Overcharging taxi driver

A few weeks ago I had lunch with some Indian business partners. During the lunch they told us that upon arrival from Mumbai, they had paid RMB 626 for a 19 minute taxi drive from the Longyang Road Maglev Station to a hotel in the Pudong financial center. They knew the amount was too much, but the driver had used the meter, and the figure was indeed RMB 626.

I asked them for the receipt, that they had luckily kept. It turned out that the driver had added RMB 600 in toll fees to the actual amount of RMB 26. Because the receipt is only in Chinese they could not read that of course, and they had paid up.

One of our people then called the taxi company, to complain about what had happened. We faxed them the receipt (the fax number is still written on the receipt), but they later replied that the taxi driver’s identification number is not correct. This means he probably changed his ID number in the taxi meter software.

I hate it when these things happen, it gives Shanghai a bad name. You read about cheating cabbies in the local paper sometimes, but normally only when there is a crackdown. I assume the reports are just some isolated cases, and this happens much more frequently – especially at Longyang Road station where lots of foreigners arrive and there is no supervision like on the airport. Too bad we could not nab this taxi driver.

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  1. It’s a pity to hear this kind of things again.. Is the car number on the receipt a real one?

  2. My experience was, but that was many years ago, not only I was charged with the toll money, the driver wanted to save paying the toll, he drove around all over the place to avoid the toll/road, and then add all those additional millage to my bill.

    I refused to pay. But then I knew how much to pay between the airport and the hotel, and of course I speak Chinese and told the driver EXACTLY how much he was going to get and not a cent more.

    Another incident with taxi driver in China was, I was charged with triple the price because the driver claimed that his car is airconditioned and that I should pay extra.

  3. I actually had a positive experience the other day….

    I was very late to a meeting that was a 10 min walk and about a 1 minute taxi ride away. I grabbed a taxi, told him it was just a very short distance. He said no problem, dropped me off, and then refused to take my money because the distance was so short. I tried to pay him, but he absolutely refused to take my money.

  4. @Davin: the car number was not real (at least according to the taxi company, I assume they would tell the truth)
    @Hoong: I always assumed this only happens to non-Chinese speaking foreigners, but that does not seem to be the case
    @Sam: I never heard this before, good to see that some of them are still like this. It happens sometimes if I cannot find 1 kuai out of RMB 11, that they just take RMB 10. Probably also because they do not need to give RMB 9 change. But I never heard about waiving the whole fee before.

  5. Marc, no wonder why these taxi drivers at the Longyang Lu Metro station refused to offer me a ride probably because they know I’m an Old China Hand!

  6. @cintia: That could be a reason indeed. They are actually not allowed to refuse passengers!

  7. I have very less safety factors for taxi drivers.. SO every time check the their taxi licence first.. — the photo on that, remember the licence No. and his name…


  8. The same experience as Cintia’s happened this evening on the Bin Jiang Road near the Pu Dong Shangri-la where I was refused to take a ride as I knew where I am heading for and I am Chinese. Quite surprised to encounter this but was told later that was not uncommon in Pudong Airport, the Railway Station and Bin Jiang Road. This was just a very unpleasant experience even for native Chinese living in Shanghai.

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