As taxi driver Zhou pulls away from Chengdu North Railway Station, he looks back out the window at his colleagues, crowing: “The airport! I’ve got an airport one!”

It’s a rare success. Three long rows of taxis stand outside this rail station in the capital of Sichuan province, central China: there is no passenger queue. At Chengdu’s airport, taxi drivers can wait as long as three hours for a fare.

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