Monday, October 8, 2007
Taxi-cab has been the preferred means of transportation in Shanghai. Cabs are abundant, fairly inexpensive, and a quick way to hop from place to place (traffic permitting). Taking a taxi requires a little bit of skill, however. Drivers don’t speak English so you have to show a map or address written in Chinese. Cabs have seatbelts in the front seat, but none to be found in the back. That’s a pity because driving in Shanghai really boosts the adrenaline. Vehicles cut in front of one another and large buses edge in on teeny sedan taxis. Most roads are two or three lanes, but the space between vehicles is sparse. I could easily reach out and touch the next vehicle from the always-open window.
We met a teacher from Mat-Su who is here working and she schooled us in taxi safety. Certain color cabs are a better choice – blue, light blue, teal, green. Make sure the cab has a phone number on the side. Some cabs look okay, but have no number and they’re generally a maroon color. Apparently these are “independents” and traveling in circles with these cabbies is common as they don’t know the area very well.
Even though vehicles dart in front of each other, navigate through bikes, and make unexpected U-turns, we didn’t see many accidents. That’s a good thing --- our friend from Mat-Su said if your taxi is in an accident, pay your bill and walk away. Expatriates in taxi accidents could be held liable.