Shanghai to Hangzhou by Taxi

I talked with Alex in Hangzhou. He took a taxi Shanghai South Railway Station to Hangzhou. The fair is 280 RMB for four persons, or 70 RMB for one.

How did he make it?

From Shanghai to Hangzhou

It is about 2 hours ride from Shanghai to Hangzhou. The distance is 192 km.

If you take a taxi, and the taxi charges by meter, it should be at least 560 RMB (since it is 3.15 RMB per km after the first 10 km). Many taxi drivers ask for the same amount of fee for the return trip, since they have to go back with an empty car.

So it is not rare that people charges about 1000 RMB to go to Hangzhou.

The Chain of Profit Ecosystem

Alex was approached by someone who claimed to be able to send them to Hangzhou, at only 280 RMB (or 70 RMB per person) using taxi. Frequent travellers said it is OK to do that, so they followed those guys.

They used a taxi to send them from the Shanghai South Railway Station to the entrance of the Shanghai-Hangzhou Expressway, and then drop them off. There, that guy’s partner waved to stop taxies with Hangzhou plate, and asked if they are willing to take four people back to Hangzhou at 100 RMB.

Many taxi drivers agreed! Since they send their passenger to Shanghai and they HAVE to get back with an empty car. It does not hurt for them to make more money. So even if it is only 100 RMB, they did the job.

Finally, the 280 RMB was broken into two part – 180 and 100. People in this value chain get what they get.

Warning – don’t try it

Repeating the story does not mean I think it a good idea. Don’t take it if you have any other choices. It is too risky.

I just feel it is interesting that someone are making money this way.

11 thoughts on “Shanghai to Hangzhou by Taxi

  1. I did this several times when I was doing a job in Hangzhou. If you go to the bus station in Xujiahui after it closes, you’ll find offers like these. You’ll have to bargain, though!

  2. I had one similar experience last week coming back from Hangzhou to Shanghai. We’re at the East Bus Station trying to get back around 6 PM. Unfortunately the earliest bus available was 8 PM so we had to wait for 2 hours. Then we’re approached by someone saying that he could find us a cab with SH license plate for 70RMB per person — sounds like a good deal so we took the chance. Later when we’re all set and ready to go, the taxi driver told us his sad story…

    The taxi driver took some passengers from SH to HZ earlier of the day and was trying to find someone back to SH instead of an empty car. So he went to the East Bus Station, where all passengers going to SH would be, and found some passengers by himself. Just when he was about to leave happily, some local people blocked his way and forced into his car to grab the passengers out. They’re doing this because they’re “in charge” of this area and all private deals like this MUST go through them. They forced the driver to park the car in their place and made him agree to pay “service fee” of 100RMB and 10RMB per passenger before he could leave. In return those local people would stand around potential passengers (like us) and trying to lurk them to accept private deals.

    So at the end, we paid 280RMB in total to the driver and get back to SH in two hours, the gangsters got 140RMB from the driver happily, and the poor driver got less than 50RMB after paying the “service fee” to the gangsters and highway usage fees to the government…

    An interesting value chain, isn’t it?

  3. The same thing happened to me when I was in Shenzhen. I needed to get from Shenzhen to Zhuhai. At the Shenzhen airport I negotiated with a taxi driver and he ended taking me to an area just outside of Shenzhen where a bunch of Zhuhai taxi drivers were waiting. They split the money somehow (I didn’t see how much) and we got a ride over to Zhuhai.

    This isn’t for people that have just arrived in China as it was a bit scary. I actually didn’t know that this was going to happen as the original taxi driver just did it! I guess it was partially my fault since I negotiated with the taxi drivers and chose the one with the lowest rate.

    When we arrived at the border town (more like a very dirty parking lot on the side of the highway) the Zhuhai taxi drivers all came running up to us and started screaming… it was quite intimidating as my Chinese speaking ability is half assed. Anyway, in China, you have to pretend you know what is going on if you don’t want to get tricked. I guess I presented myself well enough and just went with the flow. At the end, we arrived safely in Zhuhai.

    If I knew it was so troublesome, I would have just flown directly to Zhuhai. The problem was with 4 people, we were able to save about 500 rmb more per person doing the flight down to Shenzhen and taking a taxi over.

  4. As my know, in China, the taxi driver can not run business outside the place where his car plate was issued.If a Shanghai taxi driver pick up passengers out of Shanghai,once he was caught by traffic authority,he will be fined,and the passengers will be asked to get off.

  5. Hi

    I just want to go to Hangzhou, but i don’t know how to go there from Pudong Airport. Many people suggest me to go to Maglev ans stop to Long Yang. And then take to CRH to Hangzho.

    Would you pls suggest me the better way?

    Thank you very much in advance.

  6. sharing my experience…. :)

    last sunday me and my friend went to hangzhou from shanghai south railway station in early morning. unfortunately the day before we tried to purchase ticket in the shanghai south station, ticket from hangzhou back to shanghai, no more tickets (express train). so once i arrived hangzhou station, tried to purchase ticket back to shanghai, unfortunately no more express ticket, only those slow trains were available. purchased 2 of those slow tickets, only available at 8pm+. means would arrive shanghai 2 to 3 hours later…!!

    in hangzhou, tried asking cab drivers how much they charged us for a trip to shanghai, some mentioned 800rmb and 900rmb.

    we didn’t believe the express train is full, so at about 5pm we went to hangzhou station despite the crazy rain. the station was messy…etc… you all may know.. all counters said no more express ticket to sh. suddenly at 5.30pm a lady from nowhere shouted she’s got some express tickets to sh, so me and my friend and another girl quickly bought those tickets. same price, at 64rmb first class, express train. we asked one of the counter whether these express tickets can be used, the counter girl replied that they’re not responsible for any tickets sold outside <— got us a little worried… :P

    what happened to our 2 slow train tickets? we asked for refund, almost 50rmb (purchased at 29rmb each).

    got into the train safely. found our seats. the train was indeed full even the second class cabins.

    we both prayed hard those tickets are real. saw the girl who purchased the same ticket as us from the unknown lady, sitting in the same cabin.

    the train started moving. at last we could smile. :))

  7. Hi

    I travelled from Hongzhou to Shangai in 70 RMB two days back. Just take a train from Hongzhou station, this is a high speed train goes at 240 KM/Hour. Nice and clean train, people and attenders were very helpful. Get down at Shanghai Muaong station which is about 30 KMs from main city. Take another local bus or tax to reach to the main city.

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