One little tip to share about Shanghai taxi: try not take any taxi with BX in the car plate.
Any car in Shanghai has a car plate, like this:
The first Chinese character 沪 means Shanghai.
There are special coding standard for taxi in Shanghai.
For the third character – the one after the little dot – the following characters were assigned to taxi:
That means, if there is a car without these characters on plate, and pretend to be a taxi, you will know it.
Among all these plate, X is very special.
X plate taxi are private taxi plate, while all the others are company owned taxi. A company owned taxi means the taxi is owned by a taxi company, and the driver is hired by the company to drive the car, and the driver needs to pay about 450 – 500 base fee to the company everyday. Their earning needs to pay this fee, gas fee, and all kinds of maintaince fee for the car before he can get a profit.
X plate taxi, or private taxi, is owned by individual persons, and they don’t belong to a company, so they don’t need to pay anything. Recently, they are required to join a company setup just for the management propose of private taxis. The management is as low as 150 RMB per month, v.s. 15,000 for other taxi drivers.
So they owner of X plate taxi earns huge profit.
However, their service quality is the worst among all the taxis, just because they are not afraid of any customer complain at all – there is no company responsible for it. Their service standard is also pretty low. The rule of thumb (although with a little bit discrimination) is, if you feel very bad about a taxi driver, chances are, it is a X plate taxi.
In Shanghai, there are 40,000 taxis, and among them, 300 are with plate 沪AX, and 3000 are with plate 沪BX. So for your safety, avoid BX taxi as much as possible.
Disclaimer: This article is based on my personal experience of BX taxis, and feedback from Internet. It is of cause more generalized, and some BX taxi may provide good service, I justified and thought it is still the right thing to do to put a caution here, to avoid unhappy experience for my readers. I hope the BX taxi can find a way to improve their reputation, just as Dazhong taxi has gained the reputation of the best taxi in Shanghai, even though not everyone of the drivers are very good. That is the power of brand, isn’t it?