Taxis that do not have a sticker in the back window saying:
1.20 or 1.60 or 2.00
are NOT legitimate taxis. However, if you have an idea of how much it costs to get somewhere, negotiate with the driver BEFORE you get in the taxi. We negotiated with a non-regulated taxi driver and he took us back to our hotel from Summer Palace for LESS than what we paid to get there in a legitimate taxi.
Rickshaw drivers tried to rip me off twice, first time by claiming he was to be paid in american dollars instead of the local currency Yuan. The second time I dealt with this before we left and agreed on the price in Yuan before we left. When we arrived at the hetel he anted to charge us double as ther were two of us in the rickshaw and he saidthe price was just for one
Unique Suggestions: Always get a price before you leave. Always get it in local currency, and always find out if it is per person.
Fun Alternatives: taxiis if possible, just make sure they turn the meter on when you get in or walking
When entering a Beijing taxi and the ride starts, always ask the driver to turn on the meter. Otherwise you'll end up paying at least 30% higher price.
However, even if you do this, there can be unpleasant surprises. OK, this one is rare, but we encountered it.
Near the Summer Palace, we were approached by a driver who offered his services (which they usually don't do - they're constantly on the move). His car was black Volkswagen (not red, as most Beijing taxis) and had no stamp stating the price per kilometer (they always have one on a window). Nevertheless, he had a meter. The meter though was running in an accelerated rate; when we pointed this out, the driver pretended he didn't understand English (funny, he invited us in...). Anyway, we got out after a while.
Fun Alternatives: ALWAYS make sure the taxi has a blue label with price on its side window (1.20 or 1.60 per kilometer) AND a functioning meter.
When you head for the airport exit, it is likely that you'll be approached by pushy taxi drivers or dispatchers offering a ride to the city for ridiculous prices (350 yuan + ). They never forget to show some dirty paper which says "Beijing Capital Taxis" or something of the kind.
Just skip them! There are shuttle buses to the city centre as cheap as 20 yuan (or less), and an official taxi will cost you about 70-100 RMB.
Unique Suggestions: Bargain down the price. Quite possible. Just know that the target is 70-100.
But better continue to the exit.
Fun Alternatives: Official taxis, or the shuttle service.
In the official taxis, don't forget to tell the driver to turn on the meter.
In the main touristic places, you may find some smart taxi drivers who will try to negotiate the ride before you come in the car.
If you are not tired of negotiating yet, take your chance... but know that you will be paying much more that the ride normally worths, even if you think you have gotten a "reasonable" price.
Unique Suggestions: Try to lower down the price the more you can...
Fun Alternatives: If you foresee the "trap" coming, leave the taxi and go somewhere else and try to take a regular taxi (with meter!).
When you go to the airport by taxi, we have to go through the airport toll (10 RMB) and it is the passenger who has to pay for it. So, the taxi driver would just pay and then add 10 RMB to the taxi charge.
BUT some dishonest taxi drivers would ask 20 RMB saying that they have to go back downtown. Argue with them !!! They should only get 10 RMB !!!
Lookout for people "brokering" taxi services. They are not licenced taxis and you will pay too much. Real taxis have state issued plaques attached to the cars. Ask to airport personel where to catch a licenced taxi. I payed $45 for a ride from the airport the the hotel downtown. I later rented a taxi for the entire day for $20 through the hotel.
Fun Alternatives: Real taxis have state issued plaques attached to the cars and will show the fare class. Ask to airport personel where to catch a licenced taxi. I payed $45 for a ride from the airport the the hotel downtown. I later rented a taxi for the entire day for $20 through the hotel.
If you ever decide to take the taxi, be aware that the driver could try to fix the meter so he can charge you more for the fare. I have heard of a few incidents when Taxi drivers have tried that trick on tourists in China. Since most of the signs will be in chinese characters they know that you'll be more focused on finding your way around town and therefore vulnerable to trickery.
Bicycle rickshaw in Tiananmen Square. Offered to take two of us for a certain amount in RMB. When we got there he demanded the same figure in Dollars! I was very lucky to be with a Chinese companion who was both reasonably fluent in Manderin and very tough-minded! When the guy wouldn't accept her protestations that a figure had been agreed in RMB, she blew her top at him and launched into a pavement diatribe which I think included 'you are a disgrace to the Chinese race, you let all us Chinese down' and 'I am now going to ask this passer-by where the nearest police station is'.... Needless to say, the guy slunk away very quickly...
But, seriously, this was a one-off occurence. See my report on Tianjin for the more positive side.
I went with a Chinese Malaysian friend who despite the southern accent speak mandarin quite well. But we were cheated on taxi fare. The amount requested upon arrival was different from the amount thought to be agreed. So be careful.
Try and avoid taxis that are more than willing to offer you a ride from the airport to your hotel - they often overcharge and demand extra fees. If you need to take a taxi, get one from the official stand in front of the airport, left.
Using a taxi in Beijing is very cheap, but be careful they can also cheat you or if they don't understand where you wanna go they might just take you somewhere and ask you to pay...sometimes I felt that drivers didn't even know how to read the map....best way is to write down the place you wanna go in chinese or ask somebody to do it