be wrong. This was really the fast and easy part.
The hard part is that you now need to find someone who already has a full valid license to sponsor you, and you will work for them. This can be a private taxi driver or this can be a company. Regardless of who you will work for you must have 4 years of driving experience total while you are sponsored. I am told that this can be 4 years straight, or it can be stretched out over many years if you only drive part time.
As you work for someone else that sponsors your license you will earn roughly 45% of what the car makes per day, with the other 55% going to the owner of the car. This is not to say that you cannot earn good money doing this. With my average taxi ride coming in around $40 USD each, this can really add up, even at 45%.
Once you have the required time in and you are then able to drive for yourself, what are the odds that you will undercut all of the money you have spent, and the years of experience required to get your license to drive for a company like Uber or Lyft? For this reason I really don’t see these ride sharing services ever offered because of the amount of money someone would lose by working for them.
I know this won’t ease the pain you feel when you see your taxi meter ticking away, but at least now you’ll understand why taxis are so freaking expensive in Iceland.
So, what are some ways to save some money without taking a taxi?
You can take the bus
The public transportation system works really well within Reykjavik and can take you just about anywhere you need to go in a fairly short time. Not to mention for a heck of a lot less than a taxi. Bus ticket prices 480 ISK (about $3.5 USD). You are given 75 minutes to use it again and again from the time you activate the ticket.
Taking the bus from the airport to Reykjavik is highly recommended unless you have more than 4 people you are traveling with. At 5 people it is about the same to take a taxi as it is to pay for the bus from the Keflavk airport. The Flybus ticket to or from the airport is 3,499 ISK (roughly $25 USD), per person.
You can rent a scooter
In the warmer months you will see scooters all over the city that you can rent for a fairly low rate and will get you places much faster than walking, and much cheaper than by taxi.
You can rent a car
Depending on what you need to do, and where you need to go, renting a car might be much cheaper than paying for a taxi. You can rent a car for under 50 Euro (plus gas), and you have it for the entire day. Compare that to a 8.5km taxi ride that cost me $38 (1 way).