Taxi Fares Rise in Chengdu

Chengdu’s subway really can’t get here any sooner.

In accordance with what we’ve been hearing people whisper and murmur about for months, Chengdu’s taxi’s have just gone up in price. The price has gone from 6 or 7 yuan, depending on car type, to 8 or 9 yuan. The per-kilometer rate has also gone up by a few jiao (cents) and taxi company representatives say that the price hike is actually nominal when you consider that the gas tax of one yuan is now gone. The price will become clear to you whenever you board a taxi from now on, as you can see from this photo of the sticker affixed to the rear window of each cab:

Chengdu taxi

The Details

For older taxis the starting fare is now 8 yuan while newer taxis start at 9. Between 11pm-6am you’ll pay an extra one kuai at the beginning of your journey and 3 extra jiao per kilometer.

What the City Thinks

I casually spoke with a number of people about this issue; from taxi drivers to students to young professionals. Nearly everyone I had spoken to came to the same conclusion: that this was a long time coming and completely inevitable. Instead of being more expensive than other provincial capitals, Chengdu’s taxis are now right in line with Kunming, Chongqing and other cities of similar size and influence in Western China.

Still, no one wants to pay more.

You can’t deny the role of the subway though, whether you analyze this change from the position of economy or timing. Chengdu has been sorely in need of a means to more evenly distribute the transportation needs of its millions of citizens. Obviously we’re well past the days where you can comfortably or reliably flag a taxi during rush hour in Chengdu.

Chengdu taxi

A friend expresses displeasure on the first afternoon of paying the inflated Chengdu taxi fare

Alternatives for Jiao Pinchers

Hopefully this won’t put too much of a dent in your lifestyle but if it does, there are practical alternatives to relying on taxis.

  • Bicycle. Since it’s flat and has dedicated bicycle lanes, Chengdu is a great place to pedal around. Especially at this time of year. You always have to be careful about bicycle theft in Chengdu but it’s absolutely worth the risk.
  • Bus. The network is extensive and has recently been improved. Due to that whole buses-exploding thing. Seriously though, buses are a safe, cheap and quick way to get around assuming you take the time to figure out the system.
  • Subway. It hasn’t officially opened yet and the routes will be limited until they finish construction on subsequent lines, but it’s modern, fast and cheap. Like the bus but moderner, faster and… about the same price, actually. Check out photos from the first day on the Chengdu subway to see how cool it looks.

What Do You Think?

Has Chengdu’s rising taxi fares got you bent out of shape or are you brushing this off? Will this change your habits at all?

Here’s a photo of a Sichuan native fake-crying upon seeing the meter fall at 8 yuan for the first time while you make up your mind:

Chengdu taxi

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Charlie

About Charlie

Having lived in Chengdu for ten years, Charlie has traveled to every corner of China and back again, calling the Yulin neighborhood of Chengdu his adopted home.

16 Responses to “Taxi Fares Rise in Chengdu”

  1. Hmm.. as you say, a rise in price isn’t really good news. But I don’t feel too bad paying 2 yuan more knowing that other major cities in China are so much more expensive than Chengdu.

  2. Yeah it really isn’t that big of a deal if you step back and look at it. But we were so accustomed to about 25 kuai for a trip all the way from WAY SOUTH to the train station up north. Having to pay 30 or 35 is just gonna hurt …

  3. I take a taxi from downtown(盐市口) to Yu Lin (near the BookWorm) at night 6 or 7 times per week. The fare used to be 12 or 13 yuan, but now it’s 16 or 17 yuan. This is not a long distance as you know and this is the less expensive type of taxi. So if you take taxi for a long distance, especially in a newer taxi (Sagitar), it will be much more expensive than before.

    So as a common Chinese IT worker who has to pay mortgage and someone born in Chengdu, I don’t feel good about paying more for taxi’s.

    • Charlie

      Yeah, that really adds up. 3 or 4 yuan per trip, 25 times per month is a few thousand yuan per years. Not really insignificant. I wonder when the price go up again – 5 years from now?

  4. Just bought my first bike. Although the taxi price issue was a factor, I thought health was a little more important in the decision.

    • Charlie

      Health and just the pleasure of riding around Chengdu on a bicycle are great reasons to opt for that mode of transportation. After going a year without a bicycle and dreading the process of buying another and having it stolen again, I got another Giant a few months ago. One of my most memorable experiences this summer was an epic bike ride through areas of the city I hadn’t seen before on an incredible day with a perfect sunset.

  5. Yeah, bike or electric cooter is definitely the way to go…. If you are taking a 15 kuai cab to work everyday (as I was), it will pay for itself in 3 months.

    Then you don’t have to feel bad when you crash your e-scooter (into the back of a cab) like I did yesterday. Remember to get your brakes fixed when they start to fail….

    • Charlie

      Definitely, even more so now. I got a bike a few years ago to save taxi money for short trips around the South of Chengdu that I was taking 2-3 times a day. In a situation like that, the bike can pay for itself in two weeks or less.

  6. Wow, I can’t believe that foreigners who earn shitloads of money cannot afford paying a few kuai extra. And seriously, are you taking a taxi every day? That’s incredible. Take a bus, or buy a cheap electric bike for ¥1500 and you’ll pay a ridiculous ¥0.01 per km (the price of the electricity).

    Cheapskates.

    • Charlie

      The most dissatisfied people that I’ve found, by far, are all locals. I mentioned that in the post and suggested bicycle and bus as alternatives. Apparently you missed all of that or you just want to be angry?

  7. I took a taxi from my home to my destination which was exactly 4km on the meter.The fare drop is 8RMB for the first 2 km and then 1.90RMB for an additional 1 km, but when I arrived the fare showed 14RMB, when I did the math with the new fares it should have been 11.80RMB. I smell a scam in the new meters. My advice is watch the distance and do the quick math before you pay and only pay the posted amount per km plus the flag drop.

    • Charlie

      Good to know. One of the apparent “updates” that they made recently was bolstering the security of taxi meters to prevent rigging and tampering. The fare can fluctuate depending on traffic though, so a rush hour trip will cost significantly more than a quick jaunt across town. 14rmb doesn’t seem that cheap for a 4km journey, though.

  8. Nice clear photos. Keep up the good work.

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