"Beware of airport taxis! (and Tips for Help)" China Transportation Tip by mke1963
China Transportation: 268 reviews and 211 photos
I have written elsewhere on VT that most Chinese taxi-drivers are honest and friendly, but the situation at airports has deteriorated so badly in the last two years that it is worth drawing attention to the disgraceful situation at nearly every airport in China. (The exception remains the extremely well-organised taxi set-up at Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport). The worst is Beijing, and the "improvements" here have actually made the situation worse!!
There has been a massive increase in unlicenced taxis operating at airports. People will approach you asking if you want a taxi. One "Bu yao, xie-xie" is not enough; these taxi touts seem to have congenital hearing problems.
If you wish to risk unlicenced taxis, remember that they will not be insured for carrying you and the fare may well change dramatically en-route. Many of these taxi scams start with you getting into a really nice VW Passat or Red Flag, only to be transferred to a decrepit old Xiali just outside the airport. (This is particularly bad at Xian Airport)
You will always pay more than you should.
In a normal taxi, remember the phrase "Da biao" which means "Use the meter".
At Beijing (and many other airports) getting a taxi at the airport for a short journey is a particularly unpleasant ordeal. The taxi driver will have queued for up to four hours to get a fare, and then you come along and only need a short ride. Insist on him taking you; they will eventually relent, but you will be subject to constant verbal harrassment throughout the journey. If it gets too bad, make a scene of noting his number (on a placard on the dashboard). Note that I don't entirely blame the drivers for this irritation, but Hongqiao has introduced a special 'short-distance' taxi service that solves this problem instantly - it is not exactly rocket science!
The airport taxi situation is, quite frankly, a disgrace, and I have met many people for whom the taxi ride from the airport has clouded their judgement of China for their whole visit.
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