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Topic: Don't take illegal taxis unless you speak Chinese! (Read 1661 times) previous topic - next topic

Don't take illegal taxis unless you speak Chinese!

Always take taxis from the legal marked taxi rank. Ignore all taxi touts, even security guards in uniforms.

Unlicensed taxis are safe and convenient, especially at peak hours or in remote places. They are a useful and reasonably priced. I'm not knocking them.

Here's the thing though: it's your first time in China and you don't speak Chinese. They will offer a price 20 times the official metered fare, and you'll bore us with yet another "I got into some guy's unmarked van and he charged me 400RMB for a 24RMB taxi ride" story. It isn't even really a scam, you just failed to negotiate the proper price.

This only happens at border crossings and train stations, so be extra alert and you'll be fine. Follow everyone else to the taxi queue. Metered taxis in China are safe, cheap, and I've never been scammed.
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Re: Don't take illegal taxis unless you speak Chinese!

Reply #1
I was warned by Ian and others about these taxis, and was still scammed into one on my first trip to SZ.  Jet lagged after 20+ hours of airports and airplanes, new country, no clue, all added up to me being an easy mark.  Fortunately, I do know a little Chinese, but it was a bit scary having my first use of Chinese "in the field" to argue with an illegal taxi driver "不不不 - 我的朋友说三十块!三十块!"  (not technically correct, but got the point across).  I still paid way too much... but negotiated from 200rmb down to 100rmb (real taxi would have been under 30).

Here's a hint:

When exiting customs at the Huanggang checkpoint, the pedestrian bridge is almost right in front of you.  Walk a little to the left, then look right and you should see the staircase.  Go up, over the roadway, then look to your left for a staircase down towards the huge line of taxis.

The illegal drivers will try to entice you just before you find the pedestrian staircase, or they may even try to get you somewhere along the bridge before you see the taxis.


Re: Don't take illegal taxis unless you speak Chinese!

Reply #2
I guess I get around this by
A) knowing how far i will be going before i get into cab
B) asking for price before I get into car
C) quick convert into USD to see if that sounds reasonable to me
D) only say i'll pay him half what they wanted
E) negotiate until I am ok with price, or walk away

I'm sure I have overpaid many times, but for convenience, it was worth it. I think I get ripped off by the dudes on bicycles most often. That is why I now just wave 5RMB at them and if they don't take it, I go to the next guy on the bike.