Beijing's taxis are a fast and inexpensive way to get around the city for very little money.
Taxis in Beijing are cheap but as distances can be long, the total amount can be more than expected. The approximate fares are the following:
- First 3 kilometres: ¥ 14 (US$ 1.90)
- Cost per additional kilometre: ¥ 2.30 (US$ 0.30)
- Every 5 minutes of waiting (traffic under 12 km/h): ¥ 2 (US$ 0.30)
- From 15 kilometres onwards: the price per kilometre increases by 50%.
- Supplement between 11 pm and 5 am: the price per kilometre increases by 20%.
- From the airport to the city centre (Tian'anmen): Between ¥ 90 (US$ 12.40) and ¥ 100 (US$ 13.70)
- From the centre to the Olympic Village: between ¥ 60 (US$ 8.20) and ¥ 70 (US$ 9.60)
- From the centre to the Summer Palace: between ¥ 70 (US$ 9.60) and ¥ 80 (US$ 11)
Illegal taxi drivers
The majority of taxi drivers are trustworthy, but there is always an exception to be careful of. In the more touristy areas, you might come across taxi drivers who ask for your destination and set a fixed price that is much higher than the journey would cost. We recommend avoiding these taxi drivers.
As for illegal taxis, there aren't many in Beijing, and they're mainly at the airport. To avoid them you just have to go to the normal taxi queue and take one there. They're clearly marked.
The best way to get to any destination is to take a map and point it out to them. If your destination is near a subway station, it's usually better to ask for a ride to that subway station and then walk.
It's also important to take a business card from the hotel as soon as you arrive. They'll indicate the address in Chinese and the telephone number.
When it rains the taxis "disappear" and it might be hard to find a free one. If you have to go to the airport or another important place, plan it in advance.