The taxi, considered as 'the City Name Card', is the most direct way to get the feel for the city, the scale and types of Beijing's taxi. The taxi industry in Beijing is very well developed and you will find taxis everywhere in the city. At present, there are about 67,000 taxis in Beijing! The car types vary, and include Citroen AZ, Volkswagen Jetta, and Sonata; Elantra and Citroen AZ (Fukang) being the most common types. In Beijing, almost all the taxis are new cars, but the colors of the taxis under different companies vary: these can be green, red, purple and blue, and they usually feature a yellow stripe across the middle.
On the roof of each taxi, there is an indicator lamp stating 'TAXI', and a license plate starting with '京B' on the front of the car. If the taxi is unoccupied, the lever with the red symbol '空车 (For Hire)' in the middle of the front window of the taxi will be up. After you get in, the taxi driver will drop the 'For Hire' lever indicating the taxi is occupied. The rates are clearly displayed on each of the rear windows of the taxis, showing price by kilometer (per 0.62 mile). Inside the car, an official driver should display the Service Supervisor Card and his identification card displaying his photo, name, and company in the front of the cab.
Beijing taxi drivers are quite possibly the most ebullient group of people in the world. They are active and possess keen discernment and advanced language skills. The taxi driver, who along with his or her warm personality, is an excellent ambassador for presenting the rich culture of the city. Some taxi drivers in Beijing can speak a little English, while most cannot. When taking a taxi, we suggest that you firstly show a card to the driver with the name of your desired location written in Chinese.
Beijing Taxi Charge
The fare for a Beijing taxi ride is rated by taximeter, starting with the initial fee or 'flag-down price' of CNY 10. The flag down price includes an initial distance of 3 kilometers (1.86 miles). After the initial distance is traveled, an additional unit fare for each kilometer traveled is calculated and added to the flag down price. The unit fare is CNY 2.00 per additional kilometer. Take Santana 2000 for example: An initial fee of CNY 10.00 is charged for the first 3 kilometers (1.86 miles), and then CNY 2 will be added for each additional kilometer. Fares for the other car types are calculated in the same manner.
Waiting Fee: A 'waiting fee' will apply if the taxi stops and waits for more than 5 minutes (irrespective of the reason). An extra charge, which equals the fare for each additional kilometer, will be added, once for every five minutes interval.
Tolls: The passenger is responsible for any tolls.
Night charge: If you take a taxi at night (between 23:00 to 05:00 of the next day), the taximeter will automatically add an extra 20% to the fare price.
Long Distance charge: If your destination is over 15 kilometers (9.32 miles), an extra fee to compensate for the return trip (without a passenger) will be also charged.
For an airport taxis: If your trip is more than 15 kilometers (9.32 miles) long, an extra charge of 50% for each additional kilometer (0.62 mile) is required by the drivers.
Take a Taxi
When taking a taxi, you are quite within your rights to demand that the driver use the taximeter, and to ask for an invoice when leaving the taxi. The invoices are printed with the plate number of the taxi, the company and the complaint telephone number, and this helps to safeguard your rights or find your lost things in case you leave anything behind in the taxi. If a taxi is not metered, the driver will be fined in accordance with the seriousness, ranging from CNY 100 to CNY 2,000. Once the driver says the taximeter does not work, you should take another taxi.
There are 'No Smoking' signs in the taxis. The taxi drivers are not allowed to smoke in the taxi; as a passenger, you should not smoke and the driver will also discourage you from smoking. Once drivers smoke in taxis, passengers may take a photo by using mobile phones as evidence, and complain to Beijing Municipal Transportation Administration Bureau. The drivers will have to pay CNY 100 or 200 as a fine. If you are dissatisfied with the service, you may complain to the relevant administrative department. Taxi Companies Hot Line Service: 010-68351150, 68351570
Do not take a taxi which has no license. It is recommended that you should reject the cruising taxis and the drivers who tell you the total charge of your trip in advance of your ride for these taxis are always illegal. If you arrive in Beijing by train, there is a taxi rank just in front of the Beijing Railway Station. There are usually some unlicensed taxis around the station, which do not have taximeters, and may refuse to offer service if your destination is within the flag-down distance. If you encounter this problem, you should go out of the station square and across the street to take a taxi. Many legitimate taxis wait on the COFCO Plaza for passengers. In Beijing West Railway Station, taxis are berthed in the underground hall, queued up for passengers. These taxis are not allowed to refuse to serve the customers, regardless of distance.