I don't take taxis in Beijing much. I can walk to work and I enjoy strolling around the city in decent weather. Plus,the subway gets me where I need to go, speeding along underneath the clogged streets. Beijing taxis are super cheap, too, but unless it's after the subways close down (around 11pm, sadly enough), I don't need them. But mostly it's just personal habit. The ten years I've been in Chicago, I think I took a taxi for just myself a total of one time.
I think I'd like Beijing cab drivers if I spoke their language. They have a reputation for honesty & feistiness, a beautiful combination in a person, if you ask me. The blog Sinoglot/Beijing Sounds records normal conversations for language learning and in one a taxi driver refers to the Chinese saying: "老乡见老乡,两眼泪汪汪" ("when you meet someone from the old village, you cry many tears"). But in today's rapidly urbanizing China, rural customs are going thru a transition phase.
You know the saying: you meet a fellow villager — you know why the tears flow freely? Because they’re bleeding you dry!
The taxi driver explains that the newcomer from the village expects the settled acquaintance to be helpful, but the settled urban dweller can only afford so much. Thus, we have this awkward situation where newcomers go to friends and expect a break, so the urban dweller lets him think he's getting a break while helping him in such a way to profit.
The whole conversation is worth a read, a document of capitalism with Chinese characteristics.