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Taxi Tip 1
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Taxi Tip 2 - Meters and driver ID

Every Beijing taxi has a meter which, in theory, cannot be tampered with.  On the top of the meters is a big lever to start and stop it.  When the meter is off, the "For Hire" symbol appears in the window.  It is a small red sign, which lights up at night to varying degrees.  Some even have an LED version which really does light up quite well.

When you get in the taxi and agree upon where you are going, the driver should drop the lever thus taking the sign out of the window so other potential customers can see it is already occupied.  In the photo below left, the lever has been put down and removed from the window, the meter should then start.

At this time, the 10.00 RMB price should appear in the meter, 11.00 RMB late at night, around 11 or 12pm.  This price will take you quite some distance in Beijing, then the price will steadily increase depending on the Taxi Type you chose (see Taxi Tip 1).  If your meter does not look like the one below soon after you start moving it is likely it is not turned on. Start complaining.

If your taxi fare is above 35 RMB you must have gone a very long way.  The most expensive taxi ride you are likely to take is the 45 minute expressway journey from the airport to the city centre which might set you back 80 - 150 RMB depending on the taxi type and includes the expressway toll (about 15 RMB).  We've heard horror stories of people paying up to 400 RMB for this journey. 

Every official taxi should have his license prominently displayed in the front of the cab facing the front passenger seat.  If your taxi has no license displayed, we suggest you find a different taxi.

If the driver says the meter is not working you should also get out and find another taxi.  Also, do not use a taxi where the driver tells you the price of your destination before you get in.  In general, the most likely taxis to give you a fair deal are the ones speeding past you.  Just flag them down.  Parked taxis, who solicit customers, especially around major tourist sites, you should be especially wary of.  If a person walks up to you and asks you if you need a taxi, bluntly refuse, as this person most certainly represents a non-legitimate taxi.

When you complete your journey, the taxi driver will flip the lever back up and a receipt is automatically printed.  Take this for your records.

 

 

 

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