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Beijing Taxi System
Taking taxi is a convenient choice when traveling in Beijing. Fees are charged according to driving mileage. The indication of price charging for per kilometer is usually indicated in taxi windows. Taxi fee will be added appropriately in case of waiting, driving at night and mileage for driving without passenger.
Taxis are the preferred choice for getting around, as they are convenient and are fairly inexpensive for travellers from Western countries. The only downsides are that Beijing's congested traffic often results in long jams, and taxi drivers are often recent arrivals from the countryside who do not know the city well.
Taxi models in Beijing
Vehicles used as taxis include the Hyundai Sonata and Elantra, Volkswagen Santana and Jetta (the old model, designed in the 1980s), and Citroëns manufactured in China. These taxis are dark red, or yellow top with dark blue bottom, or painted with new colours (see picture). Luxurious black executive cars (usually Audis) can also be found, usually waiting outside hotels.
How to get a taxi in Beijing
Firstly, knowing the starting fees
Taxis charge a starting fee of ¥10, and an additional ¥2/km after the first 3 km. Generally, the basic price is posted in the rear windows of each taxi.
General costing when taking a taxi in Beijing
Taxi meters keep running when the speed is slower than 12 km/hr or when waiting for green lights; 5 min of waiting time equals 1 km running. Outside of rush hour, an average trip through the city costs around ¥20-25, and a cross-town journey about ¥50 (for example, from the city center to the northern side of the Fourth Ring Road). Since 25 November 2009, there is a ¥1 gas surcharge on all trips. Note that this surcharge is not displayed on the meter, so if the meter says ¥18 the price is ¥19.
How to call for a taxi
Many taxi stands are set for people to call for a taxi. 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 is quicker and less expensive when you stand one the correct side of the road which is in the same direction to your destination.
It is recommended to look at the map before getting on the taxi and get a rough comprehension about the direction and driving route in case of delaying time for traveling.
When getting a taxi
Generally, for travelers who taking plane and will take a taxi to their hotel, there are many taxi wait outside the airport. Before travelers choose a taxi and get in, Check the fare price on the rear side windows.
Tips: The taxi meter should be running at all times, and the driver should print a receipt. Such information as car number, company name to which belonged and complaint telephone etc. are listed in the bill.
Hire a taxi for an entire day
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.
Always take the hotel name card with you. It has your hotel name printed on it in pinyin (Westernized letters) and written characters.
Before visiting Beijing, download or scan the Chinese names and addresses of several historic sites, shopping and other destinations and cut those into little cards to hand to taxi drivers. It is the easiest way to overcome the language barrier.