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Beijing taxis and car services

Beijing taxis and car services

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Old Feb 24, 11, 11:01 pm
  #1  
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Beijing taxis and car services

Greetings, all.

A few months ago, one of the senior moderators cleaned house around here and merged all threads on this topic into this one. While this was a great move (that I fully support), I must admit that I was a bit sad to see the "are Beijing taxis on strike?" thread disappear because: 1) it served as a sounding board for all of our long walks home in the rain; and 2) underscored the fact that Beijing is one of the few major cities in the world, in which it's necessary to have back up plans for taxis.

The good news is that Beijing taxis are cheap (this is part of the problem, actually), and you can usually find them. Exceptions to the latter:

-rain/snow
-Guanghau Lu between the St. Regis and the Kerry Center
-Guomao
-Sanlitun after 9p
-8a pretty much everywhere (but, you can book in advance for those airport runs)
<additions to this list are welcome>

Going to a nearby hotel generally won't work.

In this thread, you'll find references to individual drivers who have been vetted by us. There's no guarantee that they "won't take you for a ride", but we wouldn't have plugged them if they weren't nice to us. In general, the most recent referrals are the most reliable because the good ones eventually find higher paying jobs. And, please give up on the "English speaking" requirement; you all have your smart phones and your hotel's phone number... just let this point slide.

On a related note, I'd like to discuss "black taxis" (i.e. "black" market) and pedicabs. While there are many horror stories out there, I believe that most reasonable people who have shelled out thousands of dollars to come to China are willing to spend an extra $3 in order to avert an hour long struggle (i.e. when taxis are in short supply, competition to get them is nothing short of ruthless) in SLT when it's raining. Negotiating with these folks has little to do with language ability; you just need to be strong (a little bit of fear imparting goes a long way) and alert.

If all else fails, you are all welcome to call me when you find yourselves in precarious situations (email me in advance of your trips, and I'll send you my phone number); I can instill fear in any driver, no matter where I happen to be.

Update: I'm back in Beijing now, and have met with Raymond several times during the course of the past few days. The bad news is that even Raymond himself can't get one of his own cars to pick him up when it's raining on a Friday night. The good news is that he's in the process of adding 2,000 cars to his fleet.

To date, I've referred about 20 of you guys to him, and most have been pleased, but there have been a few hiccups (it's a relatively new company). In each case, Raymond has personally (as in visiting poorly treated customers at their hotels, and provided cash refunds) tried to make amends.

He asked me if he should hire a handful of English speaking drivers for the benefit of foreign guests, and I told him, "no". My rationale was: 1) the cost of employing them is high; 2) they are likely to quit in short order; and 3) the language barrier thing is easily circumvented by the use of cell phones... even if you don't have them, the drivers do.

Moving on, here are his relevant details:

http://yyzhaoche.com/ (if you have an iphone, and comprehend basic Chinese, you can download his ap from the iphone store; they are working on a PC based booking system at present, but for now it's iphone only)
booking phone number: 5245 3655

I am not posting Raymond's personal cell phone number in this thread because the man works 100 hours per week, but I would be happy to provide it via email/PM to seasoned FTers.

Mod note:

Earlier discussion can be found here:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/china...iscussion.html

Last edited by moondog; Jun 23, 12 at 12:42 am
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Old Feb 24, 11, 11:07 pm
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Beijing taxis and car services [2011 onward]

I have used a great 100% English speaking driver in Beijing. His name is Ma and his cell phone is +86 136 4131 7858. He has a nice, clean back car (sedan, but bigger than a conventional taxi) and charges 1.5-2x what a conventional taxi charges.
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Old Mar 17, 11, 5:21 am
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Last week, I was picked up by the first taxi driver (in my entire life to date) that I would describe as "hot". Naturally, I got her phone number (for the benefit of the FT community).

Her cab is the standard issue blue and yellow Elantra, but it is clean and doesn't smell like cigarettes or garlic. Not much English beyond the basics.

