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city transportation for expats - options [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2013-4-29 12:51:02 |Display all floors
This post was edited by WhiteBear at 2013-4-29 13:14

when You visit China on quick business trip,
there are about 4 main options to move around the city:
- taxi (if You move a lot, and sometimes needs just few rides a day)
- hired car (if You have CHinese driver's licence, or Your licence can be converted into temporary Chinese - as provides some companies at airports)
- hired car with the driver (if You don't want to drive in hmmmm...  "complicated" traffic, or You will travell to many cities, in - or around - each spending at list one day)
- transportation provided by Your host companies (when You intend to visit a company, it can usually pick You up from some nearby site - hotel, airport)

what are most important factors, or characteristics of mentioned methods?

taxi - easy to find in almost every city (in smaller cities - may be some problems to find one, or You will have option of bike-taxi - for a brave souls who don't affraid occasionally driving with insane speed, between cars that sometimes seems to go in quite opposite direction...), reasonable rate for a in-city distances, or close to the city (when using taxi - meter, without it ... can be better or worst, depands on You negotiation skill and knowledge of transportation fees in this area)

hired car - if You have experience of driving in chinese traffic (and still want to do it), know the rules (both formal and non-formal), and have required license (international driver's licence is not valid in China). Convenient if You stay in one region (province) for a long time. Price varries, and have to be checked. Also fee for a conversion of driver's licence may varry.
hired car wit the driver - if You need a car for a long time (at list full day, but beter rates are for a week and so on...), but don't want to bother with driving (where reasons spread from "I'm affraid" to "I will have a lot of dinners and want to be abble to soccialise with a bit of C2H5OH). Price depands on "class" of the car, and Your language skill (drivers who speak Your language, who also can be a translators charges sometimes few times more then "just a driver with car"). If You want decent foreign car, clean, and a driver - translator You may pay sometimes 500-1000RMB/day plus fueal and accomodation for a driver if the trip is "out of town". For a "typical" car, not very nice, not very clean, not very quick, with the local driver, who speaks putonghua at best - price can be as low as 200RMB a day.

transportation provided by Your host companies - hm... in this case You WIL NOT be independent, and while cars are usually very comfortable - You host will have some "advantage"... Sometimes They also are "very happy to drive You to other factories", but be avare, that if You don't speak Chinese - They can "present" thamself as Your "agent" and some prove will be added to Your goods. This is also a way to make "industrial espionage" for Them :)
If the car is provided by Your current supplier - there is no problem, except that visiting other (potential) suppliers will be not so comfortable.
when You visit China for a long time (or just live here),
things gets a little different, and You may consider few more options:

public transport (bus, metro, etc.) - convenient if You feel OK among locals, accepts that sometimes it can be crowded, and driving routes may not exactly connect all points You oun route require (needs a taxi, or own feet to cover that additional distances). Needs to do some "test trips" to check exact routes. Very cheap.

own car - if You stay in China for a really long time (many months, years), and have required licence - You may consider to buy a car. Smal new (chinese) car can cost about 40.000 RMB, so if You (or Your company) can afford it, and You want to join traffic... go for it :) International brands are of course more expensive, but still You may find some cheap models made especially for a chinese market. You may also consider buying a electric car, if the range of 100 km and max.speed (for a cheap model) of 80 kph is OK for You - this is more "eco friendly" (if You don't ask where from is electricity You use), and cheaper then typical car. Car is good sollution if You frequently travel for medium distances (100-500 km/day), or have a familly.

own bike - well... if You are keen on big bikes - You may be dissapointed because China "don't like" bikes over 250 ccm, but if You like it as a transportation tool - no problem. For less then 10.000 RMB You will find many good quality models of 125 ccm. Fit it with good alarm, "pancer" trunk, best quality wheel lock, and check carefully all installations Yourself (or ask TRUSTED mechanic/electrician to do it). Changing factory provided ignition key is also good idea (just in case... especially if You bought expensive one).
Now buy a "bike-raincoat", and go feel the freedom :)
Don't forget to aquire licence plates!

scooter - as the bike, but smaller, more agile, and lets You relax more than bike, while driving. Good for the city, worst for bigger distances and when You need more speed. Be carefull - in some cities both bikes and bicycles are banned and can be confiscated by the police. Also licence plates are needed if You want to own it longer than until first police check. In small cites and villages people don't care to have driver's licence or a licence plates for a scooter, but according to law - both are required.
Prices about 3000-3500 RMB for a good quality one is what You pay.

e-scooter - as the scooter, when You accept range of 50 km, and speed about 40-50 kph - it is OK, but, despite some people says - driver's licence IS required. Yes, there is a law that e-bike can be driven as "normal" bicycle (no registration, no licence needed), but ONLY if it weights less then 40 kg, it is "electric assisted pedal bicycle" - have to have those pedals, and it's top speed is below 30 kph (correct me if I'm wrong... 30? 25?). Otherwise... sure, 99% of time there will be no problem, but You risk violation of law, and... saying "bye bye" to Your 3000 RMB (or more) that You spent on it.

e-bicycle - it is simply bicycle, with additional electric motor (rear wheel, front wheel, or in the pedals). When price is at list 2000 RMB for a cheapest 26" mountain bikes with electric "assist motor", it is a little cheaper than e-scooter, more expensive than simple MTB without electric motor, and ... 100% legal even if You don't have registration, licence, and will be checked by the cop in bad mood. Good if You can charge it every 25-50 km, and when You like riding it as normal bike, using electric engine mainly as an assist (for example uphill). When You use it as electric scooter - it also works nice (but not as nice as scooter). I choosen it for a drive to the factory about 25 km from the place I live, and it is very nice - let me use my muscles whenever I want, sometimes having a joy of relax.
Some models are foldable - it fits into car trunk (small wheels - about 22 inches max), or in the bus trunk (any size). It is also no problem to transport it in the metro - fits even in "standard size" gate. Be carefull - bicycle thieves are real danger for bicycles, and e-bicycles - don't leave it unattended if You don't have to.

