IE China: Shanghai Cash Cab

March 12, 2012

Greetings from China! I arrived in Shanghai a week ago on my International Experience. I traveled from Shanghai’s Pudong Airport on a recently-built 300 km/hr Maglev train and soon encountered an old-fashioned taxi scam. I had arrived at the Maglev station with clear instructions about what to do: bypass those people who verbally offered me a taxi and head straight to the official taxi line. I assumed I probably wouldn’t get a cabbie who would try to rip me off. After waiting in line for a little bit, I got a cabbie who tried to rip me off. I was quoted a price of about 280 RMB (renminbi; about $44 USD). I wasn’t sure how much a cab ride should cost, so I continued in the cab (I’m leaving out some of the more embarrassing details on the trip). I thought I had heard the cab ride should be much cheaper, so I pulled out my iPhone and estimated the cost to be about 100 RMB (which turned out to be an overestimate). I also asked my driver why the meter wasn’t working, but because of the language barrier we couldn’t effectively communicate. Upon the completion of the cab trip, I negotiated the fare down substantially from 280 RMB. I couldn’t get the price all the way down, but it was a cheap lesson about traveling and business in a developing country. Welcome to China, Paul. Proceed with excitement and caution.

 

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Paul Van Deventer