How to get a taxi in Beijing?

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Beijing is serviced by a huge fleet of taxis with three basic price ranges: 1.20 RMB, 1.60 RMB and 2.00 RMB. Each price range of Beijing taxi uses a particular type of car. Identify the type of Beijing taxi and know the price. Small red Xiali’s are 1.20RMB; Citroen and Volkswagen are 1.60RMB; larger black sedans are 2.00RMB. Price is posted in the rear window also.

Step 1

Find a taxi stand. These are easy to spot. The taxi drivers will try to hustle a visiting Westerner outside the airport so know the price before getting in. Check the fare price on the rear side windows. The taxi meter should be running at all times, and the driver should print a receipt. If there are problems (which are rare), they can be reported to the local authorities. The trip from the airport should cost between 70 and 100 RMB.

Step 2

Stand on the curb, hold out a hand and wave down an available taxi. Do not stand along busy streets where it is impossible for the driver to stop. It is illegal to block traffic flow and drivers will pass by. It also helps if a visitor knows the direction to their destination and stands on the correct side of the road. This makes the trip quicker and less expensive.

Step 3

Ask a hotel clerk to call a taxi. Most Western hotels have taxis parked in front or just around the corner. At many Beijing hotels, the shortage of available parking leads to drivers carefully picking their way down the sidewalk area to come right to the door.

Step 4

Walk over to a tourist area. The tourist areas and Western hotels are the very best places to find readily available taxis. There may be more of the higher price taxis waiting, but if it is a particularly hot summer day, the better air conditioning is worth the extra RMB.

Step 5

Approach a taxi outside a local restaurant. The driver will soon appear if he is available for a fare. Taxi drivers in Beijing often work 12-hours shifts, and each taxi is on the road day and night. If a taxi driver is eating, he may be willing to forgo the second helping to grab a fare. Do not be concerned if a driver refuses after he sees where you are going. In the busier traffic areas it is very difficult to get a parking spot and only a long fare will dislodge a driver from his spot in line.

Step 6

Hire a taxi for an entire day (about $120). The driver will wait and take visitors anywhere in the city and also out to the Great Wall. The overall price will depend on the size of the taxi and the length of the hire. The cost would be between $175 and $350 (limo) for a day trip to the Great Wall at Badaling.