Just to say first, this is not another "I hate/complain"-thread. I like living here and so far I met mostly nice, helpful people. I heard many people complaining about taxi drivers, refusing to driver a foreigner, but never happened to me. Until today and I got so pissed of.
I unfortunatelly cut my hand today badly. I did some small first aid but had to go to the hospital. A friend stoped a taxi and told him to bring us to Richland (just around the corner actually). But the driver said No, because it is changing time and he has no time. I was already dissapointed in that reaction but seeing him driving away and after 5 meters stopping to take 3 Chinese guys made me very angry. I guess it doesnt make a difference, but I opened the door of the taxi again and yelled some not very nice things at that driver.
Honestly, how can a taxi driver refuse somebody who is injured and needs to go to a hospital? This kind of behaviour would make me made anywhere in the world. Whats wrong with people?
Should have gotten his number or license plate to lodge a formal complaint. I am fairly sure he'd be in trouble with the bureau of transportation for pulling that kinda stunt. That said, I can't remember having met outright dishonest taxi drivers during my time here, but I guess it's hard to avoid the occasional bad apple.
My friend wanted to take a picture of the licence plate but we were not fast enough. Too much traffic, too many cars, couldnt see the number.
Most drivers own their own cars and pay a hefty license fee. If you have bad service, note the drivers license - it's also supposed to be displayed on the dashboard, and call the complaint number - but it's all in Chinese so good luck.
If the shift change was during normal rush hours - you can complain (or lie) that the driver was changing shifts during rush hour - which is allegedly against policy and they'll have to pay a HEFTY fine/penalty - something like ¥2k.
But - chances are if you were bleeding - he either didn't want you to mess up his taxi or just didn't want any trouble. I've had taxi drivers slow down then speed off in the mornings when I'm wearing a surgical mask as I'm guessing they're afraid of catching colds (but I wear them cuz I'M afraid of catching colds.
I've had MORE than my fair share of thieving drivers who love to try to do the scenic route - just to add anywhere from a few extra ¥ to the bill to one outright thief who turned a 4km trip into 15km - so again - buyer beware - pay what you know should be the fare +/- and if a driver dumps the fare because he wants to go eat or won't drop you off where you want - call the complaint number and mutter your way through the complaint but be sure to speak the taxi number (Usually "T" followed by a short series of digits) - ALL the drivers know complaints against their vehicle can mean trouble during license renewal time - so make sure you make their problem...THEIR PROBLEM.
Sorry to hear about your hand - and modestly surprised to hear Richland re-opened after repairing their reception area. Trust all is well now - aside from your frustration - China is NOT the most service oriented country yet - aside from KFC delivery - and Kunming/Yunnan is regretfully famous for its lazy unprofessional attitude throughout China. The other night I met a Beijing official visiting Kunming commented on this issue. The upside - the city and the people are generally rather relaxed.
I have had plenty of bad experiences with taxi drivers, and its easy to get mad. To be honest, I hate them.
You should surely cuss the driver out, as harshly as possible.
But I think its really not OK to try to hit the driver in his pocket or cost him fines. That is crossing the line.
If everyone had cushy jobs and made good money that might be fine, but in this unfair world, you are basically just abusing someone from a lower caste than you.
Don't call the complaint number. Its basically shooting the messenger.
Accept that there is no individual solution to the problem, and hope that asking the driver '"Are you human?" in Chinese might, just might, dent his conscience.
Agreed, these guys make such little money as it is, you might be the same if you were in the same position.
Sometimes it's easier to point the finger, but in my experience most of the taxi drivers I've had were totally fine. I've never been taken on some long route rather than using shortcuts, and it's rather simple to avoid that when you tell them which streets to take to get to your destination. If they refuse, you tell them to stop and get out. Easy.
Changing shifts at rush hour is a big no-no, and fighting it is completely reasonable. Funnily enough, I find it more difficult to get a cab in Kunming during rush hour recently than I have in years. They still routinely refuse to stop for you, so I guess it's one of those things that will likely never change nor improve whatsoever.
That, and chatting up the driver is always a good way to avoid problems in the first place. It always works for me.
@Tim: Taxi drivers actually make a decent living in Kunming. The drivers who own their cars make around 7000 a month while the guys who don't pull in 4-5000. I agree with the rest of your points but being a taxi driver around here definitely isn't the worst job available.
Slightly different subject, but does anyone have any input on "black taxis" (黑车)?
The taxi situation has significantly deteriorated over the past few years, which, being common knowledge, has led to more private cars carrying passengers.
Curious if these are reasonably safe to try, or if it would just be asking for trouble?
I've only done it once, and of course it's hit-or-miss when you're out trying to hail a real taxi...but it saved me from being late on a rainy day when taxis are in high-demand.
My general experience with chatty drivers is they're trying to determine how naive and gullible you are - the "are you from outta town" question can be a simple honest question or a prelude to the LONG SCENIC ride through Kunming.
When I know the driver's heading in the right direction - I'll then chat them up - offer them a cigarette etc as courtesy if they smoke.
Danmairen - I chatted up a driver with a new taxi - he told me he's making over ¥10k per month - but his expenses are high - gas, taxi license, and he works 7 days a week - which probably explains the taxi driver burnout (dumping fares, etc). I noticed some drivers share the load with their wife/significant other (check the license - pictures don't match).
Finally, if one is afraid of injuring a driver's revenue - despite the fact that he/she wasted your time - my time is worth money - just PRETEND to call the complain line. Calling the actual line and conversing in putonghua is painful.
I wonder if the driver perhaps saw your hand. Unfortunately drivers believe its bad luck if someone bleeds in their car. Absurd - yes, immoral — absolutely, but sadly reality.
I remember when my wife was pregnant she thought it a real likelihood that we wouldn't be able to get a cab to the hospital in an emergency.
Sadly this is not limited to Kunming but exists in the big cities too. A few weeks ago we had to take an ambulance to a hospital in Beijing because taxi drivers refused to take a sick child.