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Got your metro card? Shanghai's taxis more expensive from today

Things are about to get pricier for those of us that rely on taxis to get from A to B here in beautiful Shanghai. According to Shanghai Daily, as of Thursday 8 October the cost of getting a taxi in the downtown area is set to increase.

Of course, this couldn't happen without an aspect of baffling and unnecessary bureaucratic decision making. Allow us to explain: currently, the flag-down rate stands at 13RMB, with a fuel surcharge of 1RMB, making the total starting cost during the day 14RMB.

Those brilliant bureaucratic minds however, have decided to up the flag-down rate to 14RMB, and waive the fuel surcharge, meaning the flag-down rate is exactly the same as before. Hopefully they didn't have to spend too much public money devising a scheme of such unfathomable genius.

So wait, taxi prices aren't going up? Well, actually they still are; the real increase comes from two places.

Firstly is the price per kilometre. As before, the flag down price will cover the first three kilometres. Then, from 3-15 kilometres the price will be 2.50RMB/km, while every kilometre over 15 will set you back 3.75RMB. Previously, 3-10 kilometres was 2.40RMB, while every kilometre after that cost 3.60RMB.

Note the extra five kilometres that the passenger gets at the lower cost now. The measure is purportedly an attempt to combat the menace that is taxi drivers cherry picking fares (people with supermarket carrier bags = 'no', people with suitcases = 'Let's go!').

The second rise will come from waiting in a taxi. Whereas previously every five minutes waiting was charged as one kilometre, from October 8 every four minutes waiting will be charged as one kilometre.

So what does this mean for the cost of your fares? Well, if you're pottering around downtown, then not a lot. Let's take a 5km taxi ride with a five minute wait as an example. Previously that journey would've cost you 21.20RMB, but under the new scheme that will rise to 22.125RMB (which will be rounded up). That's hardly breaking the bank.

Of course, over longer distances the price increase will be more noticeable, but mostly the change is incremental and not as steep as some previous fare increases. In fact, it's so small it makes us wonder if the taxi drivers are going to notice the difference at all? With one of the harder jobs in the city, it's about time they caught a break.

What's your take on the rising prices? Are taxis crucial for getting your familiy around in Shanghai or is your brood subway savvy?