Shoppers and diners were forced to leap for their lives to avoid being hit by a taxi, allegedly driven by a drunken joy rider through a crowded mall.

Police said the man allegedly took the cab from Elizabeth Street, in Brisbane's city center and drove it along nearby Albert Street.

As it plowed through the mall, pedestrians were forced to jump out of the way before the cab reached Adelaide Street where the man allegedly dumped the vehicle.

A man was arrested a short time later on Milton Road and allegedly recorded a blood-alcohol reading of 0.186 — almost four times the legal limit.

He has been charged with dangerous driving, drink driving and unlicensed driving, as well as unlawful use of a motor vehicle.