How to get around Shanghai by taxi?
There are more than 50,000 taxis in Shanghai city and they are relatively safe and reliable. The taxi’s registration plate number and the company’s complain phone numbers are clearly displayed in the car.
Legitimate taxis can be easily identified by the logo light on the top of the car. A unique feature of the Shanghai taxi would be the transparent shield around the driver’s seat which serves as a protection of the driver against robbery. Each taxi should be equipped with a meter and an illuminated vacancy disk on the dashboard. The vacancy disk indicates whether the cab is available.
When the disk is upright and illuminated showing two Chinese characters -- 空车 -- it means the cab is vacant. Without all the above-mentioned items, the taxi is probably unlicensed and you should avoid taking it, even if the driver solicits you. You have no rights if you get injured in an unlicensed taxi.
Taxis can be in short supply during peak periods, rainy days or on public holidays. Passengers are advised to plan their journey accordingly during these circumstances to allow for longer waiting times.
Taking taxis in Shanghai is more expensive than in other cities. In the daytime, the minimum fare is 13 Yuan for the first 3 kilometers (1.9 miles), an additional charge of 2.4 Yuan for every succeeding kilometer within 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) and 3.6 Yuan for every succeeding kilometer after 10 kilometers. An additional fuel surcharge of 1 Yuan should be paid per journey. Being stuck in a traffic jam bumps up the bill as five minutes of waiting time costs the same as a kilometer.
∎ As mentioned, you may find cabs scarce in rush hours and on rainy days. Taxi call centers will also become too busy to reach in these situations. Your best bet is probably to head for places taxis haunt, such as restaurants. Although taxis don't often park outside restaurants, many people go there by taxi. If you are quick enough, you can jump in as other passengers get out.
∎ Don't try to hail a cab at a crossroads, as taxi drivers cannot stop their cars within 30 meters from an intersection to pick up passengers.
∎ Cabbies in Shanghai are also not allowed to take a tip. Most of them are amicable, but their English is limited. So it's best to get someone to write down your destination in Chinese.
∎ Remember to take the receipt. The slip will contain information on the taxi, including its plate number and the taxi company. In case you leave something in the car, the receipt will give you clues to find it.
∎ "Juzai" (拒载) is not a technical term, but the Chinese phrase is only used in the taxi industry. It means cabbies refuse to drive passengers to the destination they want. In Shanghai, taxi drivers are not allowed to do so for any reason, once the passenger is in the car. Although "juzai" rarely happens nowadays, we think you'd better know something about this.
∎ In case you come across a "juzai" or some other unhappy experience with a taxi, you can complain to the local taxi authority by dialling 962000.
∎ All the city's taxis are compatible with the Public Transportation Card. If a driver refuses to accept the card, you have the right to decline payment.