Taxis are everywhere and they are made use of. Try hailing one on a busy street and it could happen, that a couple of dozen speed past, all occupied. Mostly though, one stops pretty much immediately. The drivers seem proud and they take their time to try to interpret where you wish to go.
If they don’t know, they refuse to drive, words, hands and arms signalling the fact. They don’t experiment at the expense of the passenger to try to find the destination. It is necessary to have the address printed in Chinese or someone who is fluent in the language at the end of a mobile to give to the driver.
Journeys are cheap, taxis plentiful and mostly spotlessly clean. Just two hours after a sandstorm, most have been polished again. Even older vehicles are in terrific condition.
Minimum fare is ten Yuan and many journeys can be completed for that. Regardless, taking a taxi in Beijing is always inexpensive. Sometimes, if the driver feels the fare is getting too high, he just turns off the meter.
One unusual personal experience arose from a misunderstanding of my whereabouts before a dinner date and where the venue was to be found. Four stops on the subway to avoid horrific Friday rush hour traffic and mobile instructions later the taxi was in intense snarl ups on one of the urban freeways. I ended up over one hour later at the table. It was just around the corner from where I had started.