Motorcycle taxis' special charm

December 29, 2009 | Posted by Chris

Motorcycle taxis in Beijing fill a special transportation niche as a fast, convenient and inexpensive way to reach one's destination, despite lingering safety and legal questions, the Global Times writes. Those familiar with life in Beijing will quickly agree that motorcycle taxis possess special charm: with a small cab that fits two people at the back of a motorcycle, it's a unique hybrid that gives passengers an intimate view of the city while also effortlessly passing by traffic. They are ideal for traveling short distances -- more convenient than a bus and less expensive than a taxi -- but there are also drawbacks. In addition to their loud noise and tight sitting space, motorcycle taxis are in fact illegal in Beijing, because they are classified as motorcycles and therefore unfit to taxi passengers. Furthermore, most motorcycle taxi drivers are from the countryside and trying to make ends meet in the big city -- so insurance is out of the question in case of an accident. Because of this, Beijing's ongoing development has had a profound impact on motorcycle taxis: they cannot be found in the most developed areas of the city and their scope will only continue to be reduced in the foreseeable future.

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