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Dongguan taxi driver takes to Weibo to teach you how to spot a fake taxi

Posted: 12/22/2011 10:24 am

It’s become commonplace in recent months in cities throughout the PRD to share tips for telling the difference between real and fake taxis. In Dongguan, one taxi driver going by the online alias Kuang Ye Di Ge (‘Wild Taxi Driver’) has taken it as his mission to further educate the public: “Many people still can’t tell, I shall give some hints,” he writes on his Sina Weibo account.

Dongguan’s Wild Taxi Driver doesn’t have a huge online following, but he has received substantial media coverage over the past few days, such as this profile in Guangzhou Daily.

After following a discussion on Sina Weibo moderated by Dongguan’s Transportation Bureau on December 16, Wild Taxi Driver felt that many people still rely on inaccurate information in trying to distinguish fake taxis from real ones. He then decided to repurpose his Weibo account as an educational tool, publishing a series of 9 photos to accompany free lectures he now gives on on how to get recognizing unlicensed taxis right.

His first piece of advice is that instead of trying to bargain a price, go by the meter and name your destination as soon as you get in a taxi, and don’t forget to check the driver’s work license.

According to Wild Taxi Driver, around 98% of license plate numbers for Dongguan taxis consist of two consecutive letters and three numbers, and legitimate plates with only numbers don’t exist.

Why isn't the meter running?

He also mentions a “fuel conversion button,” explaining that 95% of regulated taxis will have this button, and those that don’t are highly likely to be fake (‘hei che‘).

In response to concern from some netizens about taxi drivers who refuse to use the meter, Wild Taxi Driver says the best way is to pay first and call 96900 to complain later. He says that in cases in which legitimate grievances can be proven following a complaint, the taxi driver in question faces a suspension of up to a month and passengers can recover twice the amount they were overcharged.

He went on to explain that passengers face a good chance of resolving legitimate complaints as real taxis all now have GPS tracking systems installed.

However, not everyone agrees with Wild Taxi Driver, pointing out that many illegal taxis are able to convincingly imitate telltale signs which would otherwise give them away.

However, taxi drivers all seem to agree that relying on the meter and always asking for an invoice are the most effective ways to screen taxis, adding that checking to make sure your taxi is installed with a GPS system is the most effective indicator.

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