The green and orange or green and grey taxi …. The most fearsome predator on the streets of Xi’an!
As pedestrians, you have the least rights to any hard surfaces in China – you must give way to any bicycle ring, horn toot etc. Next lowest are bicycles, next motorbikes, thence cars, taxis and buses. It is the once place I have ever seen a bus accelerate before the light turn green – he had his foot on the gas and his hand on the horn to get people out of the cross-walk. You need to develop eyes in all corners of your head to watch for any vehicle.
This is a large sidewalk – with cars parked along both sides and a path between. Even here, the pedestrian is low-man. Any wheeled vehicle can drive along that sidewalk and you must move! Traffic is China is best described as a flow – lanes, signal lights, stop lights are all just taken as advice as you move with the flow of traffic. The red lanterns hang everywhere in celebration of the New Year.
The bicycle is still common but seems people increasingly use transit. The Shanghai metro is now the largest in the world and continuing rapid growth. Gas is a little over one Canadian dollar per liter in China – about the same as in Canada. The minimum wage in China is about 200 Canadian dollars per month. Needless to say, vehicles and gas are so far out of the range of ordinary citizens. I can’t help but think we are under-paying for our gas given our wealth.