Ms. Ou Yang: 13501128266
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Old Mar 18, 11, 11:01 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Last week, I was picked up by the first taxi driver (in my entire life to date) that I would describe as "hot". Naturally, I got her phone number (for the benefit of the FT community).

Her cab is the standard issue blue and yellow Elantra, but it is clean and doesn't smell like cigarettes or garlic. Not much English beyond the basics.

Ms. Ou Yang: 13501128266
moondog, are you sure you didn't switch the last two digits?
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Old Mar 18, 11, 11:48 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Last week, I was picked up by the first taxi driver (in my entire life to date) that I would describe as "hot". Naturally, I got her phone number (for the benefit of the FT community).

Her cab is the standard issue blue and yellow Elantra, but it is clean and doesn't smell like cigarettes or garlic. Not much English beyond the basics.

Ms. Ou Yang: 13501128266
If she only spoke English...I will say Ma speaks English like he was born in the USA...and has a larger black car, but unfortunately isn't "hot"...and charges a premium.
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Old Mar 18, 11, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by nologic View Post
If she only spoke English...I will say Ma speaks English like he was born in the USA...and has a larger black car, but unfortunately isn't "hot"...and charges a premium.
I'm just trying to flood this thread with as many phone numbers as I can in order to make it easier for you guys to negotiate prices before you leave your home countries.

I endure 60+ taxi journeys per week, and get info from around 1 driver per month (though streaks happen).

Typically, I pinpoint nice guys with big cars (I don't focus so much on the "English speaking" aspect because most of you have cell phones to bridge that gap).

But, any of you that can tolerate a smaller car would surely appreciate my most recent referral.

Btw, I'm generally happy to serve as the "on call interpreter" for kind people that need assistance. In short, I am willing to provide my mobile number on a case by case basis; whether or not I'm in China, I will help you get to your destination. (Hotel concierges can do the same, so you should save their numbers, but their English language skills aren't as strong as mine.)
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Old Mar 18, 11, 2:13 pm
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[QUOTE=moondog;16050509]Last week, I was picked up by the first taxi driver (in my entire life to date) that I would describe as "hot". /QUOTE]

So much for the movie rights to your story:


Zhao Wei stars as a female taxi driver in [The Longest Night in Shanghai]



http://image2.sina.com.cn/ent/m/c/p/...0509230347.jpg
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Old Apr 17, 11, 10:33 am
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The taxi situation remains brutal. Just yesterday, I endured a 20 minute wait in Fulicheng (typically easy), and only succeeded after overtaking a seemingly kind lady, and begging her to give me the taxi because I was late for my meeting (she was more attractive than me --drivers tend to prefer pretty girls to male clients-- but I had waited longer).

Here's the current intel:

-during the afternoon rush hour, the north part of the CBD is really tough, to the extent that I think the residential rents there should be lower in order to compensate for this problem
-if you truly aspire to find a taxi during peak times in hot locations, it is wise to split up your group (i.e. opposite sides of the intersection in question)
-make allies with the competition; chances are, some of them are heading in the same direction as you
-don't be afraid to outrun old ladies; they probably wouldn't cede you a taxi if you arrived at the same time; the game is vicious
-it seems that shifts change at around 6p, which means that many empty taxis are off limits for people that aren't traveling in their desired direction, but it's possible to sweet talk them on occasion
-many taxi drivers simply won't stop for white people during rush hour, so your Chinese friends tend to be better equipped to handle the front lines
-those gypsy taxis and rickshaws come in quite handy; they cost more and are less comfortable, but availing of their services is preferable to duking it out with the old ladies
-whenever I find myself stuck in a taxi dead zone, I walk towards the nearest subway station (I really hate the subway during rush hour, but getting close to subway stations makes sense, as a fall back option); sometimes, I stop for drink because an extra 30 minutes can make a big difference

Last edited by moondog; Apr 17, 11 at 11:53 pm
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Old Apr 17, 11, 8:48 pm
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Yep, pretty much agree with moondog's sizing up of the current situation.
Also:
--For some reason, starting around 3 pm in the Gongti area (Workers Stadium, Yaxiu Market, Sanlitun, Pacific Century Place), empty taxis are really tough to find, despite availability in the CBD area then. CBD taxi availability starts becoming difficult around 4-4:30. This is for M-F.

