There aren't many options when it comes to public transportation in Shanghai, so a taxi is often the best way to get around. With around 50.000 taxis in the city, it's easy to find one and they are very affordable. However, there are a few things that could prevent you from having an enjoyable ride. Most cab drivers speak little or no English and not all cab companies are reliable.
Here are three things you should know to ensure your taxi ride will be a smooth one!
Hi Shanghai Taxi
Explaining to the cab driver where you want to go can be a challenging task. Most taxi drivers don't know the English names of hotels and attractions.
The iPhone app Hi Shanghai Taxi solves this problem. It has a search function to find your destination in English. Once you've found it, turn your iPhone 90 degrees and it will show the Chinese name. Show it to the driver and you're on your way.
Ask for a Vapiao
A Vapiao is a receipt that includes information about your ride, such as the registration number of the driver, the taxi fare and a few other things. Every taxi driver is obligated to give you one. If you happen to leave something behind in the taxi, the police will be able to track the taxi down very quickly. This can save you a lot of trouble. You can find a good example in my post about when I left my luggage in a taxi.
Get the right taxi
There are a lot of taxi companies in Shanghai, each with a different reputation. The best ones are run by Dazhong (light Blue), Qiangsheng (dark Yellow) and Bashi (Green). You should avoid the ones that are colored Maroon. These are small companies and often a little sketchy.
Taxi drivers are assigned a number of stars, based on customer feedback. On the driver's registration card that is displayed on the windscreen, you can see how many stars your driver has. They range from one to three stars. Taxi drivers with three stars have over five years experience, have been in no or few accidents, have gotten good feedback from customers and speak basic English.