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Q: Am I just lucky with Chinese taxi drivers?

Some voice their hatred for racist big city taxi drivers refusing to pick up foreigners, but in my low-tier city I have no problems at all. I just got 1/3 discount on my fare because the driver misheard me and drove to a slightly wrong destination first. Compared to most greedy locals, these people are positively relaxed and generous. I've been given cheap rides when they didn't have change and all kinds of unexpected gestures of friendliness.

My wife swears by the san-er taxibikes, but those people are a lot less pleasant. She often engages them in arguments over the fare before and after the trip. If I get in one of those alone, there's a big chance it will cost me more than a taxi. it's uncomfortable too.

Everywhere else in the world, I've come to loathe taxi drivers. I avoid them like the plague, and if I'm ever forced to use their overpriced services, it's usually the most uncomfortable part of my day. But in China, I often find myself saying: "Why don't we just take a taxi?"

Taxidrivers in China replace security guards as the trustworthy local whom you can ask directions. Conversely, the security guards here are of the incompetent greedy type you're trying to avoid when traveling. Since I worked security as my university job before, I pay more attention to them than most. In most 3rd world countries, the guards make an effort to keep safety and order, and are quite happy to answer questions (facegain perhaps). All Chinese security does, is point you towards a relative's tea house, if they even respond at all.

4 years 26 weeks ago in  Transport & Travel - China

 
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I've had 1 or 2 drivers who went to the wrong place due to misunderstandings, and only charged the 'right' amount after getting me to the right place ('right', but approximation - which I thought was about right). I've also had a few conversations with them, which weren't too bad (my Chinese sucks, so usually those conversations are limited). And, I think in my 5.5 years here, I've only been asked about my salary maybe 3 times by a driver!

 

I've had a driver who had fiddled the meter, so my usual (by virtually all fapiaos I've collected) 14.2km trip was over 16kms.

 

And in Shanghai, I've had a driver (or 2) take a longer way than they should have... one increasing the fare by about 30RMB (as I found out when I returned that evening... and when he took be back the next day!) Also had this in Hangzhou a couple of times - going the long way around Westlake is not chabadou to the normal route, when it's going to cost upwards of 20RMB more!

 

What does annoy me are: the drivers who refuse to take you cos it's too close (Nanjing), or because of "ting bu dong" (ie, I don't want to listen to you"), or those drivers in SH who keep the coins. I'm willing to hand over the loose change of a kuai or 2, but it's my choice - not theirs! And no, it's not the 'fuel surcharge' - if it was, every driver would do it!

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4 years 26 weeks ago
 
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Yes, it is just you?

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4 years 26 weeks ago
 
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I've had 1 or 2 drivers who went to the wrong place due to misunderstandings, and only charged the 'right' amount after getting me to the right place ('right', but approximation - which I thought was about right). I've also had a few conversations with them, which weren't too bad (my Chinese sucks, so usually those conversations are limited). And, I think in my 5.5 years here, I've only been asked about my salary maybe 3 times by a driver!

 

I've had a driver who had fiddled the meter, so my usual (by virtually all fapiaos I've collected) 14.2km trip was over 16kms.

 

And in Shanghai, I've had a driver (or 2) take a longer way than they should have... one increasing the fare by about 30RMB (as I found out when I returned that evening... and when he took be back the next day!) Also had this in Hangzhou a couple of times - going the long way around Westlake is not chabadou to the normal route, when it's going to cost upwards of 20RMB more!

 

What does annoy me are: the drivers who refuse to take you cos it's too close (Nanjing), or because of "ting bu dong" (ie, I don't want to listen to you"), or those drivers in SH who keep the coins. I'm willing to hand over the loose change of a kuai or 2, but it's my choice - not theirs! And no, it's not the 'fuel surcharge' - if it was, every driver would do it!

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4 years 26 weeks ago
 
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The problems i've had with taxi drivers is just that they won't want to go where I'm asking them. If it's a time of day they can easily get a fare they'll hunt for the "ideal" fare out of a group. Somewhere that's a straight shot where they think they can easily get a fare back. 

 

They've never been racist though I haven't felt. One of them once said "obama bu hao" but you know...I see worse on facebook every day haha. 

If they're fucking with me over not wanting to go where i'm asking for they'll do the same thing with the locals until they find the fare they're looking for. I just think we get it a little bit worse because we usually have no idea how to call and complain. But that's not racism that's just opportunism on their part. 

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4 years 26 weeks ago
 
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Emperor

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I think it really really does depend on where you are. I can't stand Beijing taxi drivers for example, but in smaller, less developed cities I've had mostly good experiences.

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4 years 26 weeks ago
 
Posts: 1308

Shifu

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I've also only had good experiences with taxi drivers in China. But in most places I wouldn't know whether the driver was taking a longer route or not. 

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4 years 26 weeks ago
 
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Governor

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I've been very lucky. There have been so many nice drivers and only one or two bad eggs. 

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4 years 26 weeks ago
 
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Governor

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I've had taxi drivers take money off because I made them laugh most of the way to my destination. 

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4 years 26 weeks ago
 
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Governor

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You haven't been to beijjing have you? taxi drivers there are the lowest of the low

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4 years 26 weeks ago
 
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Governor

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I haven't had too many problems with taxi drivers either. In my city they're generally honest or just try to rip you off for a kuai or two here or there. You just needt to avoid the guys right outside the train station (surprise surprise). The cities that I've had problems in are Beijing and Harbin. The Beijing drivers really are scum and will often refuse to take you and then refuse to use the meter when they do, charging at least double what the price should be. Harbin is the same during the Snow and Ice Festival and the drivers typically won't take you anywhere for less than 30 kuai. 

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4 years 26 weeks ago
 
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As others have said, Beijing sucks. I don't know why foreigners live there--I got out the instant I could. Rude, xenophobic people, food scandals to the left and right, pollution, shit weather, filth...and, oh, the taxi drivers.

Chengdu drivers are usually friendly and honest. The problem with the tends to be that the can be lazy and try to not drive you the whole way. I hate having to bully people into doing their job all the time.

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4 years 26 weeks ago
 
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General

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I do not think your experience is so unique.

I also think that taxi drivers through out China are quite nice in comparison to many other countries (well probably with exception of Singapore where I think there are the best taxi drivers I ever met).

Of course there are also cheaters among them but to much lower extend than for instance in many European countries.

The problem I would see with taxis is more on the account how they are organized. More or less anywhere in China it's easy to get a taxi out of peak hours but in rush hours it's almost impossible. And if on top of it rains so your best choice is to either pay small fortune for 'special car' or to walk ...

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4 years 26 weeks ago
 
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