What should you know about hailing a taxi on an open street of Shanghai?

James 17 Apr 2020

How comes a once easily made matter became so tricky, especially in the city which has equipped adequate taxi supply to ensure sufficient access for the public? Could there be any possible tips for helping with taxi-hailing?

Taxi waiting for passenger.jpg

In a city with a seemingly endless supply of taxis, it might come as a surprise to visitors that getting a taxi in Shanghai can be complicated and frustrating. It seems simple, yes? Just stand on the sidewalk, wave your hand, and a taxi will come to you, just like in the movies, right? Although we wish this was the case, getting a taxi is sometimes quite challenging. That’s why we would like to share a few tips and tricks to make it easier for you to get a taxi in Shanghai. 

Once upon a time, hailing taxis from an open street was a viable option for new visitors coming to Shanghai, but nowadays, even long-time residents consider it lucky to be able to catch a taxi ride this way. New rules about where and when a taxi can stop to pick up or drop off riders, as well as the introduction of ride-hailing apps, have changed the way people get rides in the city. 

Taxi driving on the road.jpg

In the past decade, millions of new cars have been added to the already over-crowded roads of Shanghai. No matter how many lanes the highway has, it seems to always be packed with cars. To ease the growing traffic tension brought by the increasing number of cars, the city's administration has increased regulations for all drivers, to make driving more efficient. Rules are strictly enforced and can have major consequences for drivers. Gone are the days of white-knuckle rides in the backseat of a Shanghai taxi, now drivers must follow the rules carefully-or else. 

Luckily, it is still possible to hail a taxi from the roadside, just make sure the green light is on, and that you are standing in a place where it is allowed for taxis to stop. In the downtown area, curbs painted in yellow lines mean that a taxi is not allowed to stop or park there, so as not to obstruct the flow of traffic. Fortunately, there are stopping areas set within the restricted downtown section of the city, which are always marked dotted yellow and black lines. Here, automobiles are allowed to make short-term stops (within 3 minutes) to make a pickup or drop-off. So, if you are trying to hail vacant taxi, do it in any of these areas. 

If you are still not sure where that is exactly, take a cue from a local and stand near where they are standing. With patience and luck, you’ll get your ride using this method.

Likewise, if your trip destination ends at an area where parking is forbidden, the driver may suggest a nearby location for drop-off, so just keep this in mind and be flexible when necessary.

Boutique Shops on South Shaanxi Road 陕西南路(3) - Shanghai City Scenes.jpg

Curb in yellow - Parking restricted

Taxi Hail Position Signage.jpg

Signage of taxi-hailing position

Dedicated taxi hailing position.jpg

Dedicated passenger pick-up/drop-down position

Taxi Hail Position Signage (3).jpg

Dedicated passenger pick-up/drop-down position

Taxi Hail Position Signage (4).jpg

Dedicated passenger pick-up/drop-down position

Catching taxi on the street.jpg

Dedicated passenger pick-up/drop-down position

Taxi Hailing Spot on Maoming Road 茂名南路(2) - Shanghai City Scenes.jpg

Dedicated passenger pick-up/drop-down position

The strict regulations do not only apply to the downtown city center areas, and have been implemented citywide, and also at the train stations, airports, and all major transportation hubs. At these transportation hubs, there is an allocated spot for passenger pick-up, so just follow the signs that say “Taxi” and you’ll find the cue.

Beware of taxis or unlicensed drivers trying to pick you up outside of these designated areas. What they are doing is not illegal and it is strongly advised that you do not accept a ride from them.

Sadly, even when you do your best to follow these guidelines, you still might be refused a ride from a taxi driver.

Ride refusal may also happen when:

1.The route to your destination involves dealing with severe traffic conditions. When a trip is going to bring in a low fare, a greedy driver will definitely say no.

2.The car is on a shift change, and it's on the way to the next driver who is waiting for a shift takeover.

3.The car is designated by a platform order that was made by a ride-hailing app. Most used apps like Didi 滴滴, or Meituan 美团 are like a Chinese Uber; they dominate the ride-hailing market by offering the convenience of mobilizing the nearest vacant taxis to ride users. However, for a foreigner who doesn't speak Chinese, there might be difficulty communicating with a driver who barely speaks their language.

Want to enjoy a pleasant ride during your visit to Shanghai? Why not book Private Transfers and Rides with reliable and professional drivers? Say goodbye to frustrating searches for taxis on the street, which can be difficult even in good weather! We’ll help make sure you ride is comfortable and stress-free. Contact us today for a quote!

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