Because many travelers in China will spend a lot of time in taxicabs, I thought it important to share more about the men and women who will be chauffeuring you around town.
1 – They are proud and friendly. Taxi drivers in China are very proud of their license. To explain its value: it costs much more to get a driver’s license in China than it does in America. And as a rule, I have found the taxi drivers to be friendly and easy to talk to. If they can speak English, they’re eager to speak to you in your native tongue and they like to know where you’re from. A high percentage of drivers are males, so they will talk about the NBA. Most of them seem to admire Kobe Bryant. Yao Ming is still a huge hero there, so it’s good to come back with something about Yao Ming when the driver mentions Kobe Bryant.
2 – Notice their hands. As you ride with some drivers you may notice a couple of interesting things about their hands. Some wear white gloves to protect their exposed hands from the sun. And some have one very long finger nail. I’m told that the long fingernail goes back to the days of the emperors and is a sign that the person has risen above manual labor.
3 – They will save you $$. One thing Americans appreciate about taking taxis in China is that there is no tipping! This custom can save you lots of money if you take a taxi often.
4 – They expect you to Keep coins or yuán handy. Taxi drivers don’t like to break large bills! They greatly prefer for you to have small bills for them or coins.
5 – Drivers might say no. As you can imagine, it is much more difficult to find an available taxi if it snows or rains. When a taxi does come your way taxi drivers may wave their hand and tell you “bu” or no if the time is near their shift change and your destination is not in the direction that puts them close to their company.
Enjoy your trip!