Taxi is a cheap and easy and fast way to get around Sri Lanka. There are three types of taxi services available in Sri Lanka. The choice depends on distance, speed, and comfort.
- Three-wheel or Tuk-tuk
- Budget Taxi / Minicab
Three-wheel or Tuk-tuk
Tuk-tuk is the most popular type of taxis in Sri Lanka. Locally commonly referred to as Three-wheel, these vehicles are more suitable for travelling short distances.
You can find Tuk-tuks all over the country, both in cities and the countryside. There is a tuk-tuk park in almost all the junctions. There is a meter in most tuk-tuks. It is mandatory for all tuk-tuks to charge using the meter. But some occasions drivers preferred not to use the meter. But the travellers have the right to ask the driver to use the meter. It is always good to avoid tuk-tuks that don’t use the meter.
A three-wheeler can carry only 3 passengers. Even though some three wheel drivers will be happy to do it is illegal to carry more than 3 passengers. There are no doors, seat belts or obviously air conditioning. Max safe speed is about 50kmh. Due to the lack of safety, not suitable to travel with small children. Also should avoid travelling long distances outside cities where traffic is fast. Individual owners operate most Tuk-tuks. Should be cautious when travelling alone especially at night.
Tuk-tuk rate – LKR 50 for the 1st kilometre and LKR 32 from the 2nd kilometre. LKR 5 per minute waiting charge.
Budget Taxi / Minicab
Budget taxi services are operated using city cars such as Tata Nano or Maruti Alto. Those are popular in major cities such as Colombo, Kandy, and Galle. But can be difficult to find in rural areas. While safer and comfortable compared to tuk-tuks budget taxis are best for travel within cities. Not suitable for long-distance travel outside city limits where traffic is fast. Unlike tuk-tuks, budget taxis are equipped with air conditioning and seat belts. Max safe speed is about 60kmh. There are no standard rates for budget taxis but usually, all companies follow a relatively similar rate structure.
Budget taxi rate – LKR 100 for the first 2 kilometres and LKR 45 from the 3rd kilometre. LKR 5 per minute waiting charge.
In Sri Lanka, a Cab is a compact car or a van. Toyota Prius is the most popular car in this category while Toyota Hiace is the most popular van. While taxi cars are more popular in Colombo and other major cities, outside Colombo most cab services, use vans. In rural areas established cab services are rare. So most of the times there are only individuals who hire their own vans. There are no standard rates for cabs but usually, all companies follow a relatively similar rate structure.
Cab rate – LKR 300 for the first 5 kilometres and LKR 60 from the 6th kilometre. LKR 5 per minute waiting charge.