You would think with the Olympics around the corner, taxi drivers would be taught some English.
But say Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Airport, Silk Market to a taxi driver in China and you'll get a blank look.
Give you a good trip. Decide what places you want to visit and look the place name written in Chinese on the internet. Get an A4 sheet of paper and copy the words onto the page making the words as big as you can and you should get 3 names a page.
Tear them in Strips and take them with you, hand them to the driver and he will be able to read it and take you to your destination.
Get a few business cards off your hotel that has the name in Chinese writing so agian you can get back.
Don't do this and you'll be like a ship at sea with no engine...going no where fast.
And always insist on using the taxi meter otherwise you'll pay 4 - 5 times what the fare should be.
Taxis are buy far the best way to get around.
Firstly, always insist on the meter, if they say 50 RMB chances are the ride will cost as little as 11RMB on a meter. You are a dumb westerner and you can afford more than the meter they think.
There are three types I found, the two toned honest ones, the Red fake taxi with suspect meters and the luxury black cabs.
Be prepared for the ride of your life as they drive fast, go through red lights, almost kill pedestrians and dart and weave with almost not a care in the world...words just can not discribe the driving skills, you will just see when you get here...but we did not see many accidents so I guess they are luck drivers.
The fares were so cheap I tried to tip well to make there day as most work 24 hours without a break.
beijing taxi's are cheap (compared to the rest of the world) and you will usually have no trouble hailing one except during rush hr and if it's raining.
just make sure you're not standing around a bus stop or near a police car, they'll usually hesitate to pull over as fines in beijing are very high on the cab drivers.
beijing taxi's start at 10 RMB for the first 3 km (about 2 miles) then it is 2 RMB/km
after the 15th km they will charge an extra 50% for the empty return trip and also an extra 20% btw 23:00-06:00
a trip from the airport to the city would be btw 60-120 depending on where you're going (beijing is BIG!) and you also need to pay for toll fees, so don't be surprised if you're final bill is higher than on the meter.
if you feel you have been ripped off, ask for the receipt and tell them you have been overcharged, mark down their license plate, the fine is pretty heavy if they overcharge you on purpose, but keep in mind, these poor drives are being exploited by the taxi companies and they usually need to work around 6 hrs everyday just to pay for renting the cab. So don't take advantage of them on purpose. if your taxi driver has been nice/helpful, tipping (even the change eg. giving 20 for a 19 rmb ride, "bu 2 yong 4 zhao 3 le 1" keep the change, makes their day!)is welcome and they appreciate it very much!
it is also a good idea to keep your receipts anyway, in case you forget something on the cab you can call the company and tell them the numbers on the receipt, they can call the cab driver and if you actually left it on the cab (not pick pocketed) you can usually get it back.
DO NOT TAKE CABS THAT DO NOT HAVE A METER! esp at night and if you are alone, they usually over charge you, and there have been incidents of women traveling alone getting hurt or robbed!
Taxis can be had cheaply, and are relatively easy to find.
Meter starts at 10 yuan, and is good for three km. Goes up from there in increments, which are stated on the passenger windows.
Taxi from the airport to downtown (Wangfujin) should run you 80 yuan: 70 for the drive, plus 10 for the highway fee.
You can hire drivers for the day, as well. Should cost you about 600 for the day.
The government has pushed all of the drivers to study English, because of the upcoming Olympics, so it should be relatively easy to comunicate with your drivers.
We found the taxi's to be a really convenient way to get around Beijing. The fare was very cheap and the cabs are metered so you just pay the fare on the meter. Most cab drivers are not going to speak English so you you should have someone at your hotel write down where you want to go in Chinese and take the hotel's business card with you which should have the name and address on the back in Chinese. When you are ready to come back, just pick up a cab on the street and give them the business card. That's enough to get you back to the hotel. We did this on a couple of occasions and it worked for us.
There are multiple bus routes into the city and there are also plans to extend the subway out to the airport. I took a bus as part of my tour, however I was said that taking a taxi is the easiest option but insist on the driver using the meter. If you already have a hotel booked, check if it offers an airport shuttle.
Informally hiring a taxi to get acquainted to the city is also an excellent idea. If you are lucky enough to find a driver who speaks a little bit English you can discuss the price.
Last time I went to Beijing I paid RMB500 for the whole day. Expensive? Cheap? I think it was reasonable because at that time was Chinese New Year. I also think between RMB400 and RMB500 is nowadays the market price.
I like Beijing taxi drivers because they are funny and possess advanced language skills, I mean, their local Mandarin is so peculiar (Beijing dialect) and they are so active and enthusiastic.
For you lao3 wai4 (foreigner) who doesn’t understand Mandarin, it won’t matter that much because there won’t be too much communication between you two. And even if the driver can speak a little bit of English you won’t realize and feel his/her true ‘charm’ because he/she is not speaking on his/her own language.