--Empty taxis are tough to get 10:30-11:00 pm and later in the Sanlitun/Village area. You will battle with everyone else and especially on Fridays and Saturdays. Solana Mall to Chaoyang West Gate area is awful to try to get taxis at that time also--you may end up hiking 20+ minutes to the nearest subway.

--Whichever side of the street you are on, the empty taxis will always be going the other way, and you will be hopelessly separated from them by the white rail barrier that prevents crossing the street. It's rarely useful to change street sides, for as soon as you do, the available taxis will then all change sides as well.

--I've reached an empty taxi at same time as other Chinese, and quickly ascertained if we were going in roughly the same direction, to share taxi and cost and do a drop sequence in the order that made sense. You need some Mandarin, quickly deployed to do this. Can be surprisingly effective and congenial. The Chinese would-be taxi passengers are in the same boat as us.

--Rain: Give up. Use subway, bus, illegal taxi, or postpone your engagement if possible and sit it out in the lounge drinking with moondog for awhile.

--Old Chinese ladies. They are vicious and you will lose. I'd rather do hand-to-hand combat on the bus.
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Old Apr 17, 11, 8:51 pm
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Originally Posted by jiejie View Post
--Old Chinese ladies. They are vicious and you will lose.
I'd rather do hand-to-hand combat on the bus.
amazing ! ^
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Old Apr 17, 11, 11:03 pm
  #11  
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I'll add, when waiting for someone to get out of the cab, don't wait by the back door as they give change to the driver. Hop in the front seat. Can't tell you how many cabs I've lost as the Chinese person hopping in the front gives me as "thanks idiot" look on their face.
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Old Apr 18, 11, 4:23 am
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Originally Posted by mnredfox View Post
I'll add, when waiting for someone to get out of the cab, don't wait by the back door as they give change to the driver. Hop in the front seat. Can't tell you how many cabs I've lost as the Chinese person hopping in the front gives me as "thanks idiot" look on their face.
Hehe one time I have to wait 20 minutes to get a taxi, it was a very busy street. Than I hold the cab driver for another 10 minutes because my girlfriend went to a toilet. I just put my backpack at the seat and stand outside the car. The driver was angry with me but wait all the time and nobody try to take my taxi.
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Old Apr 18, 11, 7:49 am
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Thanks (moondog) for updating this thread. This certainly fits with my experience last weekend trying to get a taxi in the Gongti area after midnight (quite a bit after actually ....). As others have indicated, if I ever need to get across town at anything like rush hour, I'll just head for the metro and deal with the crowds. And if it is raining and after the metro has closed down, the only thing to do is to find a good bar, order a drink and get wet inside rather than outside

I guess if I think about it, even close to where I live in Haidian it is now harder to get a taxi than it was some years ago (were are talking xiali-era here, rather than mianbao though ....). The change seems to have occurred only slowly though. First there were always taxis near the gate of my compound; then I could always find one or two on the small side road near the compound; then I had to walk to the nearest main road, but could get one easily, and now I generally have a small wait even on the main road.

I still have a soft spot for Beijing taxis though, for all their rough edges (and there are many of those ....).
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Old Apr 27, 11, 7:18 am
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I search for "Beijing Taxi Strike" and it brings me here to FT. It's been over a year since I visited FT!

Today I missed my game because of no taxi. Area - Zhongguancun. Some taxis on the main road (which is about a 7 minute walk, rapidly making the taxi ride feel less useful) but nothing in the side streets. 13 minutes went by that I wasn't passed by a taxi (available or otherwise), and it took another 4 minutes and trek to the main road before I could find one.

Maybe it's the May holiday but I doubt a 1 day holiday would make a big difference.
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Old Apr 28, 11, 1:10 am
  #15  
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Grabbing taxis in China is sort of a dog eat dog world. Don't wait, they won't come. Go find them. Raining or holiday, the dogs get more fierce.
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