Oil price rise sparks mixed reaction
By Liu Weifeng , Zhou Weirong and Zhan Lisheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-03-28 05:40

"Office to home commuters like me would not be concerned by the updated gasoline price since we don't drive as much and so are less affected; what's more, we can take a bus or the metro instead," said Wang Haifeng, an IT engineer in his 30s.

Zhang Guifang of the Beijing Bus Group Co told China Daily that bus fares in the city will not be affected by the price rise.

Price rise expected

Meanwhile, Shanghai's taxi companies have responded calmly to the news of the price hike.

"We have been expecting the price rise for some time. Since the government has promised to share relevant costs with us, we can do little but wait," said an officer surnamed Xu with Shanghai Jinjiang Taxi Co Ltd. The State-owned taxi company has a fleet of about 4,000 cars.

The final cost-sharing scheme between the government and taxi companies should be available next month after authorities calculate the forecasted loss from the price rise.

During a meeting of Shanghai municipal government yesterday, officials said the government will take measures to ensure taxi drivers' income in the city will not be affected by the price rise.

Shanghai media outlets have quoted some economists' predictions that more non-State companies will enter the oil retail market in the near future.

Opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs from Shanghai and the delta regions could open up given that the wholesale price has not gone up as much as the retail price.

In Guangzhou, some taxi drivers who were severely hit by last year's price increase and gasoline shortage are crying out for compensation from the government.

"The municipal government of Guangzhou allowed us to levy a fuel surcharge of 1 yuan (12 US cents) on passengers for each ride, which enabled us to offset much of the oil price hikes last year. But now the price climbs again!" said cab driver Li Qiangda.

"The oil price rose consecutively five times during 2005 in Guangdong and now it has happened again," he said. "I really wonder how long I can continue my job."

However, Lai Jiang, a private car owner in Guangzhou, is calm about the new oil price rise.

"I can live with the new rise, which only costs me about 60 yuan (US$7.4) extra a month," Lai said. "Anyway, it's far better than last year's oil shortage."

According to Gao Yiqian, an official with the provincial pricing bureau, the province is hammering out policies to subsidize disadvantaged communities and public service sectors.

(For more biz stories, please visit Industries)

   Previous page 1 2 Next Page