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Taxi Tip 1 - Taxi rate depends on the type of car
There are at least 3 prices of Taxi in Beijing.  They are priced according to the rate per kilometer.
1.20 RMB  The cheapest taxi you can find, pretty small, but gets you where you want to go.  Comfort and quality of ride varies from awful to not too bad.  The car brand is Xiali, (Chinese, of course)
1.60 RMB  At this price range you canget a reasonably new Citroen or Volkswagen.  The car is a bit bigger, a bit faster, is likely to have suspension and the air conditioning will probably work better.  Still a very compact car by U.S. standards.
2.00 RMB  This is their best taxi ?  At least, the most expensive. The cars are likely to be old, black, biggish, the driver likely to have some customer service and even some Englishskills (ok, still rare).  They are likely to drive carefully too.
The taxi price is displayed inconveniently in the corner of the rear left or right right side window.  The trick is to know the types of cars so you can study the pictures of 120's and 160's above carefully !!  When you get really good, you can do this at night by headlights alone at a considerable distance.  :-)  Note, the car typesand prices never vary, so if you see this kind of Citroen or Volkswagen you can be sure it is a 160, and same with the little Xiali's, they will always be 120's .

Taxi Tip 2 - Meters and driver ID
Every Beijing taxi has a meter which, in theory, cannot be tampered with.  On the top of the meters is a big lever to start and stop it.  When the meter is off, the "For Hire" symbolappears in the window.  It is a small red sign, which lights up at night to varying degrees.  Some even have an LED version which really does light up quite well.
When you get in the taxi and agree upon where you are going, the driver should drop the lever thus taking the sign out of the window so other potential customers can see it is already occupied.  In the photo below left, thelever has been put down and removed from the window, the meter should then start.
At this time, the 10.00 RMB price should appear in the meter, 11.00 RMB late at night, around 11 or 12pm.  This price will take you quite some distance in Beijing, then the price will steadily increase depending on the Taxi Type you chose (see Taxi Tip 1).  If your meter does not look like the one belowsoon after you start moving it is likely it is not turned on. Start complaining.
If your taxi fare is above 35 RMB you must have gone a very long way.  The most expensive taxi ride you are likely to take is the 45 minute expressway journey from the airport to the city centre which might set you back 80 - 150 RMB depending on the taxi type and includes the expressway toll (about 15 RMB). We've heard horror stories of people paying up to 400 RMB for this journey. 
Every official taxi should have his license prominently displayed in the front of the cab facing the front passenger seat.  If your taxi has no license displayed, we suggest you find a different taxi.
If the driver says the meter is not working you should also get out and find another taxi.  Also, do not usea taxi where the driver tells you the price of your destination before you get in.  In general, the most likely taxis to give you a fair deal are the ones speeding past you.  Just flag them down.  Parked taxis, who solicit customers, especially around major tourist sites, you should be especially wary of.  If a person walks up to you and asks you if you need a taxi, bluntly refuse, as this personmost certainly represents a non-legitimate taxi.
When you complete your journey, the taxi driver will flip the lever back up and a receipt is automatically printed.  Take this for your records.

Bus Tip 1 - How to read a bus timetable
Bus timetables look like some kind of strange mystical ancient tablet with strange markings to the average foreign tourist.  But they are actually not too...
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