For those who are learning Mandarin: If you are learning Mandarin, take Beijing taxis more often, you will learn a lot with these guys, I am assuring you. Your oral Mandarin will indeed improve tremendously.
- When traveling by taxi if a toll is on the way you who must pay the fee (usually it only happens when you come or go to the airport).
- You will have to pay a 'waiting fee' if the taxi stops and waits for more than 5 minutes.
- If you take a taxi at night (between 11pm and 5am of the next day), the taximeter will automatically add an extra 20% to the fare price.
- If your destination is over 15 km (9.32 miles), you will have to pay a long distance fee in order to compensate for the return trip (even if you don’t return).
- If you are coming from the airport and your trip is more than 15 km (9.32 miles) long, an extra charge of 50% will apply for each additional km (0.62 mile).
- When entering a taxi you ask the driver to use the taximeter. You can even ask for a printed invoice when getting off as it contains its plate number, the company and the complaint telephone number, very useful if you have a problem with the driver or if you left anything inside.
- If a taxi isn't metered, the driver could be fined from CNY 100 to CNY 2,000, this detail can be very useful to you. In case the driver says the taximeter doesn't work, get off and take a different taxi.
- Although Beijing taxis have 'No Smoking' signs inside, many taxi drivers still smoke. If the driver smokes in the taxi or if he/she refuses to put it out, you can complain to Beijing Municipal Transportation Administration Bureau and the driver could be fined in CNY 100 or 200 (as a proof take a photo with your mobile)..
- If a taxi doesn’t have a license you simply don’t take it. You also reject those cruising taxis and the drivers who tell you the total charge of your trip in advance, they are illegal and will surely rip you off.
- At the Beijing Railway Station when you come out there are some unlicensed taxis around the station. They don't have taximeters. Ignore them, go out of the station square and cross the street, go to the COFCO Plaza (zhong1 liang2 guang3 chang3) where real and legitimate taxis are waiting for passengers.
Wherever you want to go you should bring a piece of paper with your destination written in Chinese. You should also have in your pocket the place where you are staying written in Chinese. The hotel staff can help you.
If you have kids, when you enter a taxi, you go first or your wife goes first and then your kids (bare this in mind, it doesn’t matter where, kids are always the last to enter a taxi and the first to leave it).
Taxi Companies' Hot Line Service: 010-68351150 / 68351570
If you take a look at the sides of the rear windows you will see the price by kilometer (0.62 mile).
The flag-down price in Beijing is CNY 10 for the first 3 kilometers (1.86 miles). After that distance, CNY 2.00 will be added for each kilometer traveled
Every time I go to Beijing my flight always arrives to Beijing late at night and then I have no choice but get a taxi.
Once you get outside the terminal some smart guys will approach you and ask if you need a taxi. Simply avoid these guys, they aren’t taxi drivers at all, they have a nice and comfortable car (the so-called cruising taxis) and the price they ask for is about the triple or more of the actual price. Besides, taxi drivers won’t leave their taxis to ask somebody if he/she needs one. Just ignore them, remember, they are illegal.
You just line up outside the terminal and wait for one. When you get in a metered taxi make sure (this is important) that the driver puts down the flag, otherwise, later they will apologize, smile, tell you that he/she forgot, give excuses, etc., and will ask you for a big amount of money (be careful).
And it is better to show the destination address to the taxi driver written in a piece of paper and make sure it is clear and detailed (if written in Chinese as well will be much better). You can also at the same time show him/her the location marked clearly on a map. Believe me, these suggestions might save you a lot of troubles.
The fare to midtown Beijing is around RMB70 plus RMB15 for the highway toll. Tipping it’s up to you.
The traffic is horrific . Bumper to bumper with rush hours lasting for several hours. The city is springing up before our eyes .huge new skyscrapers everywhere. We were told there are a million extra people in this city of 16 million working on pre Olympic projects.
PLan on lets of extra time for travel anywhere around the city and expect delays!!
All Beijing taxis are metered so you pretty much pay for how far you wish to travel.
However, compared to the Subway and the public buses, taxis are a rather expensive way to travel, based on Beijing's living standard of course.
Pray of course, that you do not run into peak hour traffic as well!
If you need a taxi during the peak times, try not to ask your driver if he/she knows the adress you are heading to till you are in, if it´s very close they´ll refuse to bring you, and at least if you are in will be a little bit more difficult.
However you´ll be forced to close a fix price, it will be difficult to convince them to turn on the taxi meter, they´ll prefer to tell you that they don´t know the place where you want to go.
Taxis are cheap and very safe but most taxi drivers don't speak English. Have your destination written down in Chinese (your hotel may be able to help you) and a map may be useful as well. Make sure the meter is on as well.