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Beijing Railway Station -Beware of Taxi Scams

New York City, New...
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Beijing Railway Station -Beware of Taxi Scams

Be aware that at the Main Railway Station in Beijing there seems to be an organized taxi scam. Cabs are in a usual line but you must pay the dispatcher a fee he determines upfront even when you say you want the meter used. He just stands there and smiles and no cab will move without his signal. The police are literally a few feet away so one must take it that they're in on this.After a seven hour train ride, I was too tired and had too much luggage to argue so I paid it.

Later, I found out from the hotel that I paid about 4 TIMES what the metered price would have been. Not a great welcome to China greeting. The new regime claims they're cracking down on corruption. They just have to look at the RR Station in their Capitol to see what amounts to extortion. If you can, take the Metro which is very efficient.

Amsterdam
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1. Re: Beijing Railway Station -Beware of Taxi Scams

I never encountered this at any railway station in Beijing. Are you sure you went to the official taxi queue, or were you directed there by someone?

Beijing, China
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2. Re: Beijing Railway Station -Beware of Taxi Scams

Yeah, never seen this happen at any official taxi queue at Beijing Main, West, or South rail stations. As for "dispatcher" there's usually somebody controlling the queue at the front and pointing next person in line to next available cab---not sure what this 'fee" is that you are talking about. Taxis pull away as soon as the luggage and people are in the cab, there's no time for them to loiter about playing games.

Taxis must use the meter, all you need to do is point and insist, in any language. If they won't comply, take down the ID number of the driver that's posted on the front passenger side of the vehicle, and when you arrive at your destination and get your luggage out of the car and pay the driver, take down the license plate. The hotel can put in a call to the taxi company with the license plate and driver ID information, and get you a refund for the overage pretty quickly. Metered taxis are required to provide an official receipt to the passenger, which has all the pertinent information on it. "Fapiao" is the key word. Invoking it usually prevents shenanigans. if driver refuses, use method I previously mentioned to take down info and recoup from taxi company after the fact.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Beijing Railway Station -Beware of Taxi Scams

I paid the dispatcher the entire amount. The cab driver ran the meter, presumably to show the dispatcher the real amount...he was not given any money by me., This was the real taxi line....at least according to the policeman who directed me there. I arrived on the "D" bullet train from Harbin which arrived at the Main Beijing Station.

Sherbrooke, Canada
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4. Re: Beijing Railway Station -Beware of Taxi Scams

Paying the dispatcher? Never seen this anywhere in China or elsewhere in the world.

Beijing, China
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5. Re: Beijing Railway Station -Beware of Taxi Scams

Also never seen paying the dispatcher in any official taxi queue, anywhere in China. Obviously, you were not in a true taxi queue but were in one of the following: 1) some sort of special "limousine" service (without the vehicle literally being a limousine), overpriced but legal and not a scam....and you see these in airports all over the world. OR 2) a scam set-up that you were somehow diverted to.. Which begs the question of WHERE you actually went. The official taxi queue is directly in front of the plaza, between the subway entrance points. Did you see any Chinese also paying a "dispatcher"?

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Beijing Railway Station -Beware of Taxi Scams

This was my eighth trip around the world. The only other time there was an attempted scam like this was in Buenos Aires but I knew enough Spanish to abort it. The were plenty of Chinese on the line. I was going to the Park Plaza Hotel which was really not far. I usually travel light and would have taken the Metro but my stay in Harbin for the Festival required extra clothing for the -30 temps, hence I had too much luggage for public transportation.

Beijing, China
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7. Re: Beijing Railway Station -Beware of Taxi Scams

How many trips you've had around the world is irrelevant. You still didn't answer the question of exactly where you went, when you came out the station exit, and whether you actually saw Chinese pay this dispatcher. I cannot imagine Chinese paying any taxi driver until they reached their destination, that's just the way they're wired. But it is true that provincials who have never been to Beijing also get caught up with the local cheats, similar to foreigners. Not trying to rag on you at all or cast aspersions at your overall travel experience, I'm really interested in the details and as much as you, helping others to avoid the situation that you encountered. Certainly I've seen places at some Chinese stations that are set up nearby and purport to be an official taxi queue but are not and tend to charge whomever they can attract, with whatever they think they can get away with.

On a related note, it pays to know roughly how much a taxi costs from an airport or rail station to your hotel/destination in the city. So if you know a ride should be in the RMB 25 range and someone asks for 50 or 75 or 100, you can laugh and wave them off. Or ask for an official receipt "fapiao" before you hand them the cash, and that usually will thwart the cheats.

Los Angeles
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8. Re: Beijing Railway Station -Beware of Taxi Scams

Is there a way to tell by looking at a taxi if it is official? I thought I had read that you could tell by the license plate but I don't remember where I read it and I wasn't sure if it was true. Or is there an official sticker on the window or something?

San Francisco
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for Guangzhou
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9. Re: Beijing Railway Station -Beware of Taxi Scams

First time I was cheated by a taxi was JFK long ago, last time I was cheated by taxi was Bangkok airport taxi few months ago, paid $16 for $8 ride, I am not going to let $8 ruin my trip when one night hotel was $200.

I have taken taxis at Beijing airport a few times, just followed sign to taxi line, sat in taxis, all by the meter, honest and about 100 RMB. Same as few trips from hotels to airport, all honest and by the meter.

Don't know about train stations, but the story is very strange, it took many actors and equipments to set up a sting like that, for such small amount. It is not cost effective, doesn't make sense.

Melbourne
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10. Re: Beijing Railway Station -Beware of Taxi Scams

Taxi mafia exists big time in many many chinese cities. Those who do not know of its existence are clearly people who are not - in pinyin- zhongguoutong... They who say it doesnt exist have no idea about the realities of living in china.