The fare at night is “jia cheng” meaning 10% more after the flagfall. The distance included in the flagfall is also shorter. The driver is entitled to switch the meter over at 11pm exactly even if you got in the taxi before then. The ordinary button is on the left. The night button is on the right. As the far increases on the day tariff the meter beeps once: “beep!” If you are on the night tarrif it beeps twice like this: “beep-beep!” If the driver also beeps it may be time to pay the fare and get out.
At Chinese New Year the taxis are on night fares all the time, but at night and during CNY eve night and CNY day there is an extra NT$20 to pay on top of what it says on the meter.
No matter what tariff you are on the extra is a pittance really and I don’t get upset about the “oh I thought it was night” or “I usually work at night so er um” chancers. What does annoy me is the people who take you on a huge journey which will leave you late for work and make them a mere 20 NT extra.
I take two NT$250 taxis a day, one to work and one back. There is a problem with every third guy. Some just don’t know how to get from place to place. Some don’t know the quickest route at a certain time of day. Some do. Some are deliberately trying to rip you off.
Bear in mind that the Taiwanese are generally, shall we say, “frugal”. One guy couldn’t understand why I wanted to take a certain route and swore blind that if a “local” had been in the car it would have been no problem. He said that the route I suggested was an extra NT$20 and had he automatically taken that route (quicker) the passenger would have had a coronary.
So sometimes they do deliberately take a route than is in fact shorter by disctance, but longer in time, because most punter want that.
What I do in the evenings when drivers take advantage of my inebriated state is to have a blazing row with them and then leave on their back seat whatever expensive electronic gadget I happen to have on me at the time. It’s like a little No Concrete Jeans Please tip.
I have no adopted the practice of never giving the final destination but just acting as a sort of human GPS satnav system. “Take the second exit at the next roundabout…” in my best Angela Rippon accent.