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Updated:2008-06-04 14:44 | Source:


    Taking a taxi is a fast and convenient way to get around Shanghai. The city, has the best-managed taxi service in China.

    Most cabbies know their way around and expertly negotiate the city's busy traffic. Taxis are usually readily available, but hailing one in rush hours is difficult and on rainy days almost impossible.

    Shanghai's taxis are colorful, unlike New York City's, which are all yellow. Cyan, yellow, white, green, blue, red, dark blue and dark red are the main colors of the taxis in Shanghai and the colors denote different taxi companies. Dark blue and dark red are the colors for the city's hundreds of small and medium taxi companies.

    Real taxis have a logo light on the top of the car. Around the driver's seat is a transparent shield protect the driver from robbery. A meter and an illuminated vacancy disk on the dashboard are also necessities for a cab. Without all these things, the taxi is probably unlicensed and you should avoid it, even if the driver solicits you. You have no rights if injured in an unlicensed taxi.

    The vacancy disk will help you know which cab is available. When the disk is upright and illuminated showing two Chinese characters -- 空车 -- it means the cab is vacant.

     Note: 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.


    Taking a taxi is much more expensive than taking a bus, but it is far from a luxury.

    The minimum fare is 11 yuan (US$1.38), which covers the first 3 kilometers, and then 2 yuan is charged for every additional kilometer. After 10 kilometers, the fare jumps 50 percent - to 3 yuan for every additional kilometer. Being stuck in a traffic jam bumps up the bill. Five minutes of waiting time costs the same as a kilometer.

Current fares for daytime operation (5am to 11pm)


1-3 km

3-10 km


11 yuan

2.1 yuan per km

Waiting time

Waiting 5 minutes equals traveling a kilometer

    A30 percent night surcharge applies from 11pm to 5am.

Current fares for night operation (11pm to 5am)


1-3 km

3-10 km

More than 10 km


14 yuan

2.7 yuan per km

4 yuan per km

Waiting time

Waiting 5 minutes equals traveling a kilometer

    In Shanghai, pooling a cab with strangers is banned.

    Besides flagging down a cab on the street, you can also book a car by phone. There is no service fee for phone bookings except Dazhong company, which charges 4 yuan for each telephone or online reservation. The taxi hotline is, 96965 and English is available.

    You can also send a short message of your detailed location to the call center's short message service (SMS) platform to ask for a taxi. The center will notify you in about 10 minutes whether a cab is available. China Mobile subscribers should send messages to 555596965, and China Unicom users to 2196965.

     But the SMS platform is not available yet in English.

     In addition to the 96965 hotline, the four biggest taxi operators in Shanghai have their own call centers, but no SMS service.

     Note: 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 spmeone 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.

Editor : Zhu Xinrui

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