~Usually easy to get. There are a huge number of them around. Just stand on the sidewalk where they can pull over and wave. At night they have a red sign in their windshield that is lit when they are available. All licensed taxis have the cost per kilometer on a sticker, typically on the rear windows. In Beijing it was 2.5 RMB per km after the initial startup fee, Xi'an was 1.5 RMB and Shanghai was 11 RMB per km. ( divide RMB by 8 to get approximate cost in US dollars)
~ Make sure they start the meter (the minimum charge is the number on the window sticker )
~ No tipping required--really! I usually round up (e.g. from 14 to 15 RMB), but that's it
~ In Shanghai for some reason the red taxis seem shady, make sure they start the meter
or wait for a different color taxi.
1. Best: Chinese characters for destination and cross streets if necessary. Your hotel card or stationary should have this. The people at the hotel desk will usually do this for you (for a resturant, for example)
2. Point to a location on a map that has Chinese characters
3. Point to a street intersection on the map if the streets are labeled in Chinese (this works about 80%) of the time.
4. Try pronouncing the location in Chinese (good luck...)