With the widespread adoption of taxi hailing apps and the sudden onset of unbearable heat, we’ve discovered it’s getting a little harder to hail taxis streetside around Beijing.

An informal straw poll around the Beijinger office indicates that the people who seem to have the hardest time hailing a cab are (in no particular order):


people who look like they've had too much to drink;

adults with young children;

those carrying bulky objects such as luggage or strollers;

those going to inconvenient locations.

-- all other bipeds.

That's why we've gone to the effort of creating this easy guide on improving your chances of getting one of these slippery street sharks to stop and pick you up:

1. Go mobile. Get yourself Uber or Didi Dache. You may be feeling personally slighted these days when a dozen empty taxis zoom past you without a blink of an eye, but chances are it has nothing to do with you: they're speeding to pick up a pre-arranged fare they've accepted via one of the taxi apps that are in virtually every Beijing cab these days. If you don't have one of these apps, you're destined to be left curbside.

2. The Solo Hail: If you are traveling with a group, choose the most sober, attractive or non-foreign amongst your tribe and have them stand alone to hail the cab, while children/drunk friends/foreign buddies hide behind a light post or simply stand ten meters down the road pretending they don't know you. Take special care to have your designated hailer leave accompanying prams, beers, and bulky objects behind with the group.

3. Broadcast your fluency. Get a t-shirt made that reads ‘会说中文’ (‘I can speak Chinese'). Better yet, print the phrase on a A4 sheet of paper at the office to wave at passing cabbies. Alternately, depending on your level of commitment, get this phrase tattooed on your forehead. In glow-in-the-dark ink.

4. Position yourself strategically. Many expats don't realize that metered taxis are not allowed to stop just anywhere; roads may seem like chaos but there is a certain method to the madness. Regulations prevent cabs from stopping on certain major thoroughfares, at bus stops, in right-turn-only lanes and other spots. Make sure you’re standing in a spot that does not have special lane markers in the road or anywhere where the stopping of the cab will impede traffic flow.

5. Go with the flow. Also, take the effort to get on to the right side of the road before you hail. Many cabbies are loathe to turn around to go in the opposite direction because, unbeknownst to you, they may be approaching the end of his or her shift and need to return the car to a certain location.

6. The bait and switch. Some Beijing drivers ask potential passengers where they are going before they let them jump in the back. If this happens to you and you are going to an obscure or difficult to reach destination, tell the driver you are going to a more common location first. Once you’re in the taxi and he's hit the meter, pretend to get a phone call that informs you of a change of plans. Apologize profusely and ask them to take you to your desired location.

7. The "By the way ..." If you are planning to pick someone up along your route, tell the driver you need to pick up your parents (tried and tested through multiple family visits). They will be more likely to cooperate if he thinks you are a good child with an awesome sense of filial piety rather than just a cheapskate with a strong desire to share the fare with a friend.

Good luck!

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Photo: Tech In Asia

Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog