Shanghai taxis to accept foreign bank cards

China Daily| April 15, 2024

The first 50 taxis to allow passengers to pay with foreign bank cards hit the road in Shanghai on April 12 as part of the city's latest efforts to provide more convenience to expats and visitors from overseas.

The move made Shanghai the first city on the Chinese mainland where foreign visitors can pay their fares with cards bearing the logos of UnionPay, Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, JCB or American Express.

Shanghai Dazhong Transportation Group, which operates around 6,000 taxis in the city, said 1,000 are expected to provide such services in Shanghai by the end of June.

Before the seventh China International Import Expo, which is scheduled to be held in Shanghai in early November and is expected to attract many foreign visitors, the service will be expanded to more than 2,000 taxis.

Drivers will also carry around 200 yuan ($27) in cash with them to make change for passengers, the company said.

Shanghai has the largest number of inbound travelers for business, study and tourism on the mainland.

"Taxi services are often the first that foreign travelers come into contact with after entering a city, and it is one of the main scenarios in which they find themselves having to pay for a service directly," said Yang Guoping, chairman of Dazhong Transportation. "Such an improvement will also help local elderly people."

The taxis will also provide a travel guide for foreign passengers printed in English and Japanese. Those who do not understand Chinese can communicate with the drivers through phrases in the guide that feature all three languages.

Yang said he was inspired to improve the method of payment in the taxis after visiting Japan. During his trip there last year, he found that taxis in some areas had digital screens with a variety of payment options.

Ye Liang, deputy director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Shanghai Municipal People's Government, said, "Shanghai will continue to meet the highest international standards, and create foreign-related services and a first-class business environment that allow talent from around the globe to come and live comfortably and develop increasing confidence in the city as they live here."

Bilel Mabrouki, from France, has lived in Shanghai with his spouse and two children for four years. He said that after living as a local, he does not have difficulty making payments anymore as he has apps providing online services on his smartphone.

"But as international travel gradually resumed last year, some of my family and friends from France have visited us, and they mentioned payment difficulties," he said. "I believe improvements being made today will help inbound travelers a lot."

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