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Taxis in Beijing: Fares, Taxi in Airport, Taxi outside Hotel...

Beijing is a huge city and the sights are very spread out and not all of them are within walking distance of the metro. Finding a taxi in Beijing is usually not a problem, but reading as much as information can not only ensure you a comfortable and easy ride, but also ease your worry when arriving in a strange city.

Taxi in Beijing

How do I Differ the Legal and Illegal Taxis

You probably have read a lot of threads on Beijing taxi and various scams have been mentioned, but they usually happened before 2008 Beijing Olympics. They did not apply to Beijing presently any more.

Official taxis are very easy to spot with their two-toned livery and big "taxi sign" on the roof. There are still some older red taxis and black taxis, though. They all have number plates beginning with 京B and will display the driver’s license number and photo ID on the passenger side dashboard in addition to having the company’s name printed on both front doors. Also, the tariff is properly displayed in a red oval sticker on the rear door windows.

Always ask for a receipt, or "Fa Piao" in Chinese, which is printed directly from the meter, which should also be clearly visible. If you have any problem, use the information on the receipt to report lost property, for example, or as proof to lodge a complaint via your hotel’s concierge.

Taxi in Beijing

How Does a Taxi Charge?

All taxis in Beijing are metered and fares are 2RMB per km with a base rate 10RMB for the first 3km. Journeys in excess of 15km attract a rate of 3RMB per km for that portion above 15km. Currently there is a 1RMB fuel surcharge added to all fares above 3km. Night rates (11pm-5am) are 20% higher with a base rate of 11RMB.

When get on a taxi, make sure that the driver turns on the meter. In the front of the cab, there is a card displayed with the taxi driver’s license number. If he pulls anything funny, make a show of writing this number down. You can use this number to report them, and doing this is usually enough to get them to change their tune. Sometimes there is a business card in the cab that you can take that has this number on it.

Tipping is not necessary or expected. It helps to have small bills, since taxi drivers will sometimes not have enough change for a 100 yuan bill.

Taxi in Beijing

Can I Use a Taxi outside my Hotel?

Yes!

In Beijing, Subway is cheap, but taxis are also cheap. Besides, the taxis are faster, and with a taxi you will see more of the city, while with the subway you will see more people packed together.

Usually, the concierge at your hotel will always provide you with a "Please take me to" card with your destination in Mandarin. Get one for your hotel also and you will always return the hotel safely. Most hotels have taxi cards available with major tourist destinations written in English & Chinese. Your hotel doorman can help you translate to reach an agreeable price.

If you find a good/honest taxi driver and need to make an extended journey, try to book them for the whole day at a flat fee off the meter.

Taxi in the Airport

Take a Taxi to Your Hotel from the Capital Airport

Airport: Do not make contact with taxi touts at the airport, or anywhere else for that matter. Go straight to the taxi queue. Do not pay the fare prior to reaching your hotel. There are scams whereby you buy a “ticket” to a taxi that will take you to the hotel. Fares from airport to downtown hotels cost between RMB100 – 180 MAX, one toll fee inclusive.  Insist the driver drops you off at the main entrance of the hotel and not the street. Most hotels have entrance security cameras capturing all taxis’ numbers.

Cheats will try to drop you off the street to avoid being detected. Before boarding a taxi, go to the help desk or approach any hotel’s airport staffers and get the hotel’s name written in Chinese.

Only use a taxi from the official taxi stand and do not accept a ride from anyone who is not seated in the driver’s seat of the taxi. I was quoted 300yuan by a tout and the ride in an official taxi was only 80yuan to my hotel.

Taxi in Beijing

If I will not get a taxi at all because of the rush hour and heavy traffic?

Rush hours in Beijing seems never to end. Most of the day, but I find that the traffic while heavy, still moves at a good pace.

Sometimes it seems hard to get a taxi because they are all occupied. In that case cross the street and stop one that is going in the other direction.

Beijing has 60,000 taxis, while New York has 13,000, so the taxis are easy to spot, do not worry.

More Taxi Tips

* When getting into a taxi after a big shopping day you may want to write these down in case you leave something in the taxi. These details are also printed on the meter receipt. You can flag taxi’s down or wait at one of the designated pick up zones.

* The only thing I sometimes notice is that if the meter is about to flip that they will try to stop a little further to get that extra RMB. Just pay attention.

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