Beijing Travel Essentials: Taxi
Beijing taxis are comparatively cheap. At present taxi is an economical and quick way for visitors to get around Beijing especially if you are in a group of three or four people. Prices were hiked in May 2006 and may rise again in the not too distant future.
Be sure the driver starts the meter (rarely a problem!) and remember that drivers do not expect a tip (though they usually don't refuse).
Little English is spoken by taxi drivers so try to have the destination printed in Chinese characters to prevent misunderstandings. Pointing at a travel map can also help.
You may get away with saying the address in Chinese, if you know it, however, many drivers do not appear to think laterally with foreigners using Chinese, so your great language skills may fall on deaf ears. Taxi cars range form aging red Citroens to more spacious and salubrious Hyundais.
Beijing Taxi Driver China Mash Photos
Taxis can be recognized by their yellow stripes on the sides and should have a meter, which should be turned on and produce a receipt (which records the taxi's number) at the end of your journey, often with some words of thanks and advice to pay the driver spoken in English by the meter machine.
The cab should also contain a registration document with the driver's name, his/her picture, registration number and a phone number for complaints.
Except for the morning and evening rush hours, you should have no problems finding a cab and progress around town is reasonably swift. Driving standards are by western standards reckless to say the least. Wear your seatbelt. Say "Ni hao" when you get in and "xiexie" when you get out. Tipping is not necessary, unless you want to. This is not London or New York. Taxis in Beijing are supposed to be non-smoking.
Taxis can be hired for trips out of town, by the hour or for the day. If you find a driver you like and trust, ask for his mobile phone number and contact him or her again. Daily rates start from around 400 RMB (approx 57 USD).
Beijing Taxi Fares
a) Flagfall 10rmb for the first 3km, then 1.6rmb/km
Taxis from the airport in to the center of Beijing usually cost around 70+ Renminbi (if the driver is taking his time and the fee has been agreed beforehand). Fares to the airport can be 100+ Renminbi if the fee has not been agreed and the driver tries to hurry along the meter by driving like Michael Schumacher.
There are over 60,000 taxis in Beijing driven in shifts by 130,000 drivers, who rarely have time to take a day off. There are plans to reduce this number to 40,000 taxis when the new Beijing subway lines are in operation in 2008. We'll see.
Beijing taxis are cheap and efficient
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