Shanghai Taxi Complete Guide 2020

Shanghai Taxi Complete Guide 2020

HomeGetting Around ShanghaiShanghai Taxi Complete Guide 2020

Shanghai is a huge city and provides many ways of traveling around the city. One of the most effective and easy ways of traveling across the city is Shanghai taxi and knowing how to use it can be a true blessing. Different taxi services operate here and with the right knowledge, you can use them quite efficiently.

The information shared here comes from firsthand experiences and will ensure you do not have to worry about the taxi system in Shanghai. There are a few options that you can go for and we are sharing details of each one so you can move around the city with ease.

Traditional Taxis

As far as the traditional taxis are concerned, there are well over 50,000 taxis all across Shanghai. In total, over 100 different companies are operating Shanghai taxi services in the city and you will see them everywhere. The two biggest names are Dazhong which has sky blue colored taxis, and Qiangsheng which has green and orange colored taxis. Some other reputable names included Haibo (dark blue taxi) and Jinjiang (white taxi).


When compared to other major cities around the world, the taxis in Shanghai charge a higher rate from their customers. However, it is still affordable in a lot of circumstances. Depending on the location you are in, you will find different rate schedules being followed. The tables below provide an idea of the rates you may have to pay for your ride around the different parts of the city.

Downtown Shanghai

Distance TraveledDaytime 5:00 AM – 11:00 PMNighttime 11:00 PM – 5:00 AM
0-3 kmCNY 14CNY 18
3-15 kmCNY 2.5/kmCNY 3.1/km
More than 15 kmCNY 3.6/kmCNY 4.7/km
Waiting ChargeEvery 4 minutes of waiting time will be equal to the per km price. The charge rate will be distance-dependent (as described above).
Fuel FeePassengers are not liable to pay for fuel

One particular brand of car used as Shanghai taxi is Volkswagen Touran which charges CNY 16 for 0-3 km with the same surcharge rates as defined above.

Shanghai Suburbs

Distance TraveledDaytime 5:00 AM – 11:00 PMNighttime 11:00 PM – 5:00 AM
0-3 kmCNY 11CNY 13.2
3-10 kmCNY 2.4/kmCNY 2.9/km
More than 10 kmCNY 3.1/kmCNY 3.7/km
Waiting ChargeNo waiting charge applicable
Fuel FeeCNY 1 per trip

The districts covered in this category include Songjiang, Minhang, Qingpu, and Fengxian.

Reservation Numbers

Shanghai is a big and busy city so you can naturally expect to see rush hours every day. The most common rush hour timings are 7:00–10:00 in the morning and 04:00–07:00 in the evening. So you should expect heavy rush in areas where a lot of passengers are present like subway stations, railways stations, airports, major bus stations, and some key downtown areas. The rush means you may have to end up waiting a long time to get a taxi. So a good way of avoiding that is to simply make a reservation and your taxi will come to you at the designated spot at the designated time. The reservation numbers for major service providers are in the table below.

CompanyReservation Number
Qiangsheng021 – 62580000
Jinjiang021 – 96961
Dazhong021 – 96822
Haibo021 – 96933

Barrier-Free Taxis

Shanghai taxi network also includes services dedicated to people with disabilities and any other special requirements. These taxis are champagne gold in color and are basically British deluxe cabs. The foldable seats in these cabs allow space for equipment like wheelchairs and kids strollers. There are 200 of these cabs in Shanghai, however, you may not find one right away when you need them. It is highly recommended to make a booking one day earlier if you intend to use this cab. Their rates are also a bit more than regular cabs and you can see the table below for details.

Fee CategoryFare
0-3 km (flagged)CNY 18
More than 3 kmCNY 2.6/km
Fuel Fee CNY1 per trip
Reservation Number 021 – 62580000

DiDi Chuxing

Also referred to as the “Chinese Uber”, DiDi is one of the largest mobility service providers in China. As the title goes, it is just like an Uber where you book a private car using DiDi’s Shanghai taxi app. Uber did provide its services in the Chinese market but due to major losses, it sold its interests to DiDi Chuxing in 2016.

It is a very good and efficient Shanghai taxi app and with its recent launch of English apps, a lot of tourists now use it to go around Shanghai with ease. To configure your DiDi Shanghai taxi app, download it on your iOS or Android device before you reach China. Add your payment method too so you don’t have any issues later due to internet restrictions in China.

Since almost all of the drivers speak Chinese only, communication is an issue for tourists. However, the DiDi Shanghai taxi app can mitigate that problem quite a bit by providing preset text messages which you can send to the driver. Some drivers will also try to call you before they reach your location to coordinate. With everything including the payment method automated, you do not need to talk to the driver at all.

The biggest concern is the location search. While your present location can automatically be accessed via GPS, you have to search your destination on the app. DiDi does provide good English support but the most accurate search results only show in Chinese. For places that are not popular, you might need to learn how to write the Chinese characters in the app. You can ask your hotel staff to help you out with that as well.

