Zhang Jie Yu 张建宇 is a 43 year old taxi driver from Beijing who has worked as a driver his whole adult life, having been interested in cars since he was a child. Here is his life on the road:
What is your solution to heavy traffic in Beijing?
All drivers need to calm down, stay in their traffic lanes, and obey traffic rules. If all drivers followed the rules, the traffic wouldn’t be so bad.
Who owns the taxi that you drive?
It belongs to a taxi company that I lease the car from. Every month, I must pay the company 6,500 RMB ($1,060). I also have to pay for fuel and maintenance, so the total cost is about 12,000 RMB ($1,960) per month.
Do you mind if I ask how much you earn each month?
My net income is between 3,000 and 5,000 RMB ($490-$815) per month.
Do you receive tips?
Sometimes, foreign passengers will tip me 5 RMB for good service and because I know a little English. The biggest tip I have received is 10 RMB ($1.60).
What happens to phones that are left in your taxi?
One night eight years ago, four phones from four different passengers were left in my taxi in one night. I called each passenger back and returned their phones. Some of them paid the cab fare for me to return their phone, while some did not. Nobody has left their phone in my taxi since.