If you have started to learn Chinese in Singapore, it will surely make moving around in the city easy. However, taking taxis in Singapore or Beijing or other parts of China is not so difficult, even when you don’t speak the language. Here are some tips that help you commute easily in this part of the world:
When traffic is not heavy, stand close to the road and simply stretch out your hand and move it up and down. Waving your hand to hail a taxi work just as effectively in China as in the Western countries.
Side Street Instead of Highway
Many people foolishly stand in the middle of a road and frantically wave their hands to stop a cab. That’s not the right way to stop a taxi. You are more likely to injure yourself than get a taxi. You should look for a suitable place instead, like a small backstreet or an access road. The chances of finding an available taxi in a side street are more than in a busy main street.
See If The Red Light Is On
Check for the red light behind the windscreen of a taxi. If it’s on, the taxi is free and available.
There are others too who are looking for a taxi. In other words, the fastest one gets the ride (Yes, Darwin principle apply to Chinese taxis too!). So be fast and be prepared to fight for the ride if somebody tries to steal the taxi you’ve stopped.
No Group Traveling
Taxi drivers here prefer to take one or two passengers. If you are a large group, take two taxis.
English doesn’t work
If you think that Chinese taxi drivers understand basic English words like “stop”, you are hugely mistaken. Nor you should expect them to understand your hand gestures. That’s why taking Mandarin classes Singapore is so helpful. However, if you don’t speak Chinese at all, ask a friend to write the address on a piece of paper and then show it to the driver. If you living in a hotel, carry your hotel card with the address with you all time. You can also ring a friend who speaks Mandarin and request him or her to convey the address to the taxi driver.
Forget the city maps
Chinese drivers may not speak English, but they have a photogenic memory and know all the routes. You don’t need to hand them a city map to show them the route.
Ensure taximeter is running
Before you enter a taxi, check if the taximeter is running and ensure the initial amount is not above the standard rate.
Know the prices
The rental price is 13 RMB (which comes to approximately 2.7 SGD). For every kilometer after the first three, you are charged 2.30 RMB (which comes to approximately 0.48 SGD). From 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM, you’ll be charged 20 percent extra.
Ensure the driver is licensed
All taxi drivers in China are required to display their license on the dashboard. If you don’t see one, don’t get in.