DiDi for iOS | DiDi for Android

Black Taxis

This mode of transport should be kept as a last resort option when you simply can’t find a Shanghai taxi at your location. Black taxi is just a common term used for drivers who are not registered as taxi drivers. While it is illegal for them to provide this service, you can still use it if you don’t want to stand for half an hour waiting for a taxi. These are ordinary people driving personal cars who are either going home from their work or are simply unemployed and trying to make some money.

You will notice them easily because these people notice people looking for taxis and either flash their lights to you and slow down or honk at you. So once you wave someone to come to you, they will ask you where you want to go. You cannot get in before telling them that because they might not be going in the direction you want to go. In addition to that, you must also ask them for the fare. Taxi fare in Shanghai may be fixed for services but these guys like to haggle. So you should also return the favor as they will always quote a high price. Make sure you get it down to a reasonable amount and only get in when you have an agreement. Not doing that can lead to a lot of problems if you are asked to pay a huge sum at the end.

With good haggling, you can get them to go even lower than the standard taxi fare in Shanghai. However, since most of the drivers only speak Chinese, so you will need to know a reasonable amount of Chinese.

Important Points

To make your experience with Shanghai taxi smooth and trouble-free, keep the following guidelines in mind.

  • You can pay your taxi fare in Shanghai either with cash or with the Shanghai Public Transportation Card. This card can be used on a lot of different services including taxis, buses, metros, etc.
  • There is an option to pay via debit/credit card as well but very few taxis provide that option. Most drivers also prefer getting paid in cash.
  • WeChat is also a great payment option so if you have an account you can use that as well since almost all Chinese people use it for payments.
  • You should try and find taxis operated by Qiangsheng or Dazhong as these two companies have the best service reputation.
  • Sometimes passengers, especially tourists get into problems with cabs regarding overcharging. These problems almost always occur with red-colored cabs. There are many independent Shanghai taxi owners also operating and they use red color on their cabs. So, it is best to avoid using them. Of course, that does not mean in any way that all red taxi drivers are bad because most drivers are very good and well mannered.
  • Last but certainly not least, ALWAYS make sure the taxi driver will provide a printed receipt for the trip. If you do not see a receipt printer or the meter is not visible enough, simply get out of the cab. The printed receipts you get have all the information about the taxi so you can use it to contact the company if there is a problem or you forget something.
  • To easily identify a good Shanghai taxi, just check if it has a phone number printed on the body. These are service hotlines and you can automatically know the taxi belongs to a good company.

In addition to the guidelines provided above, the following points will also come in handy, especially if you want to hire a taxi quickly.

  • When hailing a cab, do take a look around and see that you are in the right place. Often moving just a bit further away from a big intersection can make it easier for you to get a cab.
  • Avoid hailing cabs that close to a bus stop or metro station. The heavy traffic at metro stops means you will not be able to get a cab quickly. As for bus stops, taxi drivers think you are close to your destination and they try to find someone who will go farther.
  • Learn to figure out which Shanghai taxi you can hail and which one you can’t. Taxis with red lights on top are reserved so there is no point calling them. If a taxi light is green and the cabin light is on then that taxi is free. However, if a taxi shows a green light but the inner light is turned off or the meter is off then the taxi driver would be busy. This could be because he is going for a lunch break or doing something else of his own.

Taxi Fares in Shanghai on Popular Routes

For the sake of reference, we are sharing some of the most commonly used Shanghai taxi routes with the taxi fare in Shanghai that you can expect to pay for them. Of course, these are just estimates and the real values can be a bit different from the estimates provided here.

Trip Routes5:00 AM – 11:00 PM11:00 PM – 5:00 AM
Oriental Pearl Tower – Zhujiajiao Water TownCNY 180CNY 200-220
Pudong Airport – Hongqiao AirportCNY 220CNY 280
People’s Square – Pudong AirportCNY 170-180CNY 200-220
Shanghai Railway Station – Hongqiao AirportCNY 60CNY 70
Shanghai – WuxiCNY 600-700CNY 700-800
Shanghai – SuzhouCNY 500CNY 600

Chinese Phrases

Here are some phrases that you can use to talk to Shanghai taxi drivers in general, especially if you have to give manual directions.

Chinese PhrasePronunciationMeaning
Ni qu nar?nee choo narWhere are you going? (driver will say this)
Wo qu.woh chooI am going to… (add place name)
Zhi zou.jer zoMove straight
Zou guai.zo gweyeTake a left turn
You guai.yo gweyeTake a right turn
Ting che!ting chuhStop the car
ie xie!shehThank you
Zai jian!zeye janGoodbye

With the options provided here, taking a Shanghai taxi should not be a problem for you anymore. Whichever option you choose, you will be able to judge whether or not it is right for you. If you are ever stuck, do not hesitate to reach out to your hotel staff or even random people out on the streets because they will help you out!