The taxis are quick and reliable in Beijing, if you’re fluent in Mandarin. Which I’m not. So for those about to travel to Beijing, be sure to have a map or the place you’re going to written in Chinese because taxi drivers will not speak a lick English (despite reports that drivers were given English lessons).
Also, be on the lookout for drivers who start the fare at 11 RMB or more. The baseline should be 10. I had a driver try to pull that move on me yesterday.
For the most part the taxi drivers have been friendly. I had a conversation with one about the merits of Kobe (he’s awesome) and the demerits of Tracy McGrady (he’s always injured and doesn’t care about winning). Most importantly, the drivers have been quick, shuttling me from my guest house to the Olympic area.
I’ve also been able to practice my butchered Mandarin on them; some of them placate me and say that my Pu Tong Hua isn’t bad. I know better.