mini e-bicycle - smaller than e-bicycle, usually foldable, good for short distances, but don't count on it when battery is empty - sure, pedalling is still an option, but not comfortable for a long distances. Best for short trip if Your office is few km from home, or to reach favourite restaurant going out of the office in lunchtime. Folds into size of medium size travel-bag. Cost - about the same as an e-bicycle.

bicycle - if You like pedalling, can afford some sweat at the end of the trip,  and don't need any "artifical help" - this is an option for You. Cheap to buy (600 RMB starting price for a reasonable quality bicycle with few gears), fits into elevator (don't have to park it outside Your apartment), some are also foldable.

text above is my personal oppinion, based on own experience, and experience of my friends.

pelase share with me Your oppinions, and maybe some "tips and trics" that allows (legally) make travelling in (and around) the city or town more convenient {:soso_e113:}

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Post time 2013-4-29 19:59:56 |Display all floors
if You are keen on big bikes - You may be dissapointed because China "don't like" bikes over 250 ccm,

there are many heavy bikes on the road, Harley, Yamaha, BMW and a lot more, 1300ccm and even more, but: registration and insurance application is a "mafan" and it´s in a "grey-zone", no clear "law" for such "fun-bikes".
some day Jiangsu will rule China

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Post time 2013-4-30 07:55:04 |Display all floors
lionstar Post time: 2013-4-29 19:59
there are many heavy bikes on the road, Harley, Yamaha, BMW and a lot more, 1300ccm and even more, ...

Yes, sometimes I see a "cruisers" on other provinces' plates, seems that well above "officially approved" 250 ;)

We all knows, that there are some possibilities if one is really determined to do a thing, and have at list no enemies somewhere above (in the offices).

There are also rumors, that in some places even registration of bikes (no matter "ccm") will be banned, because of danger that average bike owner brings to city traffic. I can imagine  it in big cities, but that would be impossible in small cities, where public transportation is not efficient, and many people commute from small villages around (usually on many kind of bikes - because of "economy factor" in household).

In Guangzhou for example I see "bike taxi" on mopeds, this standard electric ones, that can convince (willing) cop, that it is still bicycle
Few months ago in Foshan however I was driven by bike-taxi (craziest bike-taxi ride I ever have in big city). I know, not the same city... But we may expect that this kind of regulations (like in GZ, or Xiamen) will soon spread also to its neighbors .

I heard some stories, that for a foreigner registering "big bike" is possible, but riding it is not legal...

I'm not a biker, so I'm not so focused on it.
But last time on Canton Fairs I talked with electric cars seller, who told me that for electric car there is a licence easy to obtain, on other booth some people told me that even no licence is needed (that sounds a little insane). Any of You knows actual regulations in this field?

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Post time 2013-4-30 08:34:29 |Display all floors
You forgot way to get around....Now you can also have a private jet....
Never Let Anyone Outside The Family Know What You're Thinking.

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Post time 2013-4-30 09:40:46 |Display all floors
snappysammy Post time: 2013-4-30 08:34
You forgot way to get around....Now you can also have a private jet....

thread was "about the City" :)

happens that some of my friends in Poland have ultralight planes, and even if They can start and land on "improvised landing site" - there are many strict rules. result is that They fly "for fun" around officially approved landing (airport), or between those places.

the same goes with the helicopter... how many approved landings You can find in the downtown of Shenzhen, Beijing, Guangzhou? Do You know air traffic procedures in China? Do You know how many "straight" routes are forbidden? Aircrafts don't fly whenever they liked - it have to stick to the corridors, zones, etc.

This is why if You even have own helicopter - quickest travel in the city You can do by the other vehicles - subway, car, bike, or even bus :)

private aircraft may be good transportation between cities, countries, etc. - right

while on the ground traffic is "civil", and You can go almost whenever You like (until You find wall, or a guard with absent smile and finger near the trigger) - airspace is a subject to strict (mostly military)  control, and air traffic around the cities  is very strictly regulated

yes, we may also say that the expat may buy a hovercraft, boat, or spaceship...

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Post time 2013-4-30 20:05:48 |Display all floors
all you're missing is a Sense of Humor....Lighten Up......I"ve been involved in China for over 30 years...I've owned several planes.... I know all about Private Air Travel in China..

BTW...private aircraft in China is becoming a BIG THING.....

I've owned a King Air and a West Wind.....


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Post time 2013-5-2 01:07:22 |Display all floors
Thanks Whitebear! That is a great review.  I mostly use taxis and public transit but also purchased a good bicycle.  We got three different air pumps before we got one that did not let more air out than it put in.  There must be a trick to them but we had to play around with the pump for hours to inflate the tires when they got low.  The third pump works like the ones I am use to you have two attachments one used for putting air in and one for letting it out.  I have got excellent value from my bicycle riding along the beautiful waterfront trail in Xiamen.  
Tip: A lot of places you can rent bicycles including pick it up at one end of the trail and drop it off at the other end. Just remember to pack a lunch and some water in a backpack and enjoy the ride.
Attitude : Life is 10 percent what happens to you,  and 90 percent how you react to it.

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