October 17, 2004

...part 2: Taxi's

Taxis in Shanghai, a bit of an experience. There are taxis in abundance in Shanghai, wherever you are there will be dozens of Taxis driving around. Now normally in England I would never think about getting a taxi, because it is just too damn expensive. A 5 minute ride in the UK costs you around 5 GBP! Not in Shanghai though. On average a 10-15 minute ride would cost around 10-15 Yuan, 3 yuan more after 23:00. 15 Yuan on average equals 1 GBP. In fact, at some point I started to get worried when a ride became 17 Yuan! (Which is still peanuts...).
Taxi's are quite easy to identify. They are all Volkswagen Santana's, it being the Santana 2000 or otherwise, so the shape is very distinct. The colours you can recognise quickly as well. They are always bi-coloured, with silver and aqua blue, or dark red. Sometimes with yellow or another colour. Personally I have never heard of a Volkswagen Santana before, and I doubt they actually exist outside China.
The taxis all have white covers over the seating. This could be to spare the original cover, but I wouldn't be surprised if it has something to do with last year's SARS epidemic.
The taxi drivers, like everyone else, speak shanghainese. It is useful to have your destination written in Chinese, because they are bount to not understand you when you pronounce where you need to go.
The taxi drivers can be a bit rude though. The first time I took a axi, I only had 100 Yuan bill son me and the guy didn't have any change so he got totally upset and nervous because he had to change. So the moral here is to always make sure you have smaller with you when you take a taxi. Later on I discovered by the way that not all taxi drivers care that much...
Despite that, the taxi drivers are surprisingly honest I have to say. The meter is always set to 0 (you should check before you actually get in). However, they don't always follow your instructions, which means sometimes they take the long road, and they don't always let you off where you want to. Because of 'the rules'. Funny enough at some point I started giving the driver instructions where to go...

More next time...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Kryn,

the Santana is an old model of Volkswagen, actually a sedan version of the Passat. Discontinued in Germany maybe tewnty years ago, it is still produced in, I think, Brazil and maybe China for the local not-so-affluent markets.


Gediminas (came to check your site after your posting on Photozone)