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:
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.
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: