Getting Around by Taxi
Taxis are CHEAP, and easily the best way to get around the city. Riding in a taxi is like riding in a rickshaw -- it’s always a roller coaster ride -- except some taxis actually have airbags. Grabbing a cab is easy, but telling your driver where to take you is certainly not. Be sure to know exactly where you want to go, and have your concierge write down the name and exact address in Chinese for your driver. Be prepared for a driver to refuse service by claiming that he doesn’t understand and pointing to another cab.
Fares begin at 10 CNY (about $1.50) for the first three kilometers, and 2 CNY for each additional kilometer. Like other cities, Beijing taxi drivers may decide to take the long way to raise the fare if they know you’re a tourist -- so bring a map and pretend you know what you’re doing. Also be careful to make sure your driver activates the meter -- usually once the cab starts moving. If not, insist on getting out and find a different cab -- they’re likely trying to rip you off. If you leave your gear in the cab, the only way to recover it is with a receipt (and even then it’s not likely you’ll see it again). The receipt printer is noisy, serving as a reminder to check for your belongings before you leave.