Friday, May 30, 2014

Black Cars

In China they have these cars called "Hei che", which means "black car".  But the term refers to the non-official taxis, which for whatever reason are usually black colored.  They are independent people who illegally run their own taxi service.  The problem with them is that they don't have a meter, so may demand that you pay some exorbitant price for their service.  It's best to arrange the price ahead of time.  All of my Chinese friends suggest that I never take the black cars.  My son, however, seems unconcerned about them.

My son's school is located kind of off the beaten path.  So taxis don't normally drive down that road.  But the black car drivers have learned the school's foreign teachers will accept their services rather than walk a couple of blocks to find a legitimate taxi.  So outside my son's school gate are usually several "hei che" parked waiting for a fare.  When my husband can't pick him up after school, I get a taxi near my house and go to my son's school to get him.  The cost of going to get him and coming back is usually less than if he were to just take the black car home by himself.

Recently my son has ridden in the black cars several times.  He quickly learned that if he isn't feeling well at school, he can just walk off campus and get a black car to come home.  I don't think he is in danger doing this, but I just don't like the idea that they aren't official taxis.  I don't worry too much about the cost either because my son is fearless at bargaining.  I'm glad he is brave enough to find his way around in a country where he doesn't speak the language, but I wish he could find regular taxis.  Well, just a few more weeks before we come home.


Rummuser said...

You can't keep good entrepreneurs down and the system will normally allow them to operate as kickbacks keep the wheels moving! I don't think that your son will be in any danger. In fact the chances are that he will be safer with these as they cannot afford to cause any harm to their clients.

Katie said...

I enjoyed your experience.