Taxis in Beijing: An Overview
Undoubtedly, taxis are by far the most convenient mean for your transfer. The air-conditioned, spacious vehicles will drive you to your destination in comfort, no matter the day or time. Moreover, you will be able to take a quick glimpse of the city during your ride while Beijing taxis are fairly affordable.
On the other hand, Beijing taxis have a major disadvantage called…the notorious traffic jams of Beijing. The roads congestion in the Chinese capital is heavy and constant. During the rush hours (approximately 7:00-9:00 and 17:00-20:00), the easily found taxis become rare. What’s more, the traffic conditions are often so challenging that a simple ride can take triple the time that is usually needed. You should, also, keep in mind that taxis can be hard to find in busy areas such as the Forbidden City and Wangfujing Street.
To sum up, Beijing taxis are an excellent choice if you travel at non-rush hours or if you don’t mind the traffic delays. Otherwise, you should use the available public transportation options, such as the metro. In any case, it is advised to avoid taking a cab if the weather is rainy or snowy as well as to pre-book a taxi ride if you have to catch a flight.
Beijing Taxi Fares
The starting price of a taxi ride is 13 RMB (1.60€ / 1.8$) for the first three kilometres. As soon as your taxi traverses this distance, the charge changes to 2.30 RMB (0.29€ / 0.32$) per kilometre, whereas after the first 15km, it re-changes to 3.45 RMB/km (0.43€ / 0.48$). Additionally, after a 3km drive, an extra 1 RMB (0.12€) is added to the fare due to the oil price. This fee can be automatically added to the taximeter’s indication, but there is also a chance that your driver will add it to the final cost at the end of your ride. As traffic jams are an every-day fact in Beijing, the cost for the waiting time is calculated as followed: every 5 minutes of waiting account for 2 kilometres. Furthermore, tolls are paid by the passengers, while during the night shift (23:00 – 5:00), there is an additional 20% fee for the journey.
For example, a 20€ ride during the early hours may cost you up to 25-26€ after 23:00 (including some waiting time charges).
Concerning the payment methods, you can pay for your transfer either in cash or via Beijing Transportation Smart Card, Wechat, Alipay and UnionPay.
International credit cards are not accepted.
Finally, you should be aware of the fact that carpooling is not only accepted but also encouraged in Beijing. In an effort to decongest the city roads and adopt an environmentally friendly policy, Beijing taxi companies allow taxi-sharing. The charge for each passenger, in that case, is 40% off the normal fare.
How to Hire a Taxi in Beijing
Unless you want to pre-book your ride or call for a taxi, the usual method to get a cab in the streets of Beijing is to wave while standing at the side of the road. The first person who opens the taxi door is the one who will finally use it. Therefore, if you wish to take a taxi during the peak hours, you should be speedy! Nevertheless, if you pick-up your cab from the official taxi stands, you will simply have to wait in line until your turn.
Where can you Find a Taxi in Beijing?
You will find official taxi stands at the airports and train stations while there are plenty of them scattered around Beijing. If there are no available vehicles at the taxi ranks, you can just call and request one. For your convenience, there is a unique number at each stand. The first two numbers refer to the location (for example 01 stands for Dongcheng District, 02 for Xicheng District, 03 for Chaoyang District etc.) while the last 4 are the numbers of that particular rank. Thus, you can just call the taxi company, give this number and the taxi driver can locate you right away.
Moreover, if you are staying at a hotel, you can ask for a taxi or a taxi card. These cards, available at most hotels in Beijing, display the most popular routes. Show them to your taxi driver and let him know which one is your destination.
Official Beijing Taxis: How to Distinguish Them?
A common reality in Beijing is the alleged “black taxis”. Black taxis are fake taxis that circulate in Beijing and aim to scam the passengers (especially the tourists who are not familiar with the taxi system of Beijing) or overcharge them. So, how can you tell if a taxi is official or not?
- To start with, you should always try to hire your cab from the official ranks.
- Official Beijing taxis have the distinctive “TAXI” sign on their roof.
- Beijing Taxi license plates always start with the letter “B”.
- Official Beijing taxis have taximeters.
- The taxi company brand and the driver’s name should be clearly displayed on the dashboard.
- Original taxis will always give you a receipt at the end of the ride. If the receipt is handwritten, the taxi is most probably a “black” one.
- Last but not least, you should always keep in mind that in any case, whether the taxi is official or fake, if the taximeter isn’t working, you have the right to refuse paying the fee.
Useful Information about Beijing Taxis
- Unfortunately, the majority of the taxi drivers don’t speak English.
- You should always have your hotel’s address written down in Chinese. In that way, you will be certain that the driver will drop you off at the right place.
- If the driver’s name and his license are not on display inside the taxi vehicle, you should take another cab.
- Always make sure that the taximeter is zeroed as soon as you enter the taxi and that it works properly.
- If you travel with many pieces of luggage, it is advisable to pre-book your ride.
- You can negotiate a set price with your taxi driver if your desired destination is very far.
- There are taxi-vehicles especially designed for people with disabilities. However, in that case, you have to book your taxi and ask for the specific services.
Beijing Taxis from Daxing Airport
If you prefer a private, comfortable transfer instead of carrying around your luggage and squeezing in the public means of transport, then Beijing airport taxis are the perfect option for you. The luxurious, air-conditioned taxi vehicles will drive you to your exact destination while the taxi fares are fairly cheap. However, you should always be prepared for the traffic jams that are an every-day reality in Beijing.
In any case, the route connection from Daxing airport to the city of Beijing and its suburbs is going to be satisfactory: one Expressway (S3501) and 4 highways (Beijing-Kaifeng G45 – Beijing-Taipei G3 – Beijing-Kunming G5 and Langzhuo Expressway S24) will connect the new mega airport with the capital of China. Therefore, private transfers such as taxi rides will most probably be fast enough and relaxing.
How much is a taxi in Beijing?
The official Beijing taxi starting tariff is 13 RMB (1.60€ / 1.8$) for the first 3km. From 4-15km, the charge is 2.30 RMB/km (0.29€ / 0.32$) and from 15km and above, it reaches 3.45 RMB/km (0.43€ / 0.48$). During the night shift, there is a 20% extra charge. However, as Beijing traffic jams are legendary, the taxi transfer may end up expensive and time-consuming.
Is it safe to take a taxi in Beijing?
Beijing taxis are considered safe enough. Nevertheless, you should always take your cab from the official taxi rank in order to avoid getting scammed by the illegal “Beijing black taxis” and check if the taxi company name and the driver’s data